BERLIN, November 14. /TASS/. It is difficult to build a Europe without Russia and almost impossible to build a Europe in confrontation with Russia, says a German business leader who has repeatedly warned against economic sanctions on Moscow.
“Russia to the west of the Ural mountains is part of European culture. I consider it inadmissible if we destroy that Europe, to which Russia also belongs,” Eckhard Cordes of the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle in an interview published on Friday.
Cordes voiced doubts about the effectiveness of the sanctions in place against Russia. “If politicians introduce economic sanctions, the business will comply with the sanctions regime. The question is whether these economic sanctions produce the desired results. We have always been pretty sceptical about it,” he said, adding that the conflicting parties — Russia and the West — should approach each other, make compromises and acknowledge their mistakes in order to find a political solution to the crisis in Ukraine.
Speaking about the impact of the sanctions on the German economy, Cordes said German exports to Russia dropped by almost 17% in the first eight months and would probably plunge even further in the remaining part of the year, since the ruble's recent collapse made German goods more expensive and the general climate of sanctions damaged mutual trust.