When attending the Gaidar Forum in Moscow, housed by the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, an outstanding Italian politician Franco Frattini, President of the Institute for Eurasian Studies and Foreign Minister in two cabinets, gave an interview to Invest Foresight in which he touched upon economic and political hardships in the present day relations between Europe and Russia.
As he pointed out, “In some countries of the EU there is a perception that cooperation with Russia has been improved and should be improved further. In some recent years many Italian investors decided to invest further in Russia despite the stupid policy based on sanctions which is affecting Europe and Italy more than Russia. It was a decision where others decide and we pay the price. So now there are some countries which are rethinking that policy.”
“In Europe, we have a problem of trust towards the Russian Federation. There are countries which do not trust Russia at all. Other countries, on the contrary, consider that if we want to restore a global order, we are to cooperate instead of promoting confrontation with Russia,” Franco Frattini said, adding “There is also a problem of leadership. It is to our advantage to cooperate to restore a global order instead of being affected by terrorism, poverty, instability, or mass migration. Unfortunately, there are not so many leaders in Europe now. If there is no leadership, nothing is possible.”
In his view, “The time has come to think about lifting sanctions. For a renewal of sanctions, we need unanimity, yet there could be a number of countries, such as Italy, Greece, Austria, Hungary, Cyprus – that would be enough to avoid a renewal of sanctions. Regarding sanctions on Russia, we have to be very frank and very clear: is that in the interests of Europe? For me, it is not.”
According to Franco Frattini, “Europe is hugely divided on foreign policy and on security policy. Unfortunately, there is division on some key pillars of European treaties and there is a need for a highest level political discussion on the good reasons and good advantages to stay together.”