MOSCOW - Yesterday, President Vladimir Putin welcomed representatives of the Russian and European Business Round Table in the Kremlin. Russian businessmen, however, were not present, though heads of major foreign companies like Tissen-Krupp, Nokia, British Petroleum (BP) and Royal Dutch Shell were.
Despite recent criticism of the European Union from Russia, the atmosphere at the meeting was relaxed. The parties complimented each other’s achievements and expressed hope for further co-operation. Putin said that Russia is ready to continue building a market economy. He added that Russia wishes to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), which seems to be hampering this process. But, according to Piter Sutherland from BP, this is normal EU practice and that no negotiations are ever finished to the complete satisfaction of both parties. Moscow must expedite its entry to the WTO, as this is very important for investment, he added.