When asked what effect the Russian retaliatory sanctions had on the French agriculture sector, Le Maire said in an interview with the Vedomosti newspaper that "they did affect it as we had active cooperation with Russia in the area of agriculture."
"I hope that in the near future we will be able to restore this work and lift a part of the sanctions on French food products," the French minister said.
At the same time, Le Maire stressed that France was fully committed to the decisions taken at the European level.
"France is one of the key EU countries, and we do not even put this decision into question. There are no possibilities to circumvent this political mechanism. But in the framework of this mechanism there is a space for maneuver, which we want to use for the economic cooperation," the minister noted.
When asked to provide a specific example of how this could work, Le Maire pointed out that "in the past, Russia already lifted some of the restrictions on our products, for example a restriction on potatoes, imposed in 2013, and this had a positive effect."
In 2014, Moscow introduced food embargo against Western countries, which had targeted it with economic and diplomatic sanctions over Russia's alleged interference in the Ukrainian conflict and Crimea's reunification with Russia following a referendum. Moscow has repeatedly denied the accusations.