Russian and German Businesses Pursue Closer Ties Despite Political Machinations

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A Russian-German Raw Materials Forum has opened in St Petersburg. This platform, that brought together for the 10th time not only experts from Russia and FRG but the entire EU, has already proved to be a success.Now, the topic under discussion is expanding the energy partnership.

My colleague Evgeny Davydov is following the discussions.


A delegation from Germany, headed by Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, has arrived in St Petersburg to come to an agreement. They have no alternative, as nobody can provide them with resources but Russia. Specifically, they are interested in projects for the supply of Russian gas. Nord Stream 2 in particular, the construction of which is hampered by a number of EU countries and Brussels. The German representatives consider this project to be purely economic and insist on its implementation.

Sigmar Gabriel: "We know that it is very important to solve the problems related to Ukraine. Hostilities need to be stopped, the Minsk agreements are to be respected to stop the sanctions policy. It's the stance of the German government".

Germany, which has nothing other than brown coal, is planning to become the main gas hub in Europe, so, it's quite understandable why it's turning to Russia. Arkady Dvorkovich says that it is quite acceptable for our country. Russian gas plus German technology mean mutual benefit.

Arkady Dvorkovich, Deputy PM: "We discussed new fields for cooperation like research & development conducted by our leading scientific and educational centers, with universities like the National Mineral Resources University, Freiburg International Academy, etc in various fields like modern technologies to extract and process raw materials, Earth studies and monitoring, climate change studies and monitoring".

Not only business cooperation is discussed on the sidelines, but also joint research projects, innovations in oil production and generally in the raw materials sector. It's primarily about modern technologies. With unstable commodity prices, innovations are needed to reduce costs, improve the exploration and extraction of natural resources. Russian and German businesses intend to collaborate in this field.

Vladimir Litvinenko, chancellor of the Saint Petersburg Mining University: "We are to focus on primary resources more than ever before, despite the decline in the Russian-European and Russian-US relations".

Germany follows China in the list of Russia's largest partners in the industry. Chinese suppliers are very active, and German businesses understand that they need to establish contacts before it’s too late.

The main message of the forum is openness and trust between the two countries. Russia and Germany are only getting closer on many energy issues. When compared to economic interests, political issues fade into the background.

Evgeny Davydov, Alexei Sosyrin, Alexander Burushkov for Vesti from St. Petersburg.