MOSCOW, May 10 (RIA Novosti) - The May 9 festivities have shown "the common approach to the appraisal of WWII and to the lessons learnt from it," Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his opening remarks at the Russia-EU summit meeting. "I would like to extend my gratitude to you once more for your celebrating the Victory Day together with us," the Russian president said. Putin emphasized that the May 9 celebration highlighted the priceless experience in uniting in the face of a global threat and the difficulties in handling the consequences of a large-scale catastrophe like that.
"It is obvious that the post-war peace and post-war realities called for whole range of difficult decisions - both to rebuild Europe's economy and social life and to achieve such sensitive goals as reconciliation and restoration of normal human relations among the peoples and states the Second World War rolled through," the president said.
He stated that laying the groundwork for the European community was difficult too. "Still, European countries stuck to this path, producing truly impressive results in the end," Putin stressed.
"I would like to emphasize that we realize full well the difficulties inherent in such a transition. Russia respects the experience in the European reunification and appreciates the efforts aimed at and the faith in a better future by those who stood out for and implemented the idea of united Europe," the Russian president concluded.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chairman of the European Council and Prime Minister of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker, EU Commission Chairman Jose Manuel Barroso, EU Council Secretary General/EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov, Industry and Energy Minister Victor Khristenko, Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref, Presidential Aide on Russian-EU Relations Sergei Yastrzhembsky and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are taking part in the 15th Russia-EU summit meeting.