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Putin Says Russia Faces Investment Hurdles In Europe

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (left) will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel later today.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said Europe is putting up barriers to Russian firms as he pressed for closer economic ties.

Speaking at an economic forum in the German capital, Berlin, Putin said many Russian firms were keen to invest in Europe but often faced "resistance."

"Russian capital is simply not allowed to enter European businesses, although it is in Europe's interest from the economic and even social points of view," Putin said.

"I could give you many examples of how Russian businesses that try to acquire shares in European concerns often face politically and economically motivated resistance."

Earlier, German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg told the same meeting that Putin's suggestion for a joint Russian-EU economic zone was "an interesting proposal," but said that "a lot of study of it would be needed."

The gathering was attended by representatives of German corporate giants such as Volkswagen, Deutsche Bank, and Siemens.

Later today, Putin is due to hold talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel, during which the fate of E.ON Ruhrgas's $4.5 billion stake in Russia's gas giant Gazprom is expected to be discussed.

compiled from agency reports