On 17-19 June 2013 Vice President Antonio Tajani has travelled to Russia accompanied by a strong business delegation composed of 120 representatives of companies and industry associations from 23 Member States. Collectively they represented approximately 2.5 million employees and 718 billion in turnover, more than the GDP of both Poland and Romania. This visit was part of the "Missions for Growth" to help European enterprises, in particular small and medium sized enterprises, to better profit from fast growing emerging international markets. The visit has reinforced partnerships to help industry and SMEs to fully exploit the commercial relations potential between Russia and the EU. This specific Mission is characterised by a significant growth in the geographical spread of the business delegation and by the fact that 65 small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are on the delegation, a group twice as large as the group of big companies. European and national business associations make up around 20% of the delegation.
Vice-President Antonio Tajani and the Minister of Industry have further enhanced current bilateral dialogues on industrial and enterprise policy, customs issues, IPR, the relationship between Russia and the Eurasian Union, predictability of RU business climate, standards, technical regulations work permit regulations for EU staff in Russia, and perspectives for certain industrial EU sectors in the RU market. They have confirmed their strong interest to deepen co-operation on SME and business environment issues, which is a rising issue on Russia's policy agenda. Co-operation between Tajani and Manturov focuses on broadening the group of industrial sectors covered by the dialogues and on developing joint initiatives to fight counterfeiting.
Following the meetings with Minister Manturov in Moscow, on 17 June, the Vice President has met the Russian culture Minister Medinsky to sign a Letter of Intent which launches a new dialogue on tourism policy . This is an important new area of co-operation started at the initiative of Vice President Tajani, where both sides will stand to gain from efforts to enhance tourist flows, as well as from the co-operation of experts and associations in areas including the development of quality tourism services, tourism statistics, as well as education and training in tourism. The co-operation will boost people-to-people contacts between the European Union and the Russian Federation.
Exchange of signatures between Vladimir Medinsky, on the left, and Antonio Tajani
On the 18 June 2013, in the prestigious venue of the Hermitage Theatre, together with the Russian Deputy Minister for Culture, Ms. Alla Manilova, VP Tajani opened a workshop focusing on "Tourism and High-Ebd Industries as an engine for growth". There has been a special policy seminar to address the issue of luxury industry as a driving factor in boosting tourism exchanges with Russia, given the strong interest of tourists from non-EU countries in the "brands" tradition and good reputation of the European high-end industry.
The Mission's overall objective was the enhancement of the growth and competitiveness of European industry by better exploiting growth potential in non-EU countries - in this case the growing economy of Russia - the reinforcement of economic co-operation and reforms, to help EU companies to access the Russian market, as well as the deepening of bilateral policy co-operation in various policy fields.
Vice President Tajani, accompanied by numerous European and national industry associations, and companies, has also used the Mission to address regulatory challenges in the Russian market. He has articulated EU best practices in improving the business environment, in particular for SME's, an issue which is climbing on the Russian policy agenda.
Antonio Tajani in Saint Petersburg held a press conference at the State Hermitage Museum.
General view of the public attending the press conference given by Alla Manilova, in the centre, and Antonio Tajani, on the left, in the State Hermitage Museum
Joint statement between the Vice-President of the European Commission A. Tajani and the Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation V.R. Medinsky on cooperation in the field of tourism.
Memo: Enhancing business ties with Russia through regulatory, business and tourism cooperation