On 23 January “The European Union and Russian Regions” conference was held in the European Parliament in Brussels. Special attention was devoted to Crimea: the Republic’s investment potential was presented at the conference, and Sergey Aksyonov, Head of the Republic of Crimea, invited MEPs to the 4th Yalta International Economic Forum (YIEF) to be held on 19–21 April.
“Dear Members of Parliament! I invite you to make a personal visit to Crimea. Come, look, draw your own conclusions. Many of your colleagues have already visited us. We have nothing to hide. I invite you to the 4th Yalta International Economic Forum to be held in April 2018 года. More than 3,000 guests from 60 countries will attend the Forum. We are looking forward to welcoming you in Crimea!” Sergey Aksyonov in his video address shown at the conference.
“Our peninsula has a tremendous potential in natural resources, in opportunities for business development, in cultural heritage,” noted Mr. Aksyonov.
Conference attendees assessed consequences and effectiveness of anti-Russian sanctions and discussed the new format of Russia’s regional economies. Russia’s example demonstrates that sanctions trigger the process of economy’s reformatting and adaptation, make it more active, flexible, and multi-directional. Crimea’s economy is particularly instructive in this respect as it has demonstrated high resistance to sanctions. MEPs Jaromír Kohlíček (the Czech Republic) and André Elissen (the Netherlands) raised those issues.
In addition to MEPs, the conference was attended by deputies of the EU countries’ national parliaments, European businesspersons, politicians and public figures. MEP Jaromír Kohlíček, the event’s organizer, succeeded at bringing together representatives of both the right and the left, which is a very rare occurrence. The conference participants also saw the photo exhibit “Crimea. Innovations” dedicated the latest large-scale infrastructure projects: the Crimea Bridge, Tavrida highway, Krymskaya Volna (Crimean Wave) airport terminal, etc.
“I hope today’s event will help us get a different perspective on the situation and will have a positive impact on Russia-EU rapprochement,” Roberto Ciambetti, President of the Regional Council of Veneto, said in his commentary for the Izvestiya daily.
In his video address to the conference participants, Andrey Nazarov, co-chair of the Organizing Committee of the 4th YIEF, co-chair of the All-Russia Public Organization "Delovaya Rossiya", said that the YIEF 2018 business program would feature more than 50 events.
“There will be individual sessions on crypto currencies and digital economy. On 21 April the Forum will hold a conference on Syria’s post-war revival. I think we should abide by the saying ‘a picture is worth a thousand words,’ so come to YIEF this year,” said Mr. Nazarov as quoted in Izvestiya.
MEPs exhibited great interest in extensive presentations by Russian experts, such as Alexey Vorobiev, Director of the Crimea Congress Foundation, and Alexander Vedrussov, political scientist and YIEF expert. Several of the conference attendees said they were willing to accept the video invitations to the peninsula extended by Sergey Aksyonov and the organizing committee’s co-chair Andrey Nazarov.
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