Member of the Upper House of the Austrian Parliament – the Federal Union of Austria
“I would very much like to improve relations between Russia and European nations. I 'm planning to speak at the Forum - particularly about the issue of the sanctions they have placed on Russia, and the counter-measures which Russia has initiated.
The Austrian economy is suffering as a result of those sanctions. In particular, the Austrian agricultural sector is showing a negative effect. These sanctions are very punitive, and they need to be ended. Austrian citizens have no interest in these sanctions – they were introduced purely for political ends.
I've made a study of the circumstances surrounding the Crimean Independence Referendum which was held in 2014, and now I want to gather more information on site. You can't always believe mass media reports on these issues – they, too, are a part of the political process, and present a distorted picture.
As far as I see things, one of Russia's strongest suits in its economy is tourism. Crimea's beautiful landscapes and wonderful climate are legendary. I'd say that was a key factor for development.
Personally I have not experienced any interference or threats connected to my Crimean visit – but my colleague received a protest from the Ukrainian Ambassador. As a Parliamentarian, these efforts have no real significance.”
MP in the Austrian National Council (the Lower House of the Austrian Parliament):
For me, a valuable aspect of the Forum is the chance to forge new business contacts. I am looking forward with great expectations to meeting outstanding figures from Crimea's business and political circles at the Foru.
The important thing now is that Crimea establishes the right climate for economic and political development. From the outset we have denounced the sanctions which the EU has imposed on Russia. These are foolish measures, and there wasn't the slightest need for them. They destroy opportunities for dialogue, as well as ruining the conditions in which economic development can take place.
The previous decade had been a fruitful period in Russo-Austrian collaboration – but this ongoing development was brought to an untimely halt by these sanctions. My personal opinion is that we must begin by restoring our collaboration to the way things were before. Europe is now beginning to see the benefits of partnership with Russia, and to accept Russia as a serious partner. Austria, as a neutral country, needs to be leading the way in that process.
Romanian MEP in the European Parliament.
My aim in coming to Crimea is to meet the local people and assess the situation on the ground for myself. Even I don't speak at the Forum, I hope to establish contacts which, I hope, will prove beneficial for many citizens of Romania who follow the situation in Crimea.
The Black Sea can and must be a region of friendship and partnership. Thanks to both the proxiity and interaction, Romania and Crimea have enormous potential for collaboration. This is especially so in the fields of agriculture, tourism, services, construction, high-tech industries, and scientific research.
I'm certain that economic collaboration on an intensive level will lead to cooperation between partners, and a softening of the political climate.
According to the information to which I have access, it was a democratic decision taken by Crimean citizens themselves to vote for reunion with Russia. As an objective observer, I don't feel I have the right to ratify the referendum – nor, for that matter, to call its results into question. I feel that this is something in which neither politicians nor political institutions should meddle, even if they have the right to do so. If problems or misunderstandings arise, then these need to be resolved by Russia, Ukraine, and Crimea. Everyone else should restrict their involvement to observations alone.
Italian Senator, member of the 'Northern League' party
The EU sanctions against Russia undermine European interests. They have hit us all directly in the pocket – most especially for nations such as Italy, who have lost out due to reduced exports to Russia. The losses for Italy alone can be set at between €3.6 and €4 billion euros, since the sanctions first kicked-in! And their effort drags on and on until now. My region of Italy – Veneto – is one of the areas of Italy which has been hardest hit by these decisions. We really hope that Rome will find the resolve needed to reconsider its position towards Russia.
We now have a delegation of business leaders here in Crimea which has arrived specially from the Veneto Region. This fact must surely signify that our companies want to cut through this blockade, and restore their standing in the Russian market. Of course, it would have been even better if they could have just operated in stable conditions, without the negativity which the sanctions have provoked. Can you guess how many friends Crimea has in Italy? A huge number! And they are all ready and willing to work with you!”
Italian Senator, member of the Forza Italia party
I fervently hope that my presence here at the Forum will be taken as a signal of improved relations between our two countries, who enjoy long historic connections. I'm intending to find opportunities and collaboration at the Forum, and to bring information about Crimean projects and initiatives to the personal attention of our party's leader, Mr Silvio Berlusconi – and to the Italian Government.
The lesson of history is that sanctions always end badly – both for markets,and economic collaboration, and for socio-political relations between nations. Such sanctions are especially harmful when they are imposed upon on a region that's so close culturally and historically – and there is much that united Russia with Italy. This means it's hopeless to expect these sanctions will achieve their ostensible ends – whereas in fact they lead to a dead end. They should instead have worked through a path of dialogue, negotiations and shared ideas for solutions. I believe that the Italian Government needs a complete rethink on its policies towards Russia, to restore the pre-sanctions relations Italy had with Russia economically, and to expand our export trade with Russia.
Frankly it's my personal opinion that a mass influx of EU business to Crimea might happen earlier than expected. Meantime, we need to establish a business-friendly climate in Crimea for foreign investors, cut red tape, simplify procedures for food imports and exports – and put more tourists on Crimea's beaches and streets.
