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31 Mar, 2009 13:44

Russian and German leaders meet ahead of G20 on finances and gas transit

President Dmitry Medvedev will meet his counterpart Angela Merkel in Berlin on Tuesday ahead of this week’s G20 summit in London, with global financial reform and gas transit high on the agenda.

Before he left, President Medvedev met with finance ministers from the Commonwealth of Independent States and reiterated some of Russia's key proposals to the G20.

“Russia proposes setting up a system of economic indicators to signal problems in any country however big and significant and weighty it may be. We also suggest global standards for auditing that would enable us to use information from rating agencies more professionally. Big companies operating in our countries depend on those ratings.

We want a system that would reflect the modern view on the world currencies and reserve currencies. Some believe it's ok for the dollar to strengthen – and it'll be fine – but we think otherwise. We reckon a more balanced approach is needed.”

Medvedev will meet Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin – with topics expected to include the EU’s offer to modernize Ukraine’s gas pipeline network, without consulting Russia.

Energy clearly remains one of the key topics of bilateral trade, with Nord Stream being the biggest joint project. The head of Gazprom Export, Aleksander Medvedev, believes diversification is the only way to guarantee the security of supplies.

“Diversification of the transit routes is the only right answer for the current challenges of the transit, so that’s why our transit projects like Nord Stream and South Stream are the real diversification.”

Germany is Russia’s biggest trade partner – and leading companies like Siemens and Daimler are expected to discuss plans to invest $12 billion into the Russian economy.

The head of Russian-German chamber of commerce, Michael Harms says despite the crisis, German companies are looking at possible acquisitions in Russia's retail sector.

“This year we will not see huge acquisitions by German companies, because everybody will look and wait and see tactics. But for example in such a sphere as retail business I expect acquisitions and not only in the food sector but also in non food retail.”