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SPIEF 2016 May Signal End of Economic Sanctions

Jean-Claude Juncker
Jean-Claude Juncker is in St. Petersburg, some say to mend EU-Russia fences

The French Senate has voted in a majority on the easing of the sanctions on Russia, calling for the loosening of against Russia, according to a report from Sputnik.

Citing officials, the fact the French agricultural and food export industry has been heavily burdened weighed on easing of the sanctions. "Europeans feel damaged and fear that they are losing market share in Russia", according to French scholar and defense analyst Cyrille Bret, and the fact "Russian producers are benefiting from this embargo" bears particular scrutiny, as dairy products and cheese are super important for French exporters.

The analyst went on to describe how western sanctions have had little or no effect on Russia policy, and that Russia's economic prowess has even grown as a result. Many Europeans feel as if their homelands have been nothing more than a grand chess board for the United States and Russia over the past seven decades, and many analysts, politicians, political scientists, would agree, that the Foreign policy of the United States, as well as its domestic policy, has changed the world’s view of the United States negatively.

By the end of June, the European Union Council will review whether or not to continue the sanctions placed upon Russia, the sanctions having already been in effect for 2 years because of the allegation that Russia was “involved” in the Ukraine conflict.

President Putin meets with Nicolas Sarkozy in St. Petersburg (Kremlin)

Meanwhile, TASS has reporrted former French President Nicolas Sarkozy (above) says he is in favor of stage-by-stage lifting of European sanctions against Russia. The former French leader told French press on Wednesday: 

"We don’t need one more cold war. I can’t approve the construction of a political wall dividing Russia and the European continent after the fall of the iron curtain. We need positive shifts in Russian-European relations. These could be gradual and reciprocal lifting of sanctions, reciprocal steps by both sides."

The theme of the SPIEF 2016 summit is one of "Capitalizing on the New Global Economic Reality." The main topics of discussion will be; Stimulating Demand, Seeking Growth; Realizing the Economic Potential of Russia; New Geo-Economic Dynamics; Navigating Revolutions in Technology and The Human Dimension.

Finally, the fact the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker , along with dozens of other European and American CEOs are in attendance at the economic forum in St Petersburg shows that the Western blockade of Russia is dissolving. Renzi is significant for many reasons, as he delivers than 20 top Italian executives, with Italian energy firms ENI and Saipem to sign new deals with Russia’s Rosneft and Novatek at the forum. Earlier in the week Renzi said that Italian-Russian relations are reaching “a new level” and that Europe needs Putin’s help to fight terrorism. As for Juncker, his spokesman said he is going as a “bridge-builder” in between west and east. 

Even despite a US boycott of the summit, Anglo-Dutch energy company Shell, like the Italian firms, will arrtive to sign a new gas deal with Russia’s Gazprom. Other European firms sending their top people to the St Petersburg event include Glencore, JCDecaux, the Metro Group, Siemens, Schneider Electric, Societe Generale and Total.