"We hope that the EBRD can resume financing [businesses] in Russia in order to support the Russian production sector and civil society. But at the same time, we are within the European Union. This kind of decisions can be worked out through dialogue and should be agreed within the European Union," Conte said Thursday at a press conference following the meeting of EU leaders in Brussels.
Italy believes that sanctions are not the ultimate goal, but an instrument, he stressed.
"They have logic as an instrument, not as a result. We are in favor of dialogue with Russia. I will come to Moscow on October 24, and on this occasion we will discuss all economic and trade relations with Russia. In particular, we set ourselves the task of ensuring that small and medium-size businesses in Russia do not suffer [from sanctions]," he added.
In July 2014, EBRD shareholders decided to freeze investment in new projects in Russia over the aggravation of geopolitical situation as well as US and European sanctions imposed on Russia over Crimea's rejoining the country and Moscow's alleged involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Russia considers the decision as wrong and harmful to the bank itself.