Prime Minister Kasyanov: EU Expansion Is Good for Russia

According to Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, EU expansion is good for Russia as the EU is Russia's greatest ally in economic terms. This was announced by the Russian prime minister at a ceremonial meeting in Berlin, devoted to the 50th anniversary of the Eastern Committee of the German Economy.

'Russia and the EU must create mutually compatible economies and also form united energy and transport policies,' said Mr Kasyanov. 'We insist on cooperation, equal partnership and integration between the EU and Russia.' The prime minister added that Russia seeks closer contact with EU member-states and the creation of a unified European economic zone.

Mr Kasyanov called on German entrepreneurs to cooperate with Russia more actively in the area of high technology and not to limit themselves to raw materials and energy supply. He also considers aviation, communications, telecommunications, information science, the space industry and and energy-saving to be important areas for cooperation.

The Russian prime minister said that Germany is currently Russia's most important economic partner. Commodity turnover between the two countries in 2001 rose by 16% and totaled EUR 25 billion and it is expected that this figure will reach EUR 26 billion in 2002. Germany is a key investor, having already invested about EUR 7 billion in the Russian economy in 2002.

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