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News briefing following G20 Summit

November 3, 2011, Cannes

Question: Mr President, did the G20 make a consolidated decision today on rescuing Greece and the Eurozone in general? Have there been any changes to Russia’s support proposals in light of the latest events in Greece? The figure of 10 billion was named just recently. How much would the BRICS countries be willing to give? Is there an agreed consolidated figure for support for Greece and the Eurozone?

President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Yes, everything has revolved today around the Eurozone crisis and Greece’s extravagant position, which has changed several times over the course of the day. Yesterday, and this morning, there was talk of a referendum going ahead no matter what, but as I understand the current situation, by evening the news came that there would be no referendum and that it is far more important to secure an agreement on EU’s support and the support from the International Monetary Fund. 

The situation is thus unclear now, but I hope that the Greek leadership, the Greek government – the current government or a coalition government – will have the resolve to stick to this policy, and will at last receive the funds it needs to overcome the massive crisis that has struck the Greek economy. The Eurozone’s stability, future developments on the European continent, and perhaps even whether or not there will be a new spiral in the financial crisis all depend on our ability to resolve this problem.

Today’s discussions all revolved around this subject, this is the truth. As for the approaches we will take, this is still in the process of being finalised. I think we will reach an agreement, of course, on what support to give the Eurozone countries. I took part in consultations with my BRICS colleagues this morning on this matter. These were useful talks. It was the first time we got together like this to address an issue of immediate importance, exchange views and settle our positions.

Our position is that of course we must help to maintain one of the key reserve currencies. It is in everyone’s interests to maintain the Euro: in the interests not just of the Europeans, but also the Russian Federation and China too. We should think about what we are doing though, act consciously, aware of the risks that exist. We must make sure that this aid is targeted, clear and transparent, and not some hasty attempt that will end up seeing the funds spread too thin among who knows how many recipients. We have to have a clear understanding of the conditions under which this aid will be provided.

This is what we are in the process of finalising now, and I hope that over the next few hours our Sherpas will hold the relevant consultations and the finance ministers will also hold the discussions necessary for settling the details, so that we can agree on a final scheme.

It is too early yet to name the figures. There are shares and figures that each country takes on itself as a member of the International Monetary Fund. This is what we will base ourselves on overall. But at the same time, we want the earlier agreements on revision of the IMF quotas and management procedures that we reached a while ago to be carried in full with respect to our partners and to the Russian Federation too. That is the situation. Everything will be done tomorrow.

Question: Mr President, at the G20 Business Summit today you mentioned the issue of copyright law in the Internet, and this was something you spoke about too in your message to the G20 leaders published on the Kremlin website. How did your G20 partners react to your proposals?

Dmitry Medvedev: I would be deceiving you if I said that everyone at the summit was solely discussing my message about the Internet and copyright laws. Our colleagues had other things on their minds today – the Eurozone, the euro’s stability, the situation in Greece, and also in Italy and Spain. Greece is the weakest link of course, but there are other countries facing troubles too.

The initiative did not pass unnoticed however, because everyone is aware that the time is ripe for change in this area of copyright law. We simply need to gather the courage to recognise that the moment has come to change the international conventions and agree on a new and more balanced system for protecting the rights and interests of copyright holders and Internet users.

You cannot protect just copyright holders, or just users. My message to the G20 countries was precisely about this need to develop a new system that will protect copyright while at the same time giving users broad rights of free access to works within a protection framework that the copyright holders themselves can set. I will certainly continue discussing this matter with my colleagues because I think it is extremely important for our future.

Question: I want to ask about the WTO. There is contradictory news coming out about the negotiating process. What are the conditions and proposals that Russia has agreed to, including regarding monitoring of goods crossing the border?

Dmitry Medvedev: These are technical matters. The only thing I can say is that I can fully confirm everything that our representative, Mr Medvedkov, said today.

Question: In other words, we agree to Switzerland’s proposal?

Dmitry Medvedev: Yes, we are ready to accept some of the compromise solutions that have been proposed just recently with Switzerland’s involvement.

I wish you all the best.

November 3, 2011, Cannes