MOSCOW, December 12. /TASS/. Relations between Russia and Europe are now experiencing a renaissance, with trade and investment demonstrating an upward trend, in addition to Russian companies implementing large projects in Europe, Russian Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin said on Wednesday at a meeting with representatives of the Association of European Businesses (AEB).
"Russia and Europe are undergoing a renaissance in relations, and the main goal is not to spoil it, but to support the positive trends that exist, maintain cooperation with businesses that work in Russia and with Russia," he stressed.
The minister noted that percentage-wise for the second year in a row mutual trade has seen soaring growth. "If we look at investment dynamics, we will see that now, for example, Russian companies in Europe are implementing a whole set of major investment projects. This includes Nord Stream 2 and construction of nuclear power plants in Hungary and Finland, and cross-border cooperation projects between Russia and the European Union are actively being developed," Oreshkin added.
He noted that as far as Europe is concerned, relations with Russia are now one of the most significant drivers of economic growth. "The European Union, of course, still remains Russia's key trading partner. However, we see that despite the fact that our trade with Europe has expanded by 20%, growth with China is much stronger, and it is clear that as far as Europe’s relations with Russia is concerned, it could have been higher, had it not been for the events of recent years," he noted.
Sanctions only benefit America
Russia’s economic development minister noted that the sanctions policy was played against European business. "It is important to always look back and understand what the events of 2014-2015 have led to. It is clear that European businesses turned out to be the ones most seriously harmed, while America weaved its entire sanctions story so that US companies would gain a competitive advantage over the Europeans," he explained.
As an example, Oreshkin cited the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). "It worked very successfully in Russia, earned a huge profit, had a very low amount of overdue loans. Having lost the main purpose of its existence, it began to frantically search for things to do. The country it chose in the last few years was Turkey. Now, of course, EBRD is going to suffer very serious losses to its Turkey portfolio," Oreshkin pointed out.
The financial sector is not the only place that this sort of situation has unfolded, the minister added. "It was obvious that America, which has a very low volume of economic trade relations with Russia, virtually does not receive any direct blow to mutual trade. Moreover, no sanctions were imposed on the sectors that are important to the United States," Oreshkin emphasized.