President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Ladies and gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to thank the Swedish presidency for the hospitality we have been shown. We already held bilateral talks, and now, the EU-Russia summit is taking place in this wonderful hall. Just this alone creates a positive mood on this grey, rather sombre autumn day, but our meetings in this format are a very important part of the Russia-EU cooperation.
We met recently at a number of other events, including the participation in celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall.
This was a very important event for Europe, not only for Germany, but for united Europe in its entirety. And if I remember correctly, we are about a month away from the 20th anniversary of the first treaty that was signed between what was then the USSR and the European Economic Community. That, too, is a rather important date.
We have come a long way since then. We have many areas of common interest, in economic, political, and regional issues. We are constantly meeting, not only at summits like this, but in other formats as well. We respond together to a wide range of challenges that our nations – the European Union and the Russian Federation – both face, because they are our joint responsibility.
We are the biggest partners on the European continent. For us, this is an exceedingly important fact. It does not mean that our relations are entirely free of any kind of tension. But the important thing is that we communicate regularly, and even when problems occasionally occur, we are able to deal with them in a friendly manner, through discussions such as this one.
In this regard, I feel that the EU-Russia summits perform their intended function, and we must think now about how to restructure our work, taking into account the new stage in the European Union’s development and the signing of the Lisbon Treaty. We need to analyse our future cooperation arrangements to ensure that none of the topics discussed before disappears from our agenda, and at the same time we might be able to adapt Europe’s new way of life to resolving such challenges.
That is why we are interested in having open discussions, and I would like to once again sincerely thank Mr Prime Minister of Sweden as the country presiding at our summit and over the EU, and express my hopes that our work will be successful.