06:02 GMT +320 October 2017
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    Beyond Sanctions: Italy's Economy Starves Without Russian Business

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    Despite EU sanctions against Moscow, trade turnover between Russia and Italy remains high; Italian businesses are actively investing in Russia, President Putin said on Wednesday after his meeting with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni. Italian journalist Gennaro Sangiuliano explained to Sputnik why Italy needs Russia.

    Italy is one of the countries with which Russia has a major trade turnover despite EU sanctions against Moscow. Italian businesses are actively investing in Russia, President Putin stated on Wednesday after his meeting with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

    Meanwhile, the Italian Prime Minister said that Italian companies have always had faith in the Russian market, adding that the trade ties between the states are improving.

    Sputnik Italia sat down with Gennaro Sangiuliano, an Italian journalist and writer, who is deputy director of the country's most-watched news program, TG1, on the country's state TV channel RAI. He explained why his home country needs Russia.

    "Italy and Russia have very close cultural and historical ties. Italy is very interested in its relationship with Russia in the geopolitical arena, given the deepest economic crisis it has been in for a decade already," he told Sputnik.

    "Italy is dependent on Russian gas and wants to get back to the Russian market. Rome hopes that it might play a decisive role in restoring ties between Russia and the EU. After the strengthening of the France-Germany axis, Rome does not have enough weight in the EU because it does not have a serious leader. This has led to a misperception of Italy in the international arena," the journalist said.

    By reuniting Russia with the EU, Italy could have restored its weight in the international geopolitical arena, he further elaborated. Much now depends on Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, who unlike previous Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, is able to make an agreement with conflicting parties, including President Putin.

    Putin and Gentiloni have already met twice, he said, and it could be a positive sign.

    Italy, he said, wanted to invite Russia to the G7 Summit and is now going to voice Russia's point of view at the upcoming 43rd G7 summit in Taormina, Sicily, which is set to be held on May 26–27.

    Italy is in need of Russia's help in the solution of the Libyan crisis, he added. The situation in Libya has deteriorated due to the policies of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The country has been virtually left to sink, he said. This has resulted in an uncontrolled stream of refugees into Italy and Rome is interested in stabilizing Libya. Russia, Sangiuliano said, is the only country which can influence Khalifa Haftar, the head of the Libyan National Army.

    "Italy needs access to the Russian market, while Russia needs Italy's high technology for the development of its economy. So both countries are interested in the economic ties between them," he told Sputnik.

    The journalist pointed out that ordinary Italians are not interested in the Ukrainian crisis, which was the major reason behind the sanctions imposed on Moscow, and thus they do not understand why these sanctions were introduced. On the other hand, he says, the Italians see and appreciate Russia's contribution to the fight against terrorism.

    Regardless of the sanctions and deteriorating political situation in the world, Russia and Italy continue to develop their bilateral relations. Putin has had good relationships with all the Italian leaders during his time in office, and Silvio Berlusconi in particular. He seems to be on good terms with Paolo Gentiloni. We will see in the nearest future whether they are able to set up a steady diplomatic partnership between their countries, the journalist concluded.

    Tags:
    bilateral contacts, assistance, bilateral ties, cooperation, European Union, Gennaro Sangiuliano, Paolo Gentiloni, Vladimir Putin, Italy, Russia
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