'Ahead of his two-day visit to Germany, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has projected a vision of a 'harmonious economic community stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok' in reaction to the economic crisis. Chancellor Angela Merkel, however, said she will "pour some cold water" on the idea.
Writing in German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung on Thursday (25 November), Mr Putin argued that more integration between Russia and the EU and even a "common contintental market" would allow them to overcome the effects of the crisis and prevent a new one from emerging.
"We should be frank about it: The global economic crisis has revealed both Russia and the EU to be economically very vulnerable," Mr Putin wrote. Russia is still too dependent on its oil and gas exports, he argued, while the EU has lost its competitive edge in the world through its de-industrialisation policy. A "harmonious economic community stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok" would imply strategic alliances in key industries, such as shipbuilding, car manufacturing, space exploration and the pharmaceutical industry.'