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Wednesday, 1 June 2016

EU Commission President Goes to Russia: Major Diplomatic Breakthrough

Peter Korzun

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has agreed to attend an event in Russia in June, a Commission spokeswoman announced on May 30, in a move that may stir debate on the EU's fraught relations with Moscow. «President Juncker has been invited and plans to participate in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on 16 June», the spokeswoman stated. «He will use this opportunity to convey to the Russian leadership as well as to a wider audience the EU's perspective regarding the current state of EU-Russia relations», she added.

The annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum will be held on June 16-18. This year’s topic is «Capitalizing on the New Global Economic Reality». The annual event brings together politicians, business leaders and think tankers. This time Hungary’s Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, Greece’s Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura, former French Foreign Minister Hubert VĂ©drine and Europe’s former Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson are on the guest list. Major US investors will take part in the forum.

«Business will do what it sees as necessary. What is not forbidden is allowed. According to our information, the leading investors will attend the Russian forum. American companies will be among them. The policy of ignoring the forum has failed. Interested companies, in any case, will attend and no one will hinder them», said Russian Embassy in Washington spokesman Grigory Zasypkin.

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