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AEB Executive Board Meets Top EU Representatives in Brussels

AEB Executive Board Meets Top EU Representatives in Brussels

AEB presents key issues for European business in Russia to the EU authorities, November 19-21, 20 

On November 19-21, an eight-strong delegation from the Executive Board of the Association of European Businesses in the Russian Federation headed by AEB Chairman Reiner Hartmann visited Brussels for a busy schedule of meetings with some of the main actors in the European Commission.

During meetings with Franco Frattini (EU Commission Vice-President, Commissioner for Freedom, Security and Justice), Peter Mandelson (Commissioner for Trade), Eneko Landaburu (Director-General of DG for External Relations), Andris Piebalgs (Commissioner for Energy) and Marek Siwiec, Vice-President of the European Parliament, the AEB established itself as the main representative of European business in Russia. The delegation emphasised the Association’s detailed knowledge of the reality for business on the ground here in Russia.The AEB also presented its newly-published Position Paper, which outlines policy recommendations on twenty sectors and industries in Russia.

The delegation highlighted its position on the priority areas for EU-Russia relations:

Accession of the Russian Federation to the WTO: the AEB reiterated that European business regards Russia’s accession to the WTO as an urgent necessity and underlined its commitment to facilitating the move;

New Strategic Partnership Agreement: with the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement now up for renewal, the AEB looks forward to being part of the negotiations for and drafting of the Strategic Partnership Agreement that will take its place. The delegation emphasized the need for an up-to-date legal framework for economic relations between the EU and Russia – something that the AEB will continue to lobby EU institutions on;

Current Difficulties in EU-Russia Visa Regime: In its meetings with Mr. Frattini and others, the AEB explained the kinds of difficulties that its members are reporting when applying for EU visas for Russian business representatives and Russian visas/work permits for EU nationals. They raised the urgent need for clarification on the new agreements between the EU and Russia, and further work on them at the highest levels. Overall, EU representatives were very open to the AEB delegation’s comments and reports on these issues, and the AEB delegation came away with the impression that the constructive dialogue on this issue will intensify.

Cooperation with Business Europe and EuroChambers: The AEB also met with representatives of Business Europe, which unites 39 entrepreneurial institutions from 33 countries, and EuroChambers, the Association of European Chambers of Commerce, which represents 20 million companies. Future cooperation and closer communications with both bodies were discussed in some detail.

AEB CEO Dr. Frank Schauff commented: “This was the first ever delegation from the AEB to embark on such a high-profile mission to the EU. We were impressed by the high-quality of the meetings and the readiness of the EU side to engage with us over the details of business on the ground in Russia. We received a very strong message that the EU is committed to a positive and constructive dialogue with the Russian government, and we look forward to playing our role in the process”.

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