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YALTA, April 20. /TASS/. Crimea offers opportunities for cooperation and the European Union should not ignore them, President of the Italian province Reggio Calabria Giuseppe Raffa said on Thursday on the sidelines of the Yalta International Economic Forum.
The Italian lawmaker said that he had first visited Crimea in 2014 right after the referendum on its reunification with Russia. "At the time, I saw joy on the people’s faces as they had taken their future into their own hands," Raffa said. "It was an amazing experience for me, particularly taking into consideration what the western media was saying about Crimea, mentioning some tanks and blood being spilled here. Reality was completely different."
"From the administrative standpoint, Crimea has everything it takes to build economic and cultural relations with Europe," Raffa added. "Crimea is a free economic zone. Some say that such relations cannot be built but I believe that in any case, this kind of cooperation should not be ignored."
"I love my country very much but unfortunately, Italy has lost its taste for democracy, the democratic system in our country is artificial," the president of the Reggio Calabria province said. "In my opinion, the real democracy is what I saw here in 2014."
The Third Yalta International Economic Forum (YIEF) is taking place in the Crimean city of Yalta on April 20-22, around 1,500 people are participating. TASS is the forum’s strategic information partner.