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The Yalta International Economic Forum (YIEF) is an annual international business event centred on economics, and held in Crimea. YMEF is rated among the Top Four economic forums in Russia – alongside the St Petersburg Economic Forum, the Eastern Economic Forum, and the Russian Investment Forum in Sochi.
The Forum's organisers are the Government of the Crimean Republic, and The Yalta International Economic Forum Foundation, with the support of the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation.
This year's YIEF event, which takes place over 20th, 21st and 22n April, has gathered more than 1500 attendees, including over 150 international participants from over 40 different countries. The most numerous of the foreign delegations attending YIEF this year has been from Italy – with over 50 delegates attending.
The primary venue for the Forum, as in previous years, is the MRIYA RESORT & SPA hotel – while a series of events is also being held at the Livadia Palace, and at other venue locations located along the southern shores of Crimea.
The program for YIEF-2017 features more than 29 business events, 25 themed sessions, a central feature session devoted to developments in Crimea's construction sector, and the keynote discussion at YIEF, the main plenary session – which is divided into three thematic sections – 'World', 'Country', and 'People'. The 'World' section throws the focus onto the economic situation in Russia through the prism of international business. It's envisaged to look at issues of Russia's place in the world economy, Russian experience as a business partner, and a discussion of the opportunities which Russia presents for international investors. During the 'Country' section Forum participants will be focusing on the potential for Russia to develop an innovation-based economy that will meet tomorrow's needs. During the 'People' section social issues and care for the environment will take centre-stage.
On the sidelines of YIEF-2017 it is expected that a slew of Agreements, Contracts, and Memorandums will be signed. According to information from the Ministry of Ecnoomic Development of the Crimean Republic, the sums involved in the expected agreements and memorandums for projects will top 53 billion Russian roubles in committed investment funds.
Crimea's investment potential is highlighted in a special exhibition of investment projects due to run for the entire three days of the Forum. Forum participants will be presenting over 35 projects and sites which are already at the green-light stage for investment, as well as examples of major investment and infrastructure projects which are already up-and-running.
The business program for the closing day of YIEF-2017 offers individual meetings with the Head of the Crimean Republic, Mr Sergey Aksionov, for official delegations, investors, and members of the business community.
The Cultural Program of the Forum will include a performance by the Severny Gorod (Northern City) orchestra, under its director Mr Fabio Pirola; a rally of old-timer vehicles; and excursions to different historic heritage locations along the southern shores of Crimea.
An important element of YIEF-2017 will be sports events for business program participants, which will continue throughout the whole period of the Forum. Under the aegis of YIEF-2017, the IInd Crimean Corporate Games will be held. These include mini-football, basketball, football, chess, checkers, 100m and 800m sprint runs, tug-'o-war, arm-wrestling, kettle-bell, weightlifting, press-ups, and darts. Nearly 400 people are expected to participate.
Last year's YIEF-2016 took place over 14th to 16th April, and attracted over 1100 people – including governmental figures, members of the business community, and economic experts. Among the visitors were more than 70 international participants from 26 different countries. These included business leaders, politicians, and other significant opinion-formers. This was the largest number to date of foreign business visitors to Crimea since the peninsula reunited with Russia.
YIEF-2016 saw the inking of 12 different investment agreements, to a total value of over 70 billion roubles – as well as the development of mechanisms to protect the economic interests of foreign investors interested in investing in Crimea, so that they remain unaffected by the malign effects of western sanctions imposed on Russia. The Forum played host to the signing of contract for building a new terminal for Simferopol International Airport, whose total contract value amounted to 32 billion roubles. This made it the most valuable investment project in the history of the Crimean Republic.
Straregic YIEF-2017 Partner – VAD Corporation. General YIEF-2017 Partners RNKB Bank PAO, Sibavtoban Corporation, and Mirya Resort & Spa hotel complex. Official YIEF-2017 partner – AB ROSSIYA Corporation. Key YIEF-2017 partners include KubanEnergo Public Corporation; Titanovie Investitsiy Corp; Crimean Soda Works Corp; Morskaya Direktsiya Corp; Parangon State Corp; Crimean Fruits Company.
A huge raft of different companies have stepped forward as partners of Forum Sessions.
The work YIEF-2017 is reported and broadcast by over 250 different Russian and international media organisations.
The YIEF-2017 Strategic Information Partner is TASS. YIEF-2017 General Information Partners are the Russia Today, Rossiya Segodnya, Perviy Krymsky and Krym-24 TV channels; Radio Krym; MIA Rossiya Segodnya. and Komsomolskaya Pravda. General Internet Information Partners are: RNS, Lenta.ru, and Gazeta.ru.
Special Information Partners of the Forum's proceedings are Vedomosti, RBK television channel, and RIA Novosti Krym.
The official radio station for the Forum is Radio Sputnik Krym, Official Information Partners are PRIME and Rossiya Segodnya.
Additional information partners of the Forum include Rossiyskaya Gazeta; Delovoy Krym magazine; Interfax-Yug information agency; Strana television channel; Izvestia; NIA-Federatsiya; Krymskaya Gazeta; Krymskoe Informatsionnoye Agenstsvo (KIA); Kryminform corporation' Krymsky Journal; and Ekonomika i Zhizn'.