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Vladimir Putin on Magna-Sberbank buying Opel: It may be the first step towards European economic integration

de R.P. transl/adapt. C.B.
Luni, 14 septembrie 2009, 19:52 English | Regional Europe

Russian Prime-Minister Vladimir Putin hailed the Canadian company Magna, associated with Russian bank Sberbank, acquiring Opel. In an interview for the German economic daily Handelsblatt, Putin declared that "clearly, it is not an event of a global scale, but it is a positive evolution. After all, this event may be the first step toward a real integration of the European economy".

"The crisis proved inefficient in managing some companies, like General Motors", explained Putin saying that the decision of selling Open to this label comes as a result of the efforts made by the Russian Government, the German Government and the unions. "Opel could be the first step toward a real integration of the European economy", the ex-Kremlin leader said.

Asked what the Opel sale meant for the Russian-German relationship, Putin claimed that "many things have changed, even in East Europe", and "Germany is one of our key partners". But he showed disappointment against the European reticence of joining military projects. "If the Europeans don't want, it's their business, but I don't understand why. (...) We need cooperation in all departments, including military and technology.

Regarding the gas issue and the relationship with Ukraine, Vladimir Putin said that it was clear who was to blame. "We support the North Stream pipe line, a project crossing the Baltic Sea which is to have an additional connection for West Europe consumers". "But what happens? The Europeans bring back Russia's bear face that wants to swallow everything."

Russian PM Vladimir Putin's statement comes four days after general Motors (GM) announced the selling of its 55% social shares in Open and Vauxhall to Magna/Sberbank.

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