ST. PETERSBURG, May 25. /TASS/. President Vladimir Putin considers that the amount of investments France poured into Russia and the level of Russian investment in France is insufficient. Putin made this statement at the Russian-French business dialogue as part of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).
According to him, the volume of direct French investment poured into the Russian economy comes to $15 bln, whereas Russian investments into the French economy total more than $2 billion. "It's not enough, but the volume of French ones is small as well," Putin said.
Putin also commented on French President Emmanuel Macron’s earlier statement, in which he hoped that France would be able to push Germany out of first place in terms investment levels in Russia.
"I’ll have to disappoint Emmanuel - Germany does not occupy first place, China took first place long ago - both in terms of investments and trade turnover," the Russian leader pointed out.
According to him, the volume of Russian-Chinese trade turnover comes to the tune of $86 bln and there is a certainty that this figure will reach $100 billion very soon.
Putin remarked that the trade turnover with the European Union was $450 billion, but in recent years it has halved.
"The same goes for investments," Putin said citing the example of the Finnish company Fortum, which poured about $6 billion into projects in Russia.
"Just one Finnish company! While all of France invests $15 billion, is this normal?" he insisted.
By the same token, Putin noted that Fortum works as a supplier "on the most sensitive sites, including ones on the nuclear cycle."
"The Russian economy is very open to our partners and very reliable," President Putin stressed, recalling that the Russian authorities managed to achieve macroeconomic stability, "which is important for investors."
From Lisbon to…Vladivostok?
Putin could not ignore another statement by Macron, who said that France believes in Europe from Lisbon to the Urals. Before giving the floor to the Russian President after the speech of the French leader, the moderator of the business dialogue, head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, Alexander Shokhin, said that it should be about Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok, and not the Urals.
"He did not let me say this, that scoundrel!" Putin jokingly reproached Shokhin.
"I was just about to start with this, but he stole this (opportunity) from me."
Putin thanked Macron for his visit to Russia. He noted that earlier they had a frank, informative and very useful conversation. The Russian leader called France a long-time, reliable partner, given that this country "always took its own stance in world affairs and always strived - at least, sought - to defend its sovereignty."
"We appreciate this in the modern world, it is especially in demand and valued, because this is a guarantee of stability in relations, that is important - in general, in international affairs, between countries and in the economy - stability comes first," Putin concluded.