10:02 GMT25 February 2020
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    BERLIN (Sputnik) - The German business community speaks in favor of improving relations and building cooperation with Russia, the German Eastern Business Association (OAOEV) chief Oliver Hermes said.

    "It’s clear that Russia has long remained our largest neighbor in the east. The common economic space from Lisbon to Vladivostok would be a good basis for sovereign Europe in the long run," Hermes said, adding that "Russia should again become part of the solution," given the United States' and China's growing role in the remaking of world markets.

    According to the German entrepreneur, the latest Normandy Four summit on the Ukrainian crisis settlement, which took place in Paris last month with the participation of Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine, was the first important step that could lead to positive changes in the EU’s policy on Russia.

    Hermes also stated the need for energy cooperation in light of the US adoption of the 2020 defense budget that envisioned sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 and Turk Stream pipelines.

    "Without Russian gas, our ambitious climate goals in Germany and the green deal in Europe cannot be realized in the short and medium-term," Hermes said, adding that Europe should find a "viable answer" to the US extraterritorial sanctions against the Nord Stream -2.

    Nord Stream 2 is a joint venture of Gazprom and five European companies, including France's ENGIE, Austria's OMV, the UK-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, and Germany's Uniper and Wintershall. The 745-mile-long twin pipeline will carry Russian gas directly to Germany through the territorial waters or exclusive economic zones of Denmark, Finland, Germany, Russia and Sweden.

    Relations between Russia and the West deteriorated in the wake of the conflict in eastern Ukraine and the successful referendum on Crimea's reunification with Russia. The European Union, among other Western entities and countries, has accused the Kremlin of interfering in Ukrainian internal affairs and introduced sanctions against Russia. Moscow, which has denied the meddling claims, retaliated by switching over to an import phase-out and imposing counter-sanctions.


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