Russia still trusts the European currency, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told Agence France-Presse and France 2 TV channel prior to his visit to Paris.
“We trust and believe in the euro. We wouldn’t keep so much of our reserves, gold and foreign currency reserves in the European currency otherwise,” Putin said.
“In general, the fundamental basis of the European economy is stable enough. The economies of Germany and France guarantee this stability. No one is interested in the destruction of the European Union,” Interfax quoted Putin as saying.
“I think that Mrs. Merkel is correct: if there’s no euro, there’s no European Union, even if something is referred to as the European Union,” Putin said.
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There are problems in the eurozone, and European leaders are open-minded about it, the chairman of the Russian government believes.
“One has to improve discipline and control budget deficits. One has to partially change the currency legislation to make it as identical as possible for all members of the European Union,” Putin said.
The head of the Russian government is certain that there are no objective reasons for the collapse of the euro.
“There are some complications. I am certain that they are temporal. Of course, the European Central Bank will have to print more notes – there is no other way since the bank has announced that it is ready to buy government obligations,” Putin said.
Putin reminded that many countries used the euro as their reserves.
“The euro is in circulation in many countries of the world. I think, and I am sure that this issue will not affect the European economy too much. There are reserves, and they can be involved in the end,” he said.
Putin approved the actions of the European authorities: their actions are absolutely correct.
“This is another confirmation of the fact that we are not going to alter our attitude to the euro as a reserve currency, as a part of our reserves,” he said.
Russia has been expanding its business relations with the European countries despite the weakening euro.
“The commodity circulation between France and Russia has increased by some 30 percent during the first quarter of this year. This is a very good index. I hope that the development will be even more powerful and positive. The commodity circulation with other countries of Europe, Germany, for example, has grown by 50 percent over the same period of time,” Putin said.
The weakening of the euro is good for the European economy, for French and German economies – for export-oriented economies that is.
“It creates problems for us because we are obvious partners in many fields, let’s say, with France, but we are competitors in other fields - in the field of nuclear power and energy machine-building, for example. French producers profit from the weaker euro, but it becomes a challenge for our machine-building because our producers have to make better quality and cheaper products. They can do it,” Putin said.
Putin shared his views about Russia’s intention to purchase a Mistral helicopter carrier from France. The final deal is not a matter of near future, Putin said. Moscow and Paris have to discuss many questions connected with Russia’s condition of parallel delivery of technologies, he added.
“The general public in France and the French media are so preoccupied with the question of our intention to purchase the Mistral because the consequences of the world economic and financial crisis have not been overcome yet. This is a good deal for France. One vessel like that one costs 300 million euros. This deal can raise Russia’s interest only if iwe get the technology together with the vessel so that our ship-building industries – both military and civil – would receive new technological incentives for development,” Putin said.
Putin said that Russia and France were cooperating successfully in the field of aircraft-building.
“Our French partners work on the engine of our state-of-the-art SuperJet-100 civil plane in the Far East. When I visited the region last year, I attended the enterprise and I heard people speaking French there, although this location is very far from France. French specialists work right there on the scene,” he said.
Putin is visiting France on June 10-11 for a work visit. He will have meetings with President Nicolas Sarkozy and Prime Minister Francois Fillon, the press service of the Russian government said.
In Paris, Putin will take part in the opening of the Russian National Exhibition.
The Russian armed forces took possession of one of the German PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers delivered to Ukraine, the Bild* newspaper reports.