During its upcoming chairmanship in the European Union in the second half of 2003, Italy is going to make a series of concrete moves towards the expansion of interaction between the European Union and Russia, the RIA Novosti correspondents quote Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini as saying. Appearing before newsmen on results of his talks with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Frattini stressed that "a qualitative move forward should be made in the rapprochement between Russia and the European Union." He noted that a bilateral Russian-Italian group has set to and during its EU chairmanship Italy "is ready to do everything necessary" for the expansion of interaction with Russia.
In turn, Igor Ivanov reported that in the course of the Rome talks much importance was given to relations between Russia and the European Union. "We are sure that the further broadening of cooperation between Russia and the European Union in all areas - political, economic, security and foreign policy - meets the interests of Europe, Russia and stability in the world," said Igor Ivanov.