Italy calls for expanded links with Russia

MOSCOW (AFP) - Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi said Italy's relations with Russia should extend beyond energy cooperation in an interview with a Russian newspaper ahead of his meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

"Russia is the biggest energy supplier to Italy. But we should go further and build relations in the spheres of politics, culture, religion," Prodi said in the Izvestia daily on Tuesday .

"We are still too distant as peoples and this situation cannot be changed only through trade in energy resources or investment," he added.

Prodi, who came to power in April following a knife-edge election win, was due to meet President Vladimir Putin and representatives of Italian companies operating in Russia on Tuesday.

In January and February, Italy reported major shortfalls in gas supplies from Russia, due partly to a surge in Russian domestic demand because of bitterly cold winter conditions.

Italy imports some 36.5 percent of its natural gas from Russia.

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Russia, Italy to expand cooperation in military sphere - Putin

MOSCOW. June 20 (Interfax) - __Russia and Italy have agreed to work
together to expand military and military-technological cooperation__,
Russian President Vladimir Putin told journalists following a meeting
with Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi in Moscow on Tuesday.
"We have agreed to work together in the military-technological
sphere and in the area of purely military cooperation, because both
improve trust between countries," Putin said.
The chief of staff of the Russian armed forces is planning to visit
Italy in July, he said.

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Putin, Prodi agree on new forms of energy cooperation

MOSCOW, June 20 (Itar-Tass) — President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi have agreed on new forms of energy cooperation.

“It was very important for me to hear the opinion of the Italian prime minister about the access of Russian companies to the Italian market in exchange for the access of Italian companies to oil and gas projects in Russia,” Putin told a Tuesday press conference.

Similar cooperation is in progress with Germany’s BASF, he said. “In fact, we are implementing the Energy Charter’s supplementary protocol without formally ratifying this document at the parliament,” he said in response to an Itar-Tass question.

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Russia, Italy Agree To Open Each Other's Energy Markets

By . Agence France-Presse
June 21, 2006 — Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italy's Prime Minister Romano Prodi announced June 20 they have agreed to open energy markets to each other's investors. The two leaders said that Russian companies would be allowed to invest in the Italian consumer market, while Italy's energy companies could take part in Russian production.

The leaders gave no details about the agreement, which comes as Russia and the EU remain unable to agree on a wider-ranging deal known as the "energy charter."

Europe is increasingly nervous about over-dependence on Russian gas and oil, as well as being concerned that investment in Russia's energy fields is insufficient to guarantee needed output in the future. The EU in particular wants to see an end to state-run giant Gazprom's de facto monopoly on gas exports and greater access for European energy companies to Russia's gas market. Moscow, which is enjoying the fruits of high energy prices, demands in return greater access to EU markets, including in the gas retail sector.

Tensions between the EU and Russia heightened in January when Gazprom, which accounts for 26% of EU gas supplies, turned off the taps to Ukraine in a price war that hit supplies some European countries. Since then, a war of words has erupted as the EU reassessed its energy policy and pledged to look toward other energy forms and suppliers.

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Russian, Italian companies sign agreement on regional jet

MOSCOW, June 20 (RIA Novosti)-One of Russia's leading aircraft makers signed Tuesday an agreement with three Italian companies on strategic cooperation in building and marketing the Russian Regional Jet.

Representatives of Sukhoi and Italy's Finmeccanica, as well as their subsidiaries Sukhoi Civil Aviation and Alenia Aeronautica, signed the document in the presence of President Vladimir Putin and Italy's new prime minister, Romano Prodi.

"Signing the agreement is a significant step in the development of long-term strategic partnership between the two companies, a move to unite intellectual and management resources for a new proposal on the market and to share their benefits and risks under the program," a spokesman for the Russian company said.

The RRJ project is a family of medium-range passenger aircraft developed by Sukhoi in cooperation with major American and European aviation corporations, including Boeing, Snecma, Thales, Messier Dowty, Liebherr Aerospace and Honeywell.

Sukhoi plans to produce at least 700 RRJs, and intends to sell 35% of them to North America, 25% to Europe, 10% to Latin America, and 7% to Russia and China.

The RRJ market is estimated at 5,400-5,600 units until 2023 and valued at $100 billion.

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Putin can give something to european countries that Bush can only dream: energy.

While Bush spread influence through military bases and NATO, Putin offers energy.

And thats is a danger for NATO existence. How can you be receiving energy from Russia and at same time threatning her?

Slowly Putin is weakening NATO structure, and that means weakening US influence in Europe.

Every NATO member is free to choose: weapons and bases from US or energy from Russia. and sometime in future that will be the message from Putin.

"You cannot receive our energy, with a gun pointing to us."

I would like to recall your attention to the efforts from Russia to rise their civil aircraft industry where Italy is now making a good help too, soon i'll post an article about this.

Comments FromPortugal