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A New Europe: What Is Russia to Expect?
6 June 2019
15:00—16:15
KEY CONCLUSIONS
Europe needs Russia

When it comes to energy, I have to tell you that 100% of our imported gas comes from Russia — Peter Szijjarto, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary.

We still support the position that Russian gas should be transported through Greek territory and onwards to Western Europe in a southerly direction — Dimitrios Velanis, Advisor to the Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic.

The energy partnership is extremely important. We have decades of great cooperation between Europe and Russia in terms of energy partnership, and that is something that needs to be revived. <...> I have mentioned why in Europe we need gas from Russia – it is competitive, it has a good price, we want to change our climate policy, we want to phase out coal, we want to be competitive, so we need that pipeline [Nord Stream 2, – Ed.] — Mario Mehren, Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer, Wintershall Dea GmbH .

Russia and Europe need to work out a reliable formula for collaboration and joint development

Russia is of course a part of Europe. However, we are somewhat different to Europe, and Europe is somewhat different to us. This does not mean that we stand in opposition to each other, though. It means that we can create a system of values and a system of understanding which can be used to find a workable and robust formula for development — Andrei Bystritsky, Chairman of the Board, Foundation for the Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club.

This question which we are discussing today – A New Europe: What is Russia to Expect <...> has certainly been a hot topic for the last several years — Chilcote Ryan, TV Host, Special Correspondent, PBS NewsHour.

ISSUES
The continued policy of sanctions

Europe’s most perceptive politicians have of course already realised that the so-called sanctions against Russia are not working. However, they have yet to work out how to extricate themselves from the trap that they – or their predecessors – set themselves — Vladimir Chizhov, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the European Union.

The ongoing economic war has damaged Russia and the European Union. The European Union’s retaliatory embargo has led to it losing out on the Russian food market, agricultural products, and mutual investments in the high-tech sectors of the economy. During these years, Europe has lost the opportunity to increase its industrial, scientific, and technical developments in Russia — Dimitrios Velanis, Advisor to the Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic.

Sanctions are not a cause for alarm in terms of their direct consequences, but because they are unpredictable: nobody knows what sanctions will be imposed tomorrow, or indeed whether they will be imposed at all. This causes an environment of uncertainty for Russian businesses working with foreign partners, and also for our foreign partners. In being in place for a sustained amount of time, this environment of uncertainty could lead to partnerships stagnating — Alexander Shokhin, President, Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP).

Growing conflict inside the European Union

The European Union is facing historic challenges, it is not an exaggeration to say. <...> In recent years I have to tell you that the European Commission has failed to find the proper answers for these challenges — Peter Szijjarto, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary.

In the coming years, the European Union will become even deeper immersed in its internal problems, the need for internal restructuring, transformation, determining its place in the world, and so on. And it will literally have no time for us, or anyone. It will be a completely closed process, and there will not only be no point in counting on a new kind of Russia–EU relations, it would also be counter-productive to an extent — Fyodor Lukyanov, Research Director, Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club; Chief Editor, Russia in Global Affairs Journal.

SOLUTIONS
Rejecting the policy of applying pressure and transitioning towards collaboration and integration

The quicker that Brussels casts off the illusion of integration exceptionalism, the sooner our respective groups can begin benefitting from strengthening collaboration throughout Eurasia. In today’s highly competitive world, I do not believe this will be considered superfluous to EU member states, nor to Russia and its partners in the EAEU. <...> It is by working with our country and reconciling European and Eurasian integration (given we largely pursue the same goals), that the EU will be able to stake a claim as a key player in global politics and economics over the next 10 years — Vladimir Chizhov, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the European Union.

The main objective should absolutely be removing uncertainty. And as a minimum, the best way to do this is to avoid imposing new sanctions. <...> The political will to not use sanctions as a tool of unfair competition needs to be there — Alexander Shokhin, President, Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP).

We want to see a structured way out of sanctions. Fifty per cent of our business at Wintershall Dea is in Russia or linked to Russia. We are not directly impacted by the sanctions, but of course we see that sanctions are a permanent discussion. Rather than talking business, you talk about legal stuff — Mario Mehren, Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer, Wintershall Dea GmbH .

Increasing the independence of individual EU states

When each country [in the EU, – Ed.] is given the opportunity to have a much larger space to further its pragmatic interests, it will be much easier for Russia, and it will be clear where lines of dialogue will be open — Fyodor Lukyanov, Research Director, Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club; Chief Editor, Russia in Global Affairs Journal.

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS