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Meeting of European businesses and regional authorities, discussion of the relationship between business, government and society: key points of the second day of AEB at SPIEF 2021


On June 4, 2021the  representatives of AEB met with the governors of several Russian regions and participated in the SPIEF panel session.

Representatives of the AEB, Bayer and Bekaert member companies took part in a meeting with Igor Artamonov, governor of the Lipetsk region.

In addition to the governor, Dmitry Averov, deputy head of the Lipetsk region administration, Tadzio Schilling, CEO of AEB, Niels Hessmann, General Representative of Bayer in Russia and CIS countries, CEO of Bayer, head of Pharmaceuticals division, Irina Lavrova, Director of Communications, Government and Public Relations and Sustainable Development, Kun Grothart, Vice President for Operations for Europe, NV Bekaert SA, discussed current status and plans for investment projects of the companies.


Bekaert shared the long-lasting experience of doing business in the region, and Bayer representatives spoke about their plans to open a production site in the Lipetsk SEZ.

Tadzio Schilling discussed with the governor plans for AEB's interaction with the Lipetsk region for 2021-22, as well as a joint localization event in September 2021.


Tadzio Schilling and Philippe Pegorier also met with the Leningrad Region government delegation headed by Governor Alexander Drozdenko. The parties praised the effectiveness of the current partnership and discussed the vectors of further cooperation, including attraction of foreign investments into "green" projects on the territory of the region.

The second day of the AEB presence at SPIEF 2021 ended with the panel session INTERACTION BETWEEN GOVERNMENT, BUSINESS AND PUBLIC: WHAT THE PANDEMIC HAS CHANGED, in which Tadzio Schilling, Chief Executive Officer, Association of European Businesses and Philippe Pegorier, AEB Board member, MEDEF International, took place. Among the other speakers were: Alexey Mordashov, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Severstal, Boris Titov, Presidential Commissioner of the Russian Federation for the Protection of Entrepreneurs’ Rights and Andrey Sharonov, President, Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO.

In the course of their speeches, the participants noted that one of the consequences of the pandemic for Russian business has been a significant increase in civil society overseeing the activities of major companies. After a sharp growth in calls for justice, governments have become far more reactive to the interests of the broad general public without preference. This is a direct result of the pandemic: the panic mode that swept the globe in spring 2020 was generated from the bottom up, fuelled by social networks and mass media. Sensing that the authorities had become more dynamic in responding to public demands, citizens set about dictating their agenda to governments. This agenda is strongly associated with the search for justice, equality, and protecting the vulnerable. 

How can a new balance be struck between the public mood and economic stability on behalf of business?

Alexei Mordashov spoke about Severstal's active development of social responsibility programs even before the arrival of the coronavirus, and shared his experience in supporting citizens by business during the most acute phase of the pandemic.


Tadzio Schilling noted that during the coronavirus restrictions, the role of the government, as well as the expert influence on it, increased significantly. He also spoke about the dramatic spread of digitalization of services around the world in response to the lockdown, and commented on the strengthening of horizontal ties in society, both in Russia and Europe.

Boris Titov noted the shift in rhetoric towards SMEs in a negative direction, also from the public, and warned against underestimating the range of negative consequences of the pandemic, which is not yet over.


Philippe Pegorier shared the French government's experience of imposing a full lockdown in the country and the public's reaction to the restrictions.

Finally, Andrei Sharonov devoted his speech to the issue of ethical behavior in business during a pandemic, as well as the acute social demand for trust that businesses face.