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Thursday, December 8, 2016

The forum in St. Petersburg showed the desire of Europe to compromise


The first day of the St. Petersburg international economic forum showed the commitment of the EU to return to the compromise. As well as Russia’s readiness to equal partnership and openness – both political and economic. In addition, Russian politicians and officials have made a number of important statements concerning the domestic economy.

The first day of the St. Petersburg international economic forum (SPIEF) outlined several promises as to the world community and the Russian people and business.

Relations with the EU

“That came to Russia representatives of the major oil and financial companies in the U.S. and the EU, speaks about their attitude to cooperation with Moscow”

The St. Petersburg forum this year showed the first steps to restore relations with the main economic partner – the European Union. Among the main messages in the forum, participants also mentioned the willingness of the European Commission to the dialogue with the Russian President.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who held talks with Vladimir Putin, admitted that not all of his European colleagues supported the decision to stay in Russia, but he believes it is important to engage in dialogue in order to solve the existing problems.

“The fact that the restrictions imposed suffering along with the Russian also European economy, is not subject to appeal. So the desire of the chief Commissioner to debate, to search for compromise solutions, and generally became apparent in the course of the forum the belief of European politicians of the futility of the sanctions war is a positive signal for business”, – said the newspaper VIEW, the entrepreneur, managing partner of real estate Agency “Агентство.net” Alex Petropolskaya.

Permanent representative to the EU Vladimir Chizhov said that the agenda is also the issue of the resumption of the summits Russia – EU, which was conducted in 2014.

Russia has shown that it is willing to develop relations, but on equal ground, not from the perspective of political pressure from Brussels. This is evidenced by Russia’s response to the proposal by the former French President Nicolas Sarkozy that Moscow took the first step in the direction of Europe. Russia is not considering the possibility to cancel the first counter-sanctions, said the Minister of economic development Alexei Ulyukayev, explaining that the power to initiate sanctions policy was “on the side of our partners,” and therefore “the initiative of the outlet also needs to be on their side”. The MAYOR is preparing a draft resolution on the extension of bradenburg until the end of 2017.

The Russian foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in turn, expressed that the EU program “Eastern partnership” – not quite a harmless thing. Although it was a constructive attempt, overall it prevail intentions to “make friends with Russia’s neighbors in the peak of her”, he said.

And the head of Gazprom Alexey Miller directly responded to the political claims of a number of European and American politicians on the “Nord stream – 2”. They want the Russian fed Ukraine, transitive gas through its territory, but who compensates for Russia’s losses from this? Miller cited estimates, why is beneficial for Russia to supply gas via Nord stream – 2″ and unprofitable through Ukraine. Gas supply is one of the important points of cooperation between the EU and Russia.

Economic forum showed how much has changed the attitude of the representatives of the countries of Europe and partly the US to Russia, said Professor at the Higher school of Economics, the political scientist Leonid Polyakov. “I think that in the coming days we will witness new agreements. This will benefit both the West and Russia”, – said the expert newspaper VIEW.

The St. Petersburg economic forum became a platform to discuss future cooperation between the countries of Europe with Russia without rigid and meaningless political demands. “That came to Russia representatives of the major oil and financial companies in the U.S. and the EU, speaks about their attitude to cooperation with Moscow”, – says the President of the Center for strategic communications, political scientist Dmitry Abzalov.

“The high representative of the economic forum in St. Petersburg was the result of increased Pro-Russian sentiment in many European countries. For example, the French Parliament and a number of regional parliaments called for the abolition of sanctions against Moscow. All this will lead to a distancing of the EU from the United States and, accordingly, a rapprochement with Russia”, – said the source.

According to him, the forum will affect the ambulance the abolition of sanctions against Russia. “Most likely, the anti-Russian sanctions will be extended until Dec. This date was chosen in November will be the elections of the President of the United States. Thereafter, the EU will go to the collapse of the sanctions. And in the West there is a departure from the vector of the rigid confrontation with Russia. The forum is the proof”, – said Abzalov.

Investment attractiveness

Equally important promises that have been made on the first day of the forum is Russia’s investment attractiveness and openness of Russia, both political and economic.

“The authorities initially focused on investment attractiveness of the country, and it naturally became major. This was seen as invited from Asia, the Middle East, Europe, North America, and appearances. The forum was attended by 500 foreign companies from 60 countries and 600 participants. The capital of investment funds with which to meet our President, up to 10 trillion dollars”, – said Vice-President of “Business Russia” Tatyana Mineeva.

Moscow once again showed that she is not going to isolate itself from the international community, on the contrary, is counting on foreign investment. It showed all sorts of agreements and declarations on cooperation of foreign companies with Russian business on the first day of the forum.

Italian and Russian companies, for example, signed on the first day of the nine contracts for 1.4 billion euros. Indian companies ready to invest 5 billion dollars in development of deposits of Vankor and TAAS-Yuryakh, said the Minister of oil and gas of India Dharmendra Pradhan.

Russia and Iran may soon implement projects worth 40 billion dollars, said the head of Ministry Alexander Novak. Rosneft has extended the supply of oil to Czech refineries PKN Orlen for three years.

Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich on the sidelines of SPIEF held meetings with investors from USA, Europe and China, as well as with the Prime Minister of Malta.

