AEB’s 20th Anniversary

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The Association of European Businesses in Moscow marked their 20th anniversary with a night to remember at the Congress Park, Hotel Radisson Royal Moscow in late September. The ‘formal’ part consisted of speeches from VIPs not only from Russia, but from Europe as a whole. A few excerpts from their speeches can be found below. This part of the evening was interspersed with musical accompaniment form the Novaya Opera string quartet, with soloists Anna Sinitsyna (mezzo-soprano), Alexander Skjvarko (tenor) and Vitaly Efanov (bass). Guests stood up to sing a moving rendition of the Russian Anthem, followed by the Anthem of Europe, which some guests did not know whether to remain standing for or not. The host of the evening, AEB Chief Executive Officer Frank Schauff then directed guests into a second cavernous hall in the Congress Park where the music, dancing and wine drinking continued until late. This extended networking session was important as it gave guests the chance to mingle with ambassadors and representatives of political and business circles from all of Russia and the EU. In the prevailing political climate, this was an unusual gathering. Not everybody agreed with the overall optimistic sentiments expressed in the speeches, however there did seem to be a consensus that things were at least a little better than they were 6 months ago. The size and quality of the event overall was impressive.

Philippe Pegorier, Chairman of the AEB Board

…“We should not underestimate the importance of the EU for Russia. The EU accounts for up to 75% of FDI into Russia.”

…”We ask for politics to be excluded from policy making.”

Stanislav Voskresensky, Deputy Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation

…”We do not intend for Russia to exist in a state of isolation. Catherine the Great said that even in such a huge country, you nevertheless feel yourself to be part of Europe.”

Victor Khristenko, Chairman of the Eurasian Economic Commission Collegium

…”Only one kind of ship is built to weather very serious storms. That ship is called business.”

…”EU – Russia relations are at a very difficult stage, but at least there is a dialogue taking place about sharing of risks.”

…”We are all neighbours, and eventually cooperation will be restored.”

…”We welcome discussion between the EU and Eurasian companies and structures.”

H.E. Vygaudas UÅ¡ackas, Ambassador, head of the Delegation of the European Union to Russia

…”Nobody is feeling the crisis as much as you. We are all in the danger of falling into the trap of this becoming a long-term situation. We actually want to work with Russia towards solving the economic crisis in Ukraine.”

…”The new EU energy policy creates a lot of opportunities for the involvement of Russian energy suppliers. Dialogue remains essential in dire times. Isolation is not an option.”

Alexander Shokhin, President of the Russian Union of Entrepreneurs and Industrialists

…”A free trade zone between Russia and the EU is absolutely possible, and I think that it is realisable within the next few years.”

…”We think that next year will be difficult economically, but that growth will kick in [in Russian] again in 2017.”

Günter Verheugen, Vice President of the European Commission (2004-2010)

…”Does Russia want to be part of Europe? This is a strange question. Russia has never been a more European country than now. Whether we like it or not, we share a common future. Without each other’s help, western Europe will never be whole.”

…”We should listen more and lecture less.”

…”An investment decision is always a political statement, because it symbolises trust in the country you are investing in. Keeping your investments is also a political statement. My advice is to continue to make an economic contribution to Russia.”

 

Moscow Networking at its best!