Russian Leader Putin: EU Is Cartel Led by Germany
Russian President Vladimir Putin has blamed Germany for involvement in a European Union "cartel" after Chancellor Angela Merkel said her country always coordinates its position with the other 26 EU member states.
"I urge you to avoid viewing any criticism as destructive. Open a German newspaper and read what they write there. If I always got offended, I would not have lasted three days in my post," Merkel said at a meeting with participants of a Russian-German forum, as cited by RIA Novosti.
"The Russian president always knows when Europeans do not have a common opinion, but if a common opinion has been formed, we express it," Merkel said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, however, has made it clear he sees things differently.
"Note what the federal chancellor said. She said they first consult with 26 countries and then state their common position. In economics, it is called a cartel... They should have a position of their own," he stated.
Putin also said Russia does not question the viability of the European Union and the euro.
"We do not question the viability of the EU and the European currency. Otherwise, we would not hold 40% of our gold and foreign currency reserves, which are the world's third largest, in euros," he told journalists after the talks. "We are convinced difficulties will be overcome."