With a nod to the wine cellar, Putin hails Hungary's advance into Europe

We are pleased that Hungary is entering the European Union, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared Saturday as he met with Hungarian Premier Peter Medgyessy in the Konstantinov Palace, a Rosbalt correspondent reported.

'On the other hand,' he noted, 'we have specific fears on this score.' Putin said he was concerned that limitations that exist in the European Union may soon extend to relations between Hungary and Russia. 'We must do everything possible to ensure that the positive processes of the widening of Europe do not reflect negatively on relations between Russia and Hungary,' he declared.

The Russian president noted that the sides had exchanged 'with pleasure their views on world problems and were confident that the latest meeting would be of benefit to Russian-Hungarian relations.' Putin also thanked the Hungarian premier for his gift of Tokay wines, suggesting that 'we do some work before we descend to the wine cellar.

It may be recalled that the Hungarian premier gave Saint Petersburg 800 bottles of 30- to 50-year-old Tokay wines as a 300th anniversary present. That gift has become the foundation of the Konstantinov Palace's wine cellar, which now houses some 13,000 bottles worth approximately USD 670,000.

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