World Economy

Europe Planning New Investments in Russia

Maxim OreshkinMaxim Oreshkin

European businesses are demonstrating increased interest to new investment projects in Russia as its economy is reviving after the crisis, Russian Minister of Economic Development Maxim Oreshkin said.

“I can say that we did it,” he said in an interview with the NTV television channel when asked whether Russia is through with the crisis. “The latest statistics—for the second quarter—demonstrate a 2.5% growth. We haven’t seen such growth since, I think, 2012. We see that investment activities, a major factor of future growth, are reviving,” Tass reported.

“We did have economic difficulties as some companies were not that active over that period but as long as the economy is reviving, European businesses are looking at new investment plans, making new investments,” he said, adding that, for instance, France’s cumulative investment in Russia has reached €18 billion ($21.45 billion).

The minister admitted however that the United States’ new anti-Russian sanctions are threatening joint projects of Russia and Europe. “Tension is felt. Not between us and Europe but between Europe and the United States,” Oreshkin noted. “The Americans are not that active on the Russian market and everything they are doing is a threat to the projects the Europeans are implementing jointly with Russian companies on the global arena or on the Russian market.”

In late July, the US Congress passed a bill tightening unilateral sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea. The document, dubbed ‘Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act’, enshrines restrictions introduced by the previous US administration and deprives the US president of the right to ease the restrictions without congressional approval.

US President Donald Trump signed this bill into law in early August but said that a number of its provisions violated the country’s constitution and accused US lawmakers of doing harm to the US-Russian relations.

In a recent interview with AP, Russia’s economy minister said that his country is no longer suffering from US and EU sanctions, and sees better prospects for future trade in Asia instead.

Oreshkin said that the Russian economy is on track to grow at least 2% this year—a first after 2014, when the economy sank into recession driven by sinking oil prices and sanctions over the Kremlin’s actions in Ukraine.

Oreshkin slammed new US sanctions imposed last month as “interfering” with European trade, but shrugged off the economic impact of the measures, saying that Russia’s trade with the US remains “much much smaller” than with European and Asian partners.

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