Gazprom and German Uniper noted the importance bistransin of gas supply routes from Russia to Europe through the Nord stream – 2″. Russia has been and remains a reliable energy supplier to Europe, said at the forum the head of the Austrian OMV Rainer Seele. Russia is a huge market for Europe, and the price that the business pays for the sanctions, is very high. According to him, some European politicians formed a “blind spot”, the only way to explain their ignorance of the symbiotic relationship with Russia.

The Russian economy

The forum noted the stabilization of the macroeconomic situation in the whole country, which is a good time to attract investment.

The Minister of economic development Alexei Ulyukayev said that the MAYOR expects a decline in GDP for the first five months of 2016, less than 1% year-on-year. The recession in the economy will completely cease by 2016, he said. Deputy Chairman of Vnesheconombank Andrei Klepach also believes that to emerge from recession and begin the growth of the Russian economy is perhaps already in the second half of 2016.

The Russian economy has adapted to external challenges much faster than expected, stated the head of the Central Bank Elvira Nabiullina.

According to the forecast Ulyukayev, the rate of the dollar by the end of 2016 will be more than 60 rubles.

“For the first time at the St. Petersburg international economic forum appeared the stand of the Crimea, where the region presented its investment opportunities”

Not without the traditional forecasts on oil. In the medium term, will manifest a certain lack of new supply of oil, said the head of Rosneft Igor Sechin. According to him, the oil market started to move towards achieving the medium-term balance, expectations Rosneft associated with 2017 year. The Ministry of energy admits that a few years there may be a shortage in the oil market, said Alexander Novak. And that means a new round of growth in oil prices.

It was the beginning of the structural reforms and the correction of the budget. Within three years it is necessary to reduce the imbalance of the budget to zero, completely adapted to the new conditions, said Finance Minister Anton Siluanov.

“All this was discussed, in particular, at the panel session “Macroeconomic policy: a strategy for action”. Unfortunately, these statements can stumble on the real problem, which, of course, such an event as the St. Petersburg economic forum, talking to foreign investors it would not be appropriate”, – said Tatiana Mineeva.

The question about which of the three proposed ways Putin will go on the Russian economy, still remains open. But it is clear that the main rate does the country on the inflow of investments, both through public and internal reserves, and at the expense of foreign partners.

For business

In addition to General economic and political situation of the business, of course, concerned about tax policy and administrative regulation. SPIEF has conducted a number of surveys of the economic situation in Russia. According to the results of one of them guests of the forum called for tax increases and against the informal sector. “Knowing how in love with our officials to tighten the screws, this information causes concern. I would not want to see similar results stimulated the tightening of tax control and tax increase. Still, the forum has the status of “presidential”, and all voiced at the event has a special significance,” worries Alex Petropolskaya.

However the President, unlike the guests of the forum, obviously has a different opinion on tax policy. Vladimir Putin said that fiscal policy should be predictable to allow long-term planning. The Russian authorities know perfectly well that because of this, companies have to analysis and forecasting of the market situation, the President said at a meeting with the chief Executive officer of Royal Dutch Shell Ben.

The head of the MAYOR Alexei Ulyukayev supports this view. Any changes in the Russian tax system at the moment would be ineffective, he said.

For people

At the St. Petersburg forum there were also some interesting news, which are aimed at improving not only political and business relations, but also directly life of Russian society.

Thus, the head of Sberbank German Gref said that mortgage rates in Russia will drop to the end of the year. The Finance Ministry in turn promised to find a way to reduce mortgage rates. “Availability of mortgage depends directly on the demand for housing in Russia. Now the real estate market greatly subsided, if the government will find resources to stimulate the industry, that primarily benefit the government received tax revenues and, second, will be an impetus to small and medium businesses, which works on sub-contracts,” says entrepreneur Alex Petropolskaya.

Also found funds for the state program “Providing affordable and comfortable housing and utility services to Russian citizens” in terms of housing, utilities and procurement for state needs. Sberbank has signed an agreement with the Ministry on the funding of these programs, that the Russians continued to receive affordable and comfortable housing. In the fall of the construction market and the budget deficit is a good compromise.

Docblock government is looking for ways to increase real wages and addressing workload growth of Russian teachers, said Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets. The average monthly salary of school teachers now stands at 32.6 thousand rubles, teachers of preschool institutions – 26.5 thousand rubles.

Pensioners, the authorities promise to find opportunities to raise pensions this year again by 4% and carry out the indexation of pensions in 2017, the level of inflation. “We are preparing the budget for next year, and we are preparing proposals, of course, full indexation, in doindeksatsii this year, as we promised. It is written in the law, we return to the question at the end of the first half,” said Golodets. She promised the fulfillment of all of the may presidential decrees in the social sphere, despite the difficult situation in the economy.

Crimea for the first time in St. Petersburg

For the first time at the St. Petersburg international economic forum there was a stand of the Crimea, where the region presented their investment opportunities. The head of the Crimea Sergey Aksenov in the framework of SPIEF-2016 discussed with the Sheikh of Bahrain Salman bin Ibrahim al Khalifa, the issues of cooperation. Feldman also delivered the first invitations to the Yalta international economic forum – 2017 (AMAP), one of them is the President of the French investment company Thomas Vendome Investment Jean-Pierre Tom.

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