Russia and Germany agree on common goals

The Russian President says Germany and Russia want the same things, but may differ on the best way of getting them. He was speaking in the German city of Wiesbaden on the final day of the annual two-day inter-governmental summit between Russia and Germany

Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel have given a press-conference where they spoke about the issues brought up during the bilateral talks. Both leaders focused on the successful co-operations of the two states in many sectors.

“We have consulted the Ministers from both Russian and German governments and this showed that there is a deep co-operation between the two countries in many fields. There is an increase in mutual trade. We were able co conclude several important agreements, which prove that the structure of our connections develops and becomes wider. And now we are going to increase the co-operation in automobile industry in order to provide new quality to it. Important steps were also taken in the field of research. And there are some initiatives in the field of airplane production,” Angela Merkel said.

Vladimir Putin echoed his German counterpart:

“Russia and Germany set a good example of mutually advantageous large scale trade and economic co-operation. I draw your attention to the fact that in the first half of this year the trade turnover as compared to the similar period of 2006 has increased by 13.5 per cent and comes to almost $US 23 BLN. German investments in Russian economy are growing, including the energy sector”.

Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin, Wiesbaden, 
            Germany
Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin, Wiesbaden, Germany

The Russian and German leaders said they share a common understanding of the problems they faced and have underlined the strength in the relationship between the two countries at the Saint Petersburg Dialogue which is a discussion forum for representatives from both countries taking place Wiesbaden.

To watch the video of the press-conference please follow the link.
 
In his first public statement since arriving in Germany on Sunday, Vladimir Putin told a civic forum that while Russia and Germany shared the same goals, they had differences of opinion on how best to reach them. 
 
He added that the two countries had established a good working relationship and shared many of the same goals.  

“Russia and Germany are probably closer than ever in their views on the way Europe should develop.

Naturally, we still have – and will have – differences of opinion on the present situation, in our approaches to various problems. But it is crystal clear that we both are willing to work on these problems. It's not a matter of whether we are willing to solve them; we are willing. The only difference we may have is in the way we reach our goals – while the goals we pursue are the same,” the Russian leader noted.

To watch a clip of President Putin addressing the civic forum in Germany please follow the link.

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel echoed the remarks of Vladimir Putin, adding that the annual summit was now a well-established forum for the exchange of views.
 
“Petersburg Dialogue is a part of the civil society. It has become a well-trodden route for our ongoing co-operation in various areas like problems with raw materials or freedom of speech issues. We exchange our views, and this helps us understand each other,” the German Chancellor pointed out.

Responding to a question about a bill regulating non-governmental organisations in Russia, Mr Putin said the new law did not prevent NGOs from operating normally in Russia.
 
“As far as I know, after Russia adopted a new bill on NGOs, nothing terrible happened despite the expectations of some. Whoever wanted to get registered was able to do so. Yes, they have to submit financial reports and activity reports, but this does not create a difficulty that can prevent them from getting registered and from operating. Perhaps, there does exist some red tape there, and we may do something to facilitate the process”.
 
Germany remains one of Russia's largest and most important trade partners.  But Putin said there needed to be a level playing field in terms of investment if business was to flourish. 
 
“I realise that the government should provide a most liberal mode of operation for small, medium and large businesses. I only wish it could be liberal on both sides. I wish government and independent agencies did not frighten German or Russian businessmen with supposedly coming prohibitions. The doors of economy should be wide open,” Vladimir Putin stated.

RT’s political commentator Peter Lavelle says the forum is more than a talking shop for Russian and German politicians.

“It is about pushing the civil society and pulling them together for the two countries, which is very important for Russia as it engages Europe – and Europe as it engages Russia. And I cannot think of a better example than we have with Germany – Russia’s most important, I would even say, ally in the EU,” Mr Lavelle stressed.
 
Iran's controversial nuclear programme and the future status of Serbia's breakaway province of Kosovo will be high on the agenda at inter-governmental talks on Monday.
 
U.S. plans to deploy an anti-missile defence shield in Europe and Russia's threat to leave the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty will also be discussed at the summit.

With its strong links to Russia, Wiesbaden seems a perfect city to promote the two countries.
 
Maybe it is a coincidence, but Vladimir Putin is staying at Nassauer Hof which, according to rumours, still keeps an unpaid bill by the famous Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky.