MOSCOW, June 14. /TASS/. The anticipated meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) is a sign of a meltdown in relations between Russia and the EU but it is early to expect the removal of sanctions, Dr. Frank Schauff, CEO of the Association of European Businesses (AEB) told reporters.
The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) will be held on June 16-18.
"The fact that Juncker is coming to SPIEF is a very important sign. If I am not wrong, none of the Presidents of the European Commission has been in Russia in the last three years, last time it happened in autumn of 2013. That is why it is very important, of course, that this conversation will be held - between the European Commission and Russia," Schauff told reporters.
He declined to make any forecasts about the results of the meeting.
"We are very positive about the visit of Mr. Juncker. I think it may be a useful meeting. Whether it will have an impact on the decision about sanctions - that is difficult to say," he said.
Dr Schauff added that the meeting may have a positive effect on the EU-Russia relations, EU even if sanctions are not removed.
"Although the sanctions exist, there is a wide room they do not cover and the members of EU are working on the Russian market. Economic activities do not end with sanctions," he said.
In his turn, Alexander Demidov, General Director of GfK Russia, told reporters that such meetings contribute to the improvement of economic climate in Russia.
"For me all the meetings at the forum are the bricks that are put together for the improvement of the business climate in Russia. I think that every such a moment brings an improvement of business climate," he said.
On June 9, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Putin and Juncker will discuss Syria, Ukraine and development of Russian-EU dialogue at the meeting on the sidelines of the forum.
Later, European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said that Juncker saw it as important to try to progress at least on economic issues with Russia as well as stressing that there would not be easing of the EU stance.