Vladimir Putin hopes that the new EU leadership is aware of the harm from sanctions and will build good relations with Russia. This was stated by the president during his official visit to Italy.
The head of state met with Pope Francis and also held talks with President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. The sides discussed a wide range of issues, including the development of bilateral cooperation, the prospects for the lifting of sanctions and the normalization of Russian relations with the European Union. A lot of attention was paid to economic topics at the talks.
“Italy is an important trading partner. In 2018, trade increased by almost 13 percent, to $ 27 billion. At the same time, let me remind you that in 2013 the turnover was $ 54 billion. We have something to strive for,” the Russian president said.
They talked about pressing issues of international politics: relations with the European Union, the situation in Syria, Iran and Libya, they also discussed Ukraine. Vladimir Putin said that Russia could not be required to fulfill the Minsk agreements, especially the part that does not apply to Moscow at all.
Negotiations between Vladimir Putin and Giuseppe Conte continued in an informal setting at dinner at the Villa Madama – this is the home of the receptions of the Italian government. The menu was made on the basis of fish dishes, and for dessert, they served strawberries with vanilla ice cream. The dinner was also attended by members of the Italian Cabinet of Ministers – Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Interior and Minister of Economic Development, Labor and Social Policy.
At the end of the official program, Vladimir Putin met at the airport with the former prime minister and leader of the Forward Italy party Silvio Berlusconi. They are linked by an old friendship that ensued in the years when Berlusconi headed the government.
Before arriving in Italy, Vladimir Putin called Berlusconi a world-wide politician and a real leader who firmly defends the country’s interests in the international arena.