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The first day of the AEB at SPIEF 2021. Challenges for EU-Russia relations


On June 3, 2021 the Association of European Businesses held a business dialogue between representatives of government and business on the topic: RUSSIA–EU RELATIONS: RESPONDING TO THE CHALLENGES OF TIME. 

The moderator of the session was Johan Vanderplaetse, Chairman of the AEB Board, President, Russia and CIS, Schneider Electric. 


"Global challenges – ranging from climate, water and food crises, to poverty, conflict and inequality are in need of solutions that the private sector can deliver. Business stimulates economic growth, creates jobs, and brings innovations,"- said Johan Vanderplaetse in his speech. - "More and more global and national business actors started ESG reporting to share their progress with investors, partners, and general public.However, it is clear for everyone that no single company or not even a nation alone can drive the necessary changes. There is a need in information and technology sharing, development of common policies and value chain collaboration".

Maxim Reshetnikov, Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, spoke about the taxonomy of "green projects", ESG-financing, adoption of the law limiting greenhouse gas emissions, etc., which was developed jointly with business.

At the same time the Minister stressed that the goals of sustainable development should be considered as a whole. In addition, "not all countries will be able to immediately meet high environmental standards. There is a need for high-level international discussion on this topic," the minister added.

Arun Bansal, Executive Vice-president, Head of Market Area Europe and Latin America, Ericsson, in his speech touched upon the issue of 5G technology spread, which, according to the speaker, can become the driver of future economic development.

Konstantin Kosachev, Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and Vladimir Chizhov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the EU, addressed the current relations between Russia and the EU and called for their maximum depoliticization and building on principles of mutual respect.

Markus Ederer, Ambassador of the European Union to the Russian Federation, agreed that relations between Russia and the EU are undergoing difficult times. However, there are a number of directions in which Russia and the EU can and should work together.

"Cooperation on the green transformation is an opportunity to stabilize our relations,"- the EU Ambassador said.

This point was further developed by Simone Mori, Head of Europe and Euro-Mediterranean Affairs, Enel S.p.A. He noted that Russia has a huge supply of renewable energy sources and called for their joint development.


Alexey Mordashov, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Severstal, focused on global challenges. Industry representatives pin great hopes on new technologies: decarbonization, the emergence of hydrogen technology in metallurgy, and so on. At the same time, unfortunately, when speaking about Russian-European relations, "we often find ourselves in the trap of repeating paradigms that have been sounding for a long time, on both sides. I wish politicians on both sides would try to find common points where we have no contradictions, for example, protection of the environment," urged Mr. Mordashov.

Leonid Fedun, Vice President for Strategic Development, Executive​ Member of the Board of Directors, LUKOIL, supported Aleksei Mordashov's position on combating global challenges, and highlighted the problems of landfills and atmospheric methane emissions.

Francois Jackow, Executive Vice President, Member of the Executive Committee, Air Liquide SA, spoke about what technologies the company would like to bring to the Russian energy market.

Finally, Igor Artamonov, Head of the Administration of Lipetsk Region, spoke about the development of ESG directions in his region.


In addition to the speakers, Aleksandar Ruzevic, Chief Executive Officer, Coca-Cola HBC Russia, Alexander Shokhin, President, Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) and Ilya Polyakov, Chairman of the Management Board, Rosbank; Member of the Management Board, Societe Generale Group, commented on the topic of the session.

Another important event of the day was the session "Russia-France," with the participation of Pierre Levy, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the French Republic in the Russian Federation. The moderator of this session was Philippe Pegorier, a member of the AEB Board.


As Mr. Pegorier noted, Russian and French business are ready to implement joint projects aimed at improving the quality of life in a sustainable economy.