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BBC Monitoring
Putin sums up results of Russia-EU summit
Source: RTR Russia TV, Moscow, in Russian 1000 gmt 31 May 03

[Presenter] One of the main political events of the year, the Russia-EU summit is under way in St Petersburg. [Passage omitted: presenter says various issues are being discussed]. Our special correspondent Margarita Simonyan is on the line. Good day, Margarita. What are the main results of the summit?

[Correspondent] Good day, Mariya. Half an hour ago a news conference on the Russia-EU summit ended at the yacht club on the palace grounds. Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister of Greece Konstandinos Simitis - Greece is currently chairing the European Union - and chairman of the EU Commission Romano Prodi talked to the press. Vladimir Putin summed up the results of the summit. He spoke in more detail about what the leaders of the European states had been talking about.

[Putin, at a news conference] I think that both the format of our meetings and the jubilee background of the summit predetermined its main result. One more important step has been taken to bring Russia and the European Union closer together on the basis of democratic values, partnership and mutually-advantageous cooperation. This is our common choice, and we intend to develop it consistently.

Russia and the European Union have been systematically improving cooperation in the political, economic and other spheres. It is in the national interests of all of our countries to implement as soon as possible ideas and proposals voiced at the summit, in the interests of our citizens, and in the interests of our business, cultural, scientific circles and associations. We discussed topics in connection with the forthcoming enlargement of the European Union. We talked about new opportunities which these integrational processes create, and about minimizing their costs for traditional ties between Russia and the countries which are to join the EU and also the European Union.

As you know, we managed to find a mutually-acceptable solution to the issue of Kaliningrad transit. I hope that other problems and issues which come up will be resolved in the same spirit, the spirit of partnership. The removal of the visa barrier between Russia and the EU countries is one of the most complex topics. I am sure that both the EU and Russian citizens will benefit from this. This will naturally require great effort and time, including on the part of Russia. We are fully aware of our responsibility. We adopted this goal and intend to move towards it stage-by-stage.

We also noted significant progress in the work on the concept of a single European economic area, and in promoting energy dialogue between Russia and the EU.

A joint statement on the results of the summit outlines fundamentally-important guidelines in the development of multi-vector partnership with the European Union, the formation of the single European space of freedom, security, justice, scientific research - and on the way here we talked with Mr Prodi about this most important component [pauses] in education and cooperation in the sphere of external security. And the aim of further improving the cooperation mechanisms between Russia and the EU is to ensure that these major goals are achieved. And the forthcoming transformation of the council of cooperation into a permanent council of partnership is a key element of this process.

[Passage omitted: Putin said he prefers the rouble].

[Correspondent] And after an announcement was made that the news conference was finished, journalists put one more question. It was a question on Iraq, on whether reconciliation has been reached at the summit on the Iraq issue. This is what the president said.

[Putin] After the adoption of the final resolution, this problem in fact started to move back towards the UN. I must say that many agreed to compromise, and I think it is a good result. I would like to note our American partners' efforts to move forward. President Bush personally did a lot for this. I would also like to thank Prime Minister Blair for active efforts in trying to improve cooperation. As you know, he visited Moscow prior to the adoption of this resolution. At that time we could not tell the press everything we were trying to agree upon because it was not clear as to whether we could come to agreement. His visit was one of the key [visits] in resolving this problem.

[Passage omitted: the guests will attend a concert at the palace].

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