'From Lisbon to Vladivostok': Putin Envisions a Russia-EU Free Trade Zone

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin would like to see a free trade agreement between the European Union and Russia. In a Thursday editorial for a German newspaper, he describes his vision of "a unified continental market with a capacity worth trillions of euros."


No more tariffs. No more visas. Vastly more economic cooperation between Russia and the European Union. That's the vision presented by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in an editorial contribution to the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung on Thursday.


"We propose the creation of a harmonious economic community stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok," Putin writes. "In the future, we could even consider a free trade zone or even more advanced forms of economic integration. The result would be a unified continental market with a capacity worth trillions of euros."

The proposal comes as Putin travels to Germany on Thursday for a two-day visit, including a Friday meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. On Wednesday, Russia and the EU reached an important agreement on the elimination of tariffs on raw materials such as wood. The deal was an important prerequisite for the EU dropping its opposition to Russian membership in the World Trade Organization. Moscow is hoping to become a member in 2011.

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'From Lisbon to Vladivostok': Putin Envisions a Russia-EU Free Trade Zone