"I believe that the request for that [sanctions relief] coming from all the major European companies that want to overcome the sanctions will lead to a new position on the part of some states, including Italy, which will work to overcome the sanctions," Savoini, who is the president of Lombardy-Russia Cultural Association, said.
Savoini stressed that Conte's words were very important. However, the Italian politician was skeptical about the potential actions of the European Parliament, as "the ‘sovereignist’ parties" failed to secure enough seats in May election "to make the European Union change its mind on sanctions."
Speaking about the prospects for normalization of Russia’s relations with the European Union, Putin said that Moscow was ready to do what it could, but not everything depended on Russia. The president noted that the trade between Russia and Europe had fallen by some $150 billion since 2013, and this money was "lost benefits" of the European countries, including Italy.
Conte, in turn, said Russia was an essential economic partner for Italy and offered important opportunities for the Italian market.
On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin paid a one-day visit to Rome and met with Pope Francis, President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. At a joint press-conference with Putin, Conte said the Italian government — formed by Lega and M5S — would work to create conditions for lifting economic sanctions against Russia.
The European Council in late June decided to prolong economic sanctions against Russia — linked to the conflict in Ukraine — until January 31, 2020.
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