Russia is "partner number one" for the European Union /EU/ even though it is formally not an EU member, Norbert Walter, the Chief Economist of Deutsche Bank, was quoted as saying in an interview with RIA Novosti.
According to him, "a common economic area, which will include Russia and Europe, will be established in a natural way. The transformation of the economies of Western and Eastern Europe is a proof to it." Walter held out a belief that economic relations between Russia and the EU will be "rapidly developing because both sides are interested in it." The German economist also said that recent changes in relations between Russia and NATO should create new areas for cooperation, for instance, a military one.
In this regard, Walter stated that "there is no use for the Europeans creating their own military transport aviation when Russia already has such a technology for a reasonable price." The Deutsche Bank representative pointed out that Russia "participates in bilateral political integration, which implies a constructive approach from the US authorities and a positive attitude of European political structures to Russia." According to Walter, this aspect "reduces the insurance contribution Russia is to pay on international finance markets." The German economist stressed that Russia was taking part in the international effort to find solutions to global challenges and it no longer stood aside, but energetically participated in the G-8 joint efforts.
Walter paid particular attention to the fact that Russia could play a stabilising role during a crisis on world fuel markets. He emphasised that Russia virtually was such a factor "and practically all sides hope that it will pursue such a policy in the future."