"[Italian business people] are putting pressure on the European community, even on Italian Prime Minister [Matteo] Renzi to remove all barriers between Europe and Russia, as they have a strong impact not only on the fashion industry, but also on companies engaged in the supply of food and the production of furniture," Claudio Marenzi told RIA Novosti.
Relations between Russia and the member states of the European Union deteriorated significantly in 2014 due to the conflict in eastern Ukraine. The West blamed Moscow for fueling violence and subsequently introduced several rounds of anti-Russia sanctions to exert pressure on the Kremlin. Moscow has firmly denied the allegations.
Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni has repeatedly stated that the sanctions are having a negative impact on his country's economy.