NOVO-OGAREVO, February 3. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has noted the special nature of relations between Russia and Germany’s Bavaria federal state and thanked Bavarian Minister-President Horst Seehofer for his efforts to normalize relations with Russia.
"We have a special relationship with Bavaria, the volume of our bilateral trade and economic relations is very large," Putin said at a meeting with Bavaria’s head.
"We share the major responsibility for maintaining jobs, preserving the cultural ties. We know your attitude and desire to do everything for the normalization of EU-Russian, Russian-German relations and of course, we are grateful for this," Putin said.
Seehofer said for his part that Bavaria feels the effects of the events in world politics, including in Syria, Ukraine, the problem of refugees in Europe and crime.
"We are confident that all these problems can be settled only by joint efforts and not in conflict", he said.
"We want to do all this not against our federal government, but together with it, and not against Russia, but together with Russia whenever possible," he noted.
Putin said in response that he had a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday. "As far as I understand, she supports relations between Russian and German regions", he said.
Seehofer also said he had never heard as much false and inaccurate information before his visits to other countries as before the current visit.
"Most importantly, we should deepen our relations - primarily economic relations, of course, but not only them. I believe that we should also spread them to culture and science," he concluded.
Putin replied: "As for the rumors of all kinds — they are unavoidable."
The Russian leader said that the volume of trade between Russia and Bavaria is very large, of the total volume of Russian-German economic ties Bavaria accounts for 20%. "As many as 1,600 enterprises with Bavaria’s capital operate here [in Russia]. They work in the electronics, engineering and construction business, simply all kinds of enterprises," Putin said. According to him, 50% of investment projects implemented by Germany in Russia are of Bavarian origin.
"Therefore, you are a special guest for us, we are very glad to see you", Putin said.
Seehofer also expressed the desire to make his contribution to the establishment of deeper trust-based relationship between Russia and Germany. "We believe that it is necessary against the background of the world developments," he said.
Ahead of his visit to Moscow, Horst Seehofer said in an interview with TASS that the European Union’s anti-Russian sanctions are adversely impacting trade relations and the economy of the European Union member states, including Germany, and it will be in the interests of both sides to abandon these sanctions. "Naturally, the anti-Russian sanctions are impacting trade partners in the European Union, Germany and Bavaria. Bavaria’s economy, including its agrarian and food sectors, has been severely hurt. In the interests of all the sides I hope that a solution to this conflict will be finally found soon," he said.
In July 2014, the European Union and the United States imposed a package of sanctions on Russia over the developments in Ukraine. Ever since, these sanctions have been extended more than once. On June 22, 2015, the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council extended the anti-Russian sanctions for six months more, till late January 2016. Shortly before the expiration of this term, the sanctions were extended again, till July 31, 2016.
On August 7, Russia imposed a package of measures to respond to economic sanctions from the United States, Australia, Canada, the European Union and Norway. Thus, Russia banned for a term of one year the imports of fruit, vegetables, milk, dairy and meat products from these countries. On June 24, 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree extending Russia’s food imports ban till August 5, 2016.