President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, colleagues,
Allow me to welcome you to St Petersburg once again. First of all, I would like to thank you for accepting the invitation. Cooperation in the Arctic is extremely important for us. In addition, this is, of course, an opportunity for us to discuss our bilateral agenda as well.
Our relations are making headway regardless of the difficulties. Last year our trade increased by over 32 percent. Our Swedish friends – and I mean our Swedish friends – invested about $5 billion in the Russian economy.
I said “friends” and he [the interpreter] said “partners.” He is simply a thug. Because we call all of our investors, all Swedish companies – and there are over 500 in Russia – friends.
We also have a business council. On our side, it is chaired by Mr Dmitriyev from the Russian Direct Investment Fund, and on the Swedish side, by the head of Volvo.
We hope to see Swedish representatives at the regular St Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Sweden Stefan Löfven: I thought I would say my first words in English if that is OK.
I would like to thank you, Mr President, for hosting me and for organising this very important event, this Arctic conference. I believe that though part of it was occupied by other issues, I think, at the same time, that the discussions that we have about the Arctic show that we do have mutual interest in this region. And I am also very happy to be in St Petersburg because of the reasons I mentioned in my speech, that it symbolises the history that we share, but also that we share this region right now and we also share a future together.
I also very much appreciate the possibility to discuss political issues at this level. And I would like also to continue political discussions because we need that obviously. On some issues, we have common views, on some, we have different views, but those also need to be discussed. Needless to say, investment is of course a mutual interest that we definitely can develop.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.