'Relations between Russia and Germany have recently taken on a clearly visible pragmatic nature,' said Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday during talks with German President Johannes Rau and other officials. He noted that trade and economic relations between the two countries have reached record levels - since 2000 trade has risen by 80% and now stands at EUR 25 billion.
Putin also said that 'many other positive changes have taken place recently: agreements have been reached on questions that were considered problematic and difficult to resolve, including in the credit and financial sphere'. 'In particular, Russia's repayment of her debt to Germany ahead of schedule in so-called transferable roubles once again underlines the strength of Russia's credit rating and that we have put an end to all problems and can develop our relations from a clean slate,' said the Russian President.
Putin reminded those present that Russia had earlier paid Germany EUR 175 million of this debt, and that the remaining EUR 175 million were planned to be repaid at the end of the year. However, the money was already paid in August, ahead of schedule, 'due to the opportunity arising'.
The Russian President called on Germany to more actively invest in the Russian economy. At a meeting in the Kremlin with Russian managers who have undergone training in Germany, Putin announced that the volume of German investment in the Russian economy is over EUR 6 billion, but that Germany occupies only fifth place in terms of direct investment.
Putin underlined the importance of developing effective management, which will require the continuation of efforts to improve Russia's programme of preparing managers. The President noted that over 30% of experts who have been on a placement in Germany work in joint enterprises. According to the President, this is very important because bilateral ties should be aimed at developing businesses.