Beginning of the Meeting with Prime Minister of Spain Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero 2008-10-01 21:53:05 St Petersburg President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Dear Mr Prime Minister, I am very pleased to meet you. You quite often visit Russia. You have been to Moscow, to Sochi, and this is now your first visit to St Petersburg; we have the opportunity to meet and to continue the Russian-Spanish dialogue. And although, as you just pointed out, the weather here is not very good, we promise that everything else will be. We have every reason to be satisfied with how the Russian-Spanish dialogue is developing. Our economic ties are growing very well; we have seen very solid growth even over the past six months. In addition to the growth in trade, which last year amounted to 7.5 billion (and we hope that this year it will be significantly higher), our mutual investments are also developing well. These investments undoubtedly bring our economies and, therefore, our countries together. Perhaps this is of particular importance given that the world economy is in deep crisis and that we need bilateral projects to help our countries cope with the difficulties that now exist in international financial markets. Spain and Russia are two European countries which play quite important roles on the European continent. And of course we must also continue our political dialogue, especially in light of the fact that today the world is not becoming any safer. I think we will hold full-value talks on all these issues today. Of course we can talk about other things as well. Once again, I am very pleased to welcome you to St Petersburg. Prime Minister of Spain Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero (translated from Russian): Thank you very much for your kind words. Indeed, since becoming Prime Minister I have met with Russian leaders both in Moscow and in Sochi. And I think that this will continue in the future. I can assure you that my presence in St Petersburg is no accident. It is not due to the fact that Real Madrid won yesterday in St Petersburg – that is not my reason for being here. Because it's the first thing that people said to me today. They congratulated me on Real’s victory. Dmitry Medvedev: I could not start with this, Mr Prime Minister. But you yourself came to it quickly. Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero: However, I must say that Zenit is the greatest team. Dmitry Medvedev: Let's wait and see. Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero: I hope that our bilateral relations will continue to develop in a positive way. Spain and Russia are two countries linked by a strong friendship. Indeed, their economic relations are growing and they should be further developed. From a global perspective, from the perspective of the international community and European countries, I am convinced that to achieve stability in the world, the world must understand that we need to be closer to Russia. And this is especially important for the European Union, because we both need this. We need an international order in which different voices are at once distinct but also in harmony with each other. And I think that this is a general picture of what we need. The European Union wants to have good relations with and build confidence with Russia. I think that we need to work for this to come about. Spain wants to work for that – for the sake of international legitimacy, for the sake of building confidence.