The visit of the delegation of Italian politicians and business people may help lift cooperation to a higher level. Contracts between wine-making companies may be signed as a result of the visit, said Andrei Nazarov. Chairman of the Board of Yalta International Economic Forum (YIEF) Foundation and Co-Chairman of the All-Russia Public Organization Delovaya Rossiya.
The YIEF and the Government of the Republic of Crimea are the organizers of the trip from the Russian side.
“The aim of the visit by such a high-powered delegation is to hold negotiations with the Parliament and Council of Ministers of the Republic of Crimea, with the top officials of Sevastopol and the business community, to build up bilateral relations and sign contracts. Italian businessmen already have some investment projects underway in Crimea without publicising the fact. Now they are planning to do this work officially and on a larger scale. That is why the delegation includes representatives of the wine-making and agricultural sectors and water purification and desalinisation companies. We hope that along with political agreements between the city parliaments, contracts between wine-makers will be signed. This will help to overcome the attempts to impose an economic, political and information blockade on Crimea,” Mr. Nazarov told a briefing in Simferopol in which members of the Italian delegation took part.
The Chairman of the Board of YIEF Foundation said the attempts of Ukrainian diplomatic structures to disrupt the visit had failed. “Kiev’s pressure failed to yield the desired effect, the delegation is here in full body,” said Andrei Nazarov. The Speaker of Regional Council of Veneto Roberto Ciambetti said that the European Union’s anti-Russian sanctions were an unproductive and untimely method of bringing political pressure to bear.
“We believe that sanctions are an 18th century method, and we live in the present time. Ordinary people are hardest hit by the sanctions. We want our visit to create conditions for Italian enterprises to be able to function in Crimea. Our visit is not directed against anyone, our aim is to establish a dialogue,” said Mr. Ciambetti.
On the reunification of Crimea with Russia the President of the Regional Council of Veneto had this to say: “We think every people has the right to self-determination.” His fellow member of the Regional Council of Veneto Stefano Valdegamberi was more outspoken. “We are convinced that the people of Crimea have the right to self-determination and we do not understand the position of the European Union which tries to prevent it.”
The delegation members recognise the results of the Crimean referendum on joining Russia, said Marina Buffoni, a member of the Padua city executive council in charge of international and inter-regional relations.
“We absolutely support the Crimea referendum, we have seen how peacefully the vote took place. The EU must recognise the results of this referendum,” Ms Buffoni said.
She said she was planning to sign a twinning agreement between Padua and Simferopol. “These two cities are close culturally and historically, and I hope our economic relations too will start developing,” Marina Buffoni noted.
“We did not hesitate in deciding to come here, “Mr. Valdegamberi stressed. “Our visit is a protest against what we consider to be a misguided policy of the European Union. We think the peoples of Europe, including Italians, disagree with this policy.”
Stefano Valdegamberi said that the Italian economy has lost 4 billion euros due to the European Union’s sanctions against Russia and Russia’s counter measures.
“Our businessmen put the total damage from the sanctions at 4 billion euros. I mean not only direct losses due to a fall in exports, but also the fall of prices for Italian goods in Italy. The countries which used to supply goods to Russia now have to sell them on other markets, including inside Italy, which is pushing prices down,” the deputy of the Regional Council of Veneto explained.
He said that most of the delegates represented Italy’s economically developed northern regions where the economic effects of mutual sanctions were felt most of all. “Present here are representatives of the regions which had stable relations with Russia, and these relations have been damaged. The regions represented here account for two-thirds of Italy’s GDP. It was only natural that we heard the voices of our entrepreneurs who come out against sanctions,” Mr. Valdegamberi said.
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The delegation of Italian politicians and entrepreneurs came to Crimea to promote cooperation in the economic, cultural and other fields. The visit’s programme includes meetings with the top officials of the Republic of Crimea and Sebastopol, the signing of agreements, business talks, acquaintance with the work of enterprises and the ongoing business projects in Crimea and the business climate in the region. The 19-strong delegation is the largest group of politicians and business people from a European Union state to visit the Crimean Peninsula after its reunification with Russia.
The trip was organised by the Yalta International Economic Forum Foundation jointly with the Government of the Republic of Crimea.
The Yalta International Economic Forum (YIEF) is an annual business event held in the Crimean Federal District. The YIEF 2016 Organizing Committee is chaired by the head of the Republic of Crimea and the Co-chairman of the All-Russia Public Organization Delovaya Rossiya, Andrei Nazarov. The organisers of the Forum are the Government of the Republic of Crimea, the Yalta International Economic Forum Fund with the support of the Russian President’s Administration.
YIEF 2016, which was held on 14–16 April 2016, was attended by more than 1,100 government officials, business people and economics experts, including 70 participants from 26 countries – politicians, business people and other opinion leaders. It is the largest foreign group to come to Crimea on a business visit since the reunification of Crimea with Russia.
During the second YIEF twelve investments agreements were signed to the tune of RUB 70 billion and a mechanism was devised to protect foreign investors wishing to work in Crimea against the negative impact of Western sanctions. During the Forum a RUB 32 billion agreement was signed on the building of a new terminal at Simferopol Airport, the largest investment project in the new history of the Republic of Crimea.