Beginning of the Meeting with Bavarian Prime Minister Edmund Stoiber 2007-07-05 20:04:01 The Kremlin, Moscow Vladimir Putin : Dear Mr Prime Minister, distinguished colleagues, I am very happy to welcome you to Moscow. This is not our first meeting. I remember how warmly you welcomed us in Munich. Mr Prime Minister, we always follow the news from Bavaria – and especially the economic news — closely. This is because Bavarian firms have been our reliable partners for many years. Names such as Siemens, Adidas, BMW, and those of other companies are clearly famous brands in Russia. These are our reliable partners. Bavarian companies make up a third of all German investments in Russia. What's more, the number of economic links between Russia and Bavaria is very large. I think that they are already worth about 10 billion dollars. Economic growth in Bavaria outstrips growth in many large countries, such as Brazil and Austria. For the first time in 30 years, in 2006 your government succeeded in avoiding a budgetary deficit. Bavaria is the first of the German regions to achieve this result. This of course shows how focused and efficient the political approach of the Bavarian administration has been. It is also an example for many countries, including Russia, to follow. We have established a very good relationship with respect to contacts in the cultural, educational and academic spheres. The ten largest universities in Bavaria have links with some 60 institutions of higher learning in Russia. I know that today you were awarded a medal for your contribution to the development of relations between Bavaria and Moscow. Bavaria has had close relations with Russia for the last 15 years. For this I congratulate you and I thank you for your contribution to the development of Russia-German relations more generally.