A socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of international conventions, congress, exhibitions, business, social and sporting, public, and cultural events.

The Roscongress Foundation is a socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of international conventions; exhibitions; and business, public, sporting, and cultural events. It was established in pursuance of a decision by the President of the Russian Federation.

The Foundation was established in 2007 with the aim of facilitating the development of Russia’s economic potential, promoting its national interests, and strengthening the country’s image. One of the roles of the Foundation is to comprehensively evaluate, analyse, and cover issues on the Russian and global economic agendas. It also offers administrative services, provides promotional support for business projects and attracting investment, and helps foster social entrepreneurship and charitable initiatives.

Each year, the Foundation’s events draw participants from 208 countries and territories, with more than 15,000 media representatives working on-site at Roscongress’ various venues. The Foundation benefits from analytical and professional expertise provided by 5000 people working in Russia and abroad. In addition, it works in close cooperation with 133 economic partners; industrialists’ and entrepreneurs’ unions; and financial, trade, and business associations from 70 countries worldwide.

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Challenges and opportunities for business in Russian–European relations today – and in the future
6 June 2019
16:45—18:00
KEY CONCLUSIONS
Russian-European relations need optimizing

The European Union, the largest commercial block in the world, is Russia’s neighbor. We will always remain neighbours and it is great to change opinions about the current state of affairs, yet the most important is their future — Johan Vanderplaetse, Chairman, Association of European Businesses; President, Russia and CIS, Schneider Electric.

If you look at trade statistics between Russia and large countries, you will be surprised to find the trade turnover between Germany and Russia grew by 29% in the past two years, by 45% with France and by 24% with Italy over the same period. <…> It appears that the sanctions are imposed to monopolize trading with Russia for just a few countries. It is hypocrisy everywhere — Peter Szijjarto, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary.

Cooperation between Russian and European companies is on the rise

We work a lot with Rosatom, we use their latest technology, while they use our tech at nuclear plants. We also help out in mining and other industries — Florence Verzelen, Executive Vice-President for Industry Solutions, Marketing, Global Affairs and Communications, Dassault Systemes SE.

We continue our work with major European makers. We work with Alstom (Allegro trains), Siemens (Sapsan trains), here at this Forum we are going to sign another agreement with Siemens. We take part in modernizing Serbian railways — Alexander Misharin, First Vice President, Russian Railways.

Foreign investors come to some regions and launch private-public partnerships there — Maxim Egorov, Deputy Minister of Construction, Housing, and Utilities of the Russian Federation.

We have 1,400 people working in Russia. These are highly qualified, very motivated workers. We are happy to work here, soon we will open a high-tech centre here. I am very optimistic about the future — Marcus Huth, Finance Director for Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Russia, Managing Director, Accenture.

For European companies we are a kind of a bridge that links together the European Union, Russia, and Asian markets. If we talk about sanctions, then business will always find way to bypass them — Nenad Popovic, Minister for Innovation and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia.

ISSUES
Sanctions policy carries on

It is my opinion that sanctions never work. They disrupt economic relations, the do not contribute to a healthy economic development, and it is never clear why impose them to punish someone — Nenad Popovic, Minister for Innovation and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia.

We never managed to have a dialogue. Sanctions are extended every six months. Hungary tries to initiate a conversation to talk them over, discuss their real effect and not extend them automatically. Yet, it never happened — Peter Szijjarto, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary.

The European Union was very clear that in order to change the paradigm between the EU and Russia, progress is required in fulfillment of Minsk agreements. Minsk agreements are not fulfilled yet, so it is early to talk about lifting the sanctions — Markus Ederer, Ambassador of the European Union to the Russian Federation.

Mutual mistrust

For both business and diplomacy trust is an important factor, and the situation with trust between our two countries is far from great — Markus Ederer, Ambassador of the European Union to the Russian Federation.

Excessive pressure on business in Russia

Recent report by the plenipotentiary on the rights of entrepreneurs to the President, our dialogue with the President when he visited RSPP Reunion in March, President’s speeches at the gathering of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Federal Security Service, Prosecutor’s Office, his address to the Federal Assembly – all of them talk about the excess of pressure law enforcement puts on business — Alexander Shokhin, President, Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP).

SOLUTIONS
Intensifying contacts between countries

We need platforms for dialogue. Nearly everyone spoke about the importance of dialogue, especially when facing such challenges. 13 Dutch trans-national companies would like to announce the launch of Russian-Dutch Chamber of Commerce, where we would like to discuss accelerators of mutual development, as well as the PPP model — Frans van Houten, Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of the Board of Management and the Executive Committee, Royal Philips .

Political dialogue and dialogue between companies is the answer to the problems. That is what we should aim for — Johan Vanderplaetse, Chairman, Association of European Businesses; President, Russia and CIS, Schneider Electric.

There are certain disconcordances between the European Union and Russia, there are certain touchy issues that worry Russia, the EU, and Belgium. Dialogue is the only solution to those — Kris Peeters, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Employment, Economy and Consumer Affairs, in charge of Foreign Trade, Combating Poverty, Equal Opportunities, and Disabled People of the Federal Government of the Kingdom of Belgium.

Diversifying Russian economy

The main recommendation is that the country has to export something other than oil and gas. Export portfolio needs to be expanded so that it can bring great future to this country — Elisa Markula, President, Chief Executive Officer, Tikkurila Oyj.

Best practices exchange

In our company we pay a great deal of attention to sustainable development. In 2018, we were named leader among companies in terms of sustainable development, so we have experience and practices we are ready to share with Russian partners — Eric Benedetti, General Director, Signify Russia and CIS.

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS