The X Eurasian Economic Forum was held on 19–20 October 2017 in Verona (Italy). The annual business event is organized by the Conoscere Eurasia Association, the Roscongress Foundation, and the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
The key theme for discussion at this year’s Forum in Verona was ‘Greater Eurasia as a driving force in the current international geopolitical and economic context’.
More than 1,100 delegates from Russia, Italy, Germany, the USA, Greece, France, Austria, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Estonia, South Korea, India, Kazakhstan, China, Belarus, and other states took part in the event. The Forum was addressed by 84 speakers: government officials, business leaders, political and public figures, and diplomats.
Participants discussed a number of issues, including building new projects and models for government interaction and economic cooperation in the current environment, developing the innovative infrastructure of Greater Eurasia, and cooperating in energy, manufacturing, technology, transport, and the agricultural industry. Among the problems touched on were developments in the geopolitical environment in Eurasia, as well as prospects for cooperation between the regions of various countries.
“I am entirely dissatisfied with how relations between us are developing – we have mutual interests and a shared history, but we are divided by modern politics. There really are a lot of things that should be helping to bring us together”, remarked President of the Foundation for Worldwide Cooperation and former Prime Minister of Italy (1996–1998, 2006–2008) Romano Prodi. “We need Russia, together with Russian resources and a number of Russian technologies. In spite of our common interests, we have taken backward steps.”
Innovation was viewed as the main driver of long-term growth and global economic change by discussion participants.
“We think it is essential to increase the role of the private sector in innovation. This will maximize the use of innovation to respond to global challenges”, stressed President of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Alexander Shokhin.
Discussions at the Forum placed particular emphasis on the importance of establishing dialogue between the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union on political and economic cooperation.
“European businesses are very interested in working with their Eurasian counterparts. The business community today has a clear understanding of the need to engage in dialogue, and to seek compromise and points of convergence in order to restore an atmosphere of trust and give fresh impetus to the development of trade and economic ties between the EU and the EAEU. The time has come to build bridges, not knock them down. And this, in my view, is the primary mission of the Eurasian Economic Forum in Verona. I propose that this dialogue be continued at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which will take place in St. Petersburg from 24–26 May 2018”, said CEO of the Roscongress Foundation Alexander Stuglev.
President of the Conoscere Eurasia Association Antonio Fallico said: “I’d like to highlight the significant role played by the Roscongress Foundation and the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in the activities of the Verona event in recent years. Our partnership has expanded our organizational capabilities, secured unique expertise, and enriched the Forum with new ideas, for which I would like to extend my profound gratitude to our Russian friends.”
The XI Eurasian Economic Forum will take place in October 2018.