20:16 GMT +311 December 2019
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    Matteo Renzi

    EU Should Not Return to Cold War Confrontation With Russia - Italian PM

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    Western Sanctions Against Russia (737)
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    Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi believes that the relations between the European Union and Russia should not return to the Cold War confrontation.

    "On the one hand, it is obvious that Russia should respect Ukraine and its territorial integrity. On the other hand, Europe should not return to confrontation similar to that during the Cold War in relations with its major neighbor," the Italian prime minister said at the Milan stock exchange.

    The EU should focus on developing a strategy for relations with Russia for the medium and long term instead of thinking about the present day problems, including sanctions, Renzi said. 

    "Regardless of the sanctions, the question of what kind of Europe we want to build, [as well as] how we intend to build our relations with Russia in terms of a strategy, for example, on [the fight against] terrorism and on dealing with a severe economic crisis in countries tied to Russia, such as Ukraine, should be the main issue of our discussions."

    Matteo Renzi noted that despite the fact that the EU policy of sanctions against Russia had damaged the Italian economy, its size was rather exaggerated.

    "Our turnover with Russia is about 25 billion [dollars]: we buy on 16 billion and sell on 9 billion. The sanctions have affected not the most substantial part of our turnover, but they [anti-Russian sanctions] have put some industrial segments in jeopardy, for example those related to shoemaking, [and also] had an impact on a number of existing agreements," the Italian prime minister said.

    Renzi added that the sanctions against Russia had affected about 160 million out of 9 billion Italian exports.

    Topic:
    Western Sanctions Against Russia (737)

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    European Union, anti-Russian sanctions, Matteo Renzi, Europe, Italy, Russia
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