Russian-Italian relationships developing perfectly: PM Prodi
Italy is Russia's second largest economic partner in Europe. Moscow is one of Rome’s key trading partners. Their trade is worth over $US 30 BLN, and has grown by five times over a decade. Besides, Italy is heavily dependant on Russian energy. During the price disputes between Russia and the transit countries, Italy was one of the few that did not criticise. “The Italians are very mature partners who are able to defend their national interests,” stressed President Putin. “They do not count on any preferences from their partners and always respect them. They are a very convenient and reliable partner for Russia.”
Italy's Eni oil and gas firm is Russian Gazprom’s strategic partner, and plans to sign a new agreement with it, as has been announced at a joint press-conference in Sochi. Deals are also expected with Enel electricity company, and Finmeccanica, a large Italian high-tech group. Italian prime minister says: “Everything that was discussed concerning these two energy projects is being implemented now.”
So Italy does not belong to the countries which, as President Putin put it, “try to ignore Russian interests, try to show it its place in the world.” Romano Prodi is an admirer of Russian culture. Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” is one of his favourite books, and he calls St Petersburg “the most Italian city out of Italy”.And his chairmanship in the EU commission was marked by the famous expression “Russia and the EU are inseparable like caviar and vodka”.