15:46 | 21/06/2016 Cooperation
The 20th International Economic Forum (SPIEF) with the theme “Capitalising on the New Global Economic Reality” took place in Saint Petersburg over the last three days.
The forum created an opportunity to promote dialogues to narrow gaps and pave the way for warming up the Russia-EU relationship.
The forum focused on urgent issues and challenges that the global economy is facing and seeking new resources for growth. At the forum, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia does not bear grudges despite remarkable losses caused by the US and EU sanctions since 2014.
He said the Russian economy has adapted to the new context and become more competitive thanks to applying flexible policies on domestic currency. Russia’s macro-economy has stabilized, inflation reduced, and gold and foreign reserves remained high because of great efforts of the Central Bank. Putin said the EU remained Russia’s important trade partner and that Russia was ready to restore ties with the EU.
Putin’s message to heal ties with the EU was delivered when the EU was planning to extend its sanctions on June 21. The extension of the EU sanctions on Russia needs approval of 28 EU member countries. But, the EU remains split over this issue.
Baltic countries want to maintain tough sanctions against Russia which will expire in July due to the Crimea Annexation in 2014 and its intervention into eastern Ukraine. Other pro-Russia countries including Greece, Hungary and Italy want to loosen the sanctions.
A recent public poll conducted in 10 EU countries shows that the rate of supporting Russia is higher than that of extending sanctions on Russia. A number of EU politicians signed an open letter saying that the imposition of economic sanctions on Russia was a political and economic mistake because their countries are negative affected by the sanctions, especially their agricultural market. The sanctions cost the EU 44 billion euro worth of 900,000 jobs.
The Russia-EU relationship became tense following the Ukraine crisis in 2014. “Tit-for-tat” sanctions between Russia and the West have negatively impacted both sides. Mutual trust is now needed to restore the Russia-EU relationship./.