Press Conferences

28 june, 2010 16:35

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov hold a joint news conference following bilateral talks

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov hold a joint news conference following bilateral talks
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin stated that the merger of the aircraft industries of Russia and Ukraine is inevitable, but that the merger must be based solely on market principles. The prime minister explained that this will require an independent appraisal of the market value of the two countries’ aircraft companies. The prime minister emphasised that these appraisals must form the basis for deciding which sectors to merge and to what extent.

Vladimir Putin: First of all, I'd like to congratulate you on your national holiday. Today is Constitution Day in Ukraine, isn't it?

Mykola Azarov: Yes, it is.

Vladimir Putin: Congratulations once again! I wish you all the best.

This is my sixth meeting with Prime Minister Azarov in the past three months. Like the previous meetings, this one was constructive and business-like in every sense. Today we discussed the issues that have seen some progress lately, as well as the matters that concern both our countries the most.

I'm referring to energy primarily. We touched on various types of energy today, including hydrocarbons, notably natural gas, electric power, and nuclear energy. As you know, a series of agreements were signed to supply nuclear fuel to Ukraine, along with an intergovernmental agreement to finish the construction of the Khmelnitsky nuclear power station.

Several issues require additional review and some additional work on the part of our businesses. These issues were raised at today's meeting.

We also discussed agriculture today. Our Ukrainian partners have their own set of wishes and proposals for their Russian partners, for example, regarding the licensing of agricultural producers and health inspections of such companies. Russia is lagging behind somewhat here, but we'll catch up. We'll inspect more companies so that they'll be able to enter the Ukrainian and Russian markets.

We also discussed supplies of agricultural produce to the Ukrainian and Russian markets. I have confidence that our joint efforts will improve the quality of the services provided to consumers in our two countries as well as reduce prices, or at least curb price increases. The more high-quality goods there are on the market, the more stable prices become.

Naturally, we discussed our cooperation in high-tech industries. The space and aircraft industries in particular are extremely important to us. We're moving forward in the space industry. We have gained valuable experience working together, and we have promising plans for the development and launch of spacecraft. The same goes for the aircraft industry.

There's only one issue we haven't resolved yet. If we are going to merge our aircraft industries, then it must be done according to market principles. What this means is that we should have the market value of our aircraft industries appraised by an independent body - I repeat, independent. We should decide what sectors to merge and to what extent based on the results of these appraisals.

I'm convinced that this merger is inevitable, as there's no room for smaller companies on global markets, and experts are well aware of this fact. Global market leaders are large companies and mega-companies, such as Boeing, Airbus and others. We won't be able to compete head-to-head with them unless we merge our industries.
The same goes for nuclear energy. We must decide which segments can be merged and at what level. This sector continues to be very important to us, since it offers good prospects.

That is essentially everything we discussed today. We have agreed to continue our consultations on a regular basis, primarily at the ministerial level. We'll carry on with this work. Thank you for your attention. Mr Azarov, please.

Mykola Azarov: Mr Putin, thank you for the congratulations on our national holiday.

I'm pleased that this meeting hasn't revealed any major disagreements between our two countries. There were no major disagreements on any of the issues we discussed, even on those where our positions slightly differ. But these issues require additional review and analysis, and independent appraisals, as Prime Minister Putin noted.

I'm pleased to note that our bilateral trade has grown significantly in the past few months. It has doubled, and I hope this year it will return to pre-crisis levels.

Prime Minister Putin has listed all these industries, the core industries of any economy, be it Russia's or Ukraine's economy, and we're cooperating in all industries. We're moving forward in every sector. Only the rate of progress varies. Today's meeting was intended to bolster the sectors that have fallen behind somewhat, giving them extra momentum and clarifying the positions of leaders and governments in order to help advance the negotiations at the level of ministries and agencies.

Mr Putin, I would like to thank you personally, the Russian ministers and the heads of the agencies involved in these negotiations for your understanding. It's thanks to you that we've made headway here. You have not expressed any hostility towards our proposals so far. In most cases, they are considered without delay, and the outcome is quite good. I believe that this meeting was yet another step towards normalised relations between our countries.

I'd like to congratulate you on our national holiday once again. (Laughs) All the best!

Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much. Thank you.