Mr. Matthias Platzeck,
I am delighted to welcome the organizers and participants of the anniversary XXV Potsdam Meetings.
Your forum has become a respected dialogue platform for open and free discussions on the main bilateral and international issues. Of course, its success has been ensured, to a great extent, by active participation of prominent political and public figures, business leaders and experts in our countries.
The topic of our meeting today is "Partners in Difficult Times: Russia and Germany in the Post-Coronavirus Era". This is a very important subject. Although the pandemic is not over yet, there is no doubt that it has become a huge challenge to the entire humankind, and we will feel its negative consequences for the global economy and politics, let alone everyday lives of people, for a long time yet.
Regrettably, this shared trouble has not brought the international community together. We are also experiencing a difficult period in Russian-German relations. We have to say that Berlin has intensified its policy of system-wide containment of Russia. Top-level officials regularly present Russia as almost a threat to European security. Unsubstantiated and, increasingly often, absurd accusations are being made against Russia. The anti-Russia sentiments of some German media have risen to a fever pitch. This is eroding mutual confidence and the very foundation of our relationship.
I would like to assure you once again that Russia is not interested in confrontation. While taking necessary measures to protect our national interests, we also call for development of a positive Russian-German agenda on a wide range of issues. One of the most stable and pragmatic spheres is trade and investment cooperation. There is a positive outlook in such areas as energy, technology transfer, digitization and the localization of German producers in Russia.
It is notable that "captains" of the German business constantly reaffirm their commitment to continue mutually beneficial cooperation with their Russian partners. We will continue to support their activities, including within the framework of the Russian-German Economic Council, which was established in December of 2020 at the initiative of the Government of Russia and the German Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations.
Russian-German cross-initiatives have demonstrated good results. The Russian-German Year of Scientific and Educational Partnerships 2018-2020 was a great success. Now, we are in the process of implementation of another joint initiative – the Year of Economy and Sustainable Development 2020‑2022.
We are ready to increase the scope of inter-regional and inter-municipal exchanges. Of course, we still need to combine our efforts against the coronavirus infection.
Moscow continues to consider Berlin an important international player and remains open to a dialogue, but the dialogue, which is honest and mutually respectful. We know that there are many people in Germany interested in promoting relations based on principles of equality and respect of each other’s interests. I am referring to well-known German politicians, parliamentarians and representatives of business and expert communities. Many of them also agree with us that the policy of sanctions has been a complete fiasco; more than that, it is inflicting serious damage on its own creators. I hope that common sense will prevail and the forces that place national interests above ideological schemes and bloc discipline in the spirit of the Cold War will win.
There are some really large-scale goals focusing on overcoming the economic recession and achieving post-COVID revival moving to the forefront today. I am confident that a successful solution to these problems will be found by combining opportunities of various integration projects that are implemented on our shared continent, Eurasia. This is the ultimate goal of the President Vladimir Putin’s initiative to form a Greater Eurasian Partnership based on the principles of international law and transparency and open to all countries in Europe and Asia without exception. The work is underway in this direction, primarily by aligning development plans of the Eurasian Economic Union and the China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Ties in the EAEU-SCO-ASEAN triangle are developing and growing increasingly detailed. I think that our German colleagues as well as other EU members will only benefit from joining the current projects. We can start by establishing sustainable ties between the Eurasian Economic Commission and the European Commission.
Today, existing mechanisms of the Russian-German society-to-society dialogue play an important role in preserving positive and unifying principles of the bilateral affairs. After all, they have been originally created as “all-weather” arrangements independent of changes in the political situation. They include, among others, such a prestigious platform as the Potsdam Meetings.
I am confident that this time as always your meeting will be constructive, contribute to greater mutual understanding, and make it possible to identify new points of contact.
I wish you fruitful discussions and all the best.