Beginning of Meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany 2007-07-19 23:56:01 Saransk President Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, I would like to thank you for accepting our invitation. Once again I would like to say how happy we are to receive you and the Finnish President. Our humanitarian ties form a good foundation for developing relations in all different areas, including in the economy. Hungary has strong direct contacts with six different Russian regions, including regions where Finno-Ugric peoples are present or form the majority of the population. Our relations are developing in every area – in the energy sector, in machine building, and in trade, including in traditional areas of trade. We are working towards the objective you set out not so long ago and are increasing the amount of Hungarian exports to Russia. Our trade turnover is becoming more balanced, but there are still issues to resolve and still a lot of work to do. I am very pleased to have this chance to exchange news and views on our bilateral relations with you. Prime Minister of Hungary Ferenc Gyurcsany (translation from Russian): Mr President, thank you very much for this opportunity to meet. I should note that our meetings are becoming an increasingly regular event. Russia has been distinguished of late by increasing influence and an increasing awareness of its own strength and growing economic prosperity. This creates new opportunities and new challenges for everyone else. To be honest, we are now studying Russia anew. I think that this situation creates new tasks and objectives for everyone. It is my view that Hungary understands Russia better than many countries, but this does not mean that this puts us in some kind of privileged situation. Hungarian exports to Russia increased by 70 percent over the last year alone. Russia’s exports to Hungary have increased three-fold over the last five years, while Hungarian exports to Russia have increased four-fold. We consider it very important that we have managed to break out of the vicious circle that kept our trade relations limited to practically only the energy sector. Yesterday we signed documents on establishing a joint venture. This is the fruit of many years’ work. Here in Russia we are building hospitals, residential districts and rubbish recycling enterprises. Our respective investment in each other’s economies has now reached a similar figure – 400 million – 500 million euros. As a member of the European Union, it is Hungary’s desire to see balanced relations between the European Union and Russia. During meetings such as this we represent our country’s own national interests, of course, and we also represent the interests of the European Union, of which we are a part. So far, we have had no particular difficulty in coordinating these different interests, and I hope this will continue to be the case. Thank you for this chance to meet and speak with each other.