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Briefing by Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs


On February 21, 2019, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with the members of the Association of European Businesses (AEB) at the Foreign Ministry’s Press Centre. 

Johan Vanderplaetse, Chairman of the AEB Board, opened the meeting. He noted that European businesses in Russia face a lot of challenges due to the complicated geopolitical context and that has a serious impact on the business climate:

“Some foreign investors are worried because of the sanctions and the uncertainty about what might follow next. We at the AEB believe that, on the contrary, stronger economic, cultural and scientific ties are what we should aim for. We are therefore hoping that, in 2019, we see a gradual restoration of the political dialogue and therefore business confidence.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov delivered a speech in which he touched the issues of sanctions, energy policy and economic relations between Russia and the European Union. The Minister noted that despite the increase of sanction pressure on Russia, the government is open to a dialogue with foreign investors:

“Despite the difficulties, and they exist, no one tries to hide them, there is a feeling that the business community has been tired of sanctions, confrontation and now it is interested in resuming full-fledged cooperation."

The Minister emphasized the need to intensify contacts between the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Commission, marking out the high potential of already established technical cooperation.

The briefing by Mr. Lavrov was followed by a Q&A session moderated by AEB CEO Dr. Frank Schauff. He noted that one of the main tasks for the AEB is to maintain an active dialogue between foreign investors and government officials. So the communication with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia is now particularly relevant:

"AEB has been working in Russia for more than 20 years, and we have stayed in close cooperation with the Russian authorities in all difficult times. We hope that our constructive dialogue will continue with regards to the most controversial issues, as the Baring Vostok case. Therefore we ask for the full support from the Russian Government to ensure the country remains open to FDIs and that all necessary measures in favor of an open, stable market and an even level playing field for all economic actors are guaranteed”. 

AEB member company representatives received answers to their most pressing and important questions directly from the source.

Johan Vanderplaetse, AEB Chairman of the Board - Welcome remarks

The transcript of the briefing is available HERE

JV Open remarks.pdf View/Open