Putin: Russia and Italy will encourage contacts between their youth

Russia and Italy will encourage contacts between their young people, President Vladimir Putin told a press conference on Friday night. For that purpose, the two countries are set to build up resources for youth exchange, including by possible establishment of a joint trust fund, he pointed out.

Among other things, both sides will undertake additional steps to simplify admission to their educational institutions in order to boost schoolchildren, students and educators' exchange, Russian President said. Talks are also under way on mutual recognition of respective certificates of education.

"Russia and Italy acknowledge the importance of the Bologne process aimed at creating a uniform higher education environment in Europe as well as inclusion of the Russian Federation in this program", says the joint statement issued by the parties.

Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi agreed to encourage further expansion of the Italian and Russian languages in their respective countries.

"Both parties hope that during President Vladimir Putin's official visit to Italy scheduled on October 5, 2003 they will be able to sign a Memorandum of Intent in respect of establishing bilingual classes in some of the two countries' schools as well as an Agreement on Encouraging Russian Language Learning in Italy and Italian Language Learning in Russia," the joint statement points out.