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Brexit of minor risks for Russia — Russian Finance Ministry

June 24, 2016, 9:56 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russian senior officials comment on the possible influence of the Brexit referendum on Russia

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MOSCOW, June 24. /TASS/. Russia’s Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseyev on Friday said Britain’s leaving the EU will not cause major risks for Russia, though it will lower the investors’ appetites for risks.

The official said, impact on financial markets would be evident immediately.

However, he continued, it is not clear how the referendum result would be implemented as an actual exit. As far as he knows, a practical procedure of leaving EU does not exist.

Brexit may affect UK-Russia trade relations

A Russian senator says the UK’s leaving the EU may affect the economic relations between Russia and the EU.

"For Russia the European Union is still the major counterpart… If the EU fails, faces further crisis and problems, it would affect our trade relations, which have been affected already by the sanctions,"  head of the Federation Council (upper house of Russian parliament) international affairs committee Konstantin Kosachev told the Life television channel on Friday.

Results of the referendum in the United Kingdom prove the EU needs reforms, which, however, may favor relations of new type with Russia.

"The European Union as it is now, does not satisfy both the members and those cooperating with it, thus causing some reforms" the senator said. "Let’s hope those reforms will mind Russia’s concerns and it may be possible to improve something in our bilateral relations."

On Thursday, the UK voted in referendum whether the country should quit the European Union. Supporters of Brexit won with 52% of the vote (17.41 million people) against 48% of those supporting the EU membership (16.14 million people).

 EU fails to be convenient for people

Kosachev went on to say that the preliminary data on the outcome of a the UK referendum on Britain’s exit show that this integration association has failed to fulfil its main task - to become understandable and convenient for citizens.

The Federation Council official said that a deep analysis of the referendum in the UK will be possible only after the final clarification of its results, but the "neck-and-neck race" of the Brexit supporters and opponents shows that "Europe’s most significant integration project, together with the obvious achievements, has failed to solve the fundamental problem: to become understandable and convenient for the population at large."

According to the parliamentarian, the Eurosceptics will now become more active "everywhere, because the problem of the gap between the ambitions of political leaders and the expectations of ordinary people in all the EU countries is only widening." "And it is caused by the enormous red tape of the European Union, depriving it of mobility in responding to new challenges (such as terrorism and extremism), problems (such as the mass influx of migrants) and non-standard situations (such as the collapse of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia)," Kosachev said.

According to him, the European Union has demonstrated the same qualities during the Ukrainian crisis, "which was provoked in many ways by the EU ill-considered and hasty actions to force on this country (Ukraine) the association terms favorable only for the European Union", and now this (Ukraine’s) crisis settlement efforts are hindered "because of the politicized and one-sided approaches of Brussels" to the implementation of the Minsk agreements and its "a priori dead-end" sanctions policy toward Russia.

"And no matter how Brexit ends, the conclusions should be made first and foremost by the European Union, and only then - by the UK", the head of the Russian Federation Council international affairs committee said.

Brexit results to affect Russia’s relations with EU, Britain

Kosachyov said he believes that the outcome of Britain’s referendum on its further membership in the European Union will affect not only the EU, but Russia’s relations with the EU and Britain as well.

"It is clear that this event (Brexit results) stretch far beyond the British bounds. Certainly, it will cause an impact on the functioning of the European Union and Russia’s relations with the EU and Britain," Kosachyov said speaking at a round-table conference Russia-France: Parliamentary Glance into the Future.

Kosachyov attributed that result to the "obvious gap between the plans and ambitions of politicians, who kept pushing ahead with the European Union project, getting increasingly defiant of what was happening within and outside the alliance and by no means adjusting their actions with the emerging questions, expectations and misunderstandings on the part of the so-called ordinary citizens - the millions of people who sometimes experienced the adverse effects of this integration project."

"This gap between the approach of the elites to what foreign and home policies should be like and their place in the world and the sentiment in the existing civil society looks rather typical of all EU countries without an exception, not just Britain," he said

Russia's own problems more pressing

Russia’s head of Center for Strategic Development Alexei Kudrin thinks that Brexit is not seriously affecting Russia, which has its own problems.

"Brexit is not affecting Russia seriously. We have our own problems, which are more pressing," Kudrin wrote on his Twitter account on Friday.

"One can regret the decision of the British people to leave the EU, but there will be no catastrophe though the financial market will be facing some short-term instability," he wrote.

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