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Biggest ever EU-Russia Industrialists’ Round Table

Biggest ever EU-Russia Industrialists’ Round Table gives practical advice to political leaders on how to create the “Common Economic Space” with Russia

On 3 October, on the eve of the EU’s Summit with Russia, the EU-Russia Industrialists’ Round Table (IRT) met in London to discuss how business can contribute to the creation of the planned Common Economic Space between the EU and Russia. The largest ever meeting of the Round Table adopted joint conclusions, which were presented to the Summit, advising on priority actions which should be taken in the fields of energy, telecommunications, information technologies and space, transport, forestry, construction and financial services.

Vice President of the European Commission, Günter Verheugen, expressed his support for the IRT’s work and praised its continuing efforts to promote closer economic ties with Russia and to eliminate barriers to trade and investment.

Mr Verheugen presented two initiatives which form key elements of the roadmap to create a Common Economic Space: first, a regulatory dialogue to promote the harmonisation of technical regulations on industrial products; and second, a more strategic dialogue on industrial and enterprise policy.

‘We cannot create the Common Economic Space without the support and help of business’ Vice President Verheugen said. ‘In order to attain the ambitious goals set out in the Common Economic Roadmap, we have to move into a phase of implementation. This means setting up practical mechanisms for dialogue at government level that involve industry and lead to concrete results. We are very close to agreeing such a mechanism for a regulatory dialogue with Russia on industrial goods regulations and standards..’

The EU-Russia Industrialists’ Round Table (IRT) is a business-driven process, originally endorsed by the EU-Russia Summit in July 1997. Its main objective is to provide a permanent forum for business people to present joint recommendations to the European Commission and the Russian government with regard to business and investment conditions and promotion of industrial co-operation. It has been recognised as the main forum for providing business advice on implementing the roadmap on the Common Economic Space, which was adopted at the EU-Russia Summit in Moscow on 10 May 2005. The aim is not just to talk but to work towards regulatory convergence. A second dialogue is planned on enterprise and industrial policy which aims to improve the administrative, regulatory and investment environment for companies operating in Russia. The contributions in terms of support and advice that are provided by both EU and Russian industry will be vital to the success of the projects.

Mr Jukka Härmälä, CEO of Stora Enso, is the EU Co-Chairman of