On the ocasion of the 50th anniversary of the gas supply agreement between Russia and Austria and the upcoming Austrian presidency of the Council of the European Union, the President of the Federal Republic of Russia, Wladimir Putin, visited Austria to meet the Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
We present the press statements of Sebastian Kurz and Waldimir Putin:
Press statements following the talks with Federal Chancellor of the Republic of Austria, Sebastian Kurz
Federal Chancellor of the Republic of Austria Sebastian Kurz (retranslated): (In Russian.)Welcome!
Mr. Federal President of Austria and Mr. President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, ladies and gentlemen, colleagues from the Government, Mr. Vice Chancellor and, first of all, Mr President.
Please allow me to cordially welcome you to Austria and sincerely thank you for choosing Austria for your first visit to the European Union after your re-election.
Welcome to Austria!
It is my impression that relations between Austria and Russia have been progressing very well for a long time. We maintained cooperation even in difficult times. Apart from good political cooperation we have very strong economic cooperation.
We are glad that our trade has again increased to 5 billion euros and that Austrian companies have already invested 7 billion euros in Russia. This year we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of gas supplies from Russian to Austria owing to cooperation between Gazprom and OMV. This cooperation was always sustained even in trying times.
Today we signed a memorandum on cooperation in forestry and an agreement for the avoidance of double taxation so as to support our cooperation. Last but not the least, tourism from Russia to Austria is also developing on a large scale. We have recorded 2.1 million overnight stays in Austria.
Observance of human rights is very important for us. Today, we had an opportunity to talk about international issues – how Russia as a superpower is playing a big role in Syria and eastern Ukraine and bears a large responsibility. And we hope Russia will help people finally experience what they have been looking forward to so much – peace.
We spoke today about relations between Russia and Austria. As you know, Austria is an active EU member. On July 1, we will take over the Presidency of the EU Council and will actively participate in the formation of the EU position and EU decisions, including those on sanctions. At the same time we hope that owing to more intensive dialogue the EU and Russia will make progress in their relations.
In addition, we hope that progress will also be achieved in eastern Ukraine and that the Minsk agreements will be implemented. This is the scenario we want for our continent. We are deeply convinced that solely through cooperation and joint actions we can make further progress in relations between the two sides.
Mutual benefit is better than mutual loss. This is why we will continue working to maintain our traditionally good bilateral ties and support them more actively. We will continue working to sustain our good relations with Russia, the UN and the OSCE. We will be making our contribution to finding a decent solution for people that does not rely solely on military force.
Please allow me to thank you again for your visit to Austria, and for the good conversation with the Federal President, the Vice Chancellor and me. I am already looking forward to the exchanges and conversations between representatives of our economies.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Federal Chancellor, ladies and gentlemen,
To begin with, I would like to thank the Austrian hosts for the warm welcome and hospitality. Mr Sebastian Kurz and I are already meeting for the second time this year. As in February in Moscow, our talks took place in a constructive and friendly atmosphere and reaffirmed the partner-like, mutually beneficial character of Russia-Austria cooperation.
This is shown by the substantial growth of trade between our countries – last year it went up by 40.5 percent and continues to grow. It doubled in the first quarter of this year. Our visit is timed to the 50th anniversary of the first contract on natural gas supplies from the Soviet Union. During this half century our country has been reliably supplying Austrian consumers with energy resources. Moreover, they are delivered to the markets of other European countries via Austrian territory. And so it is no exaggeration to say that Russia and Austria are jointly making a substantial contribution to the energy security of the whole of Europe.
We are working together to expand energy cooperation. Today our leading energy companies – OMV and Gazprom – signed an agreement on gas supplies until 2040.
The Nord Stream 2 project continues to be carried out. The Federal Chancellor confirmed that the Austrian leaders are positive about it as a strictly economic project.
During the talks, we addressed issues related to increasing mutual investments in industrial and technological cooperation. Russian capital investments, as I already said after the meeting with the President, are nearing $24 billion, while the figure for Austria is approaching four billion.
The Declaration on Partnership for Modernisation, adopted in 2011, is being implemented. As part of it, 28 joint initiatives totalling almost three billion euros are being implemented.
I would like to highlight the major infrastructure project to build a wide-gauge railway line from Kosice in Slovakia to Vienna. It is still in the stage of expert study, but it is now clear that in case of its implementation, cargo transportation between Europe and Asia via the Trans-Siberian Railway will increase significantly, while costs for end users will be reduced.
Of course, we also exchanged views on a number of issues on the international and regional agenda. And we talked about developments in Ukraine. I informed the Federal Chancellor about how Russia sees further possibilities for settlement in Donbass. It is significant that both Russia and Austria are in favour of full and rigorous compliance by all parties to the conflict with the Minsk agreements.
We discussed the Syrian crisis. We note the readiness of Austria to join humanitarian actions in support of the population of Syria. I have already said it many times, and I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate once again: if Europe wants the flow of migrants to Europe, including from this region – from Syria, from neighbouring countries – to decrease, it is necessary to help people to return to their homes, to help them to rebuild their lives in their own country.
In conclusion, I would like to thank the Federal Chancellor for useful and informative talks. Our joint programme will be continued. There are two more important events to be held, also timed to the 50th anniversary of the first gas contract.
We will meet with representatives of the business community, and then we will attend the opening of the exhibition, Old Masters from the Hermitage, at the Vienna Art History Museum.
I would like to thank you all, ladies and gentlemen, for your attention to our work.
Thank you very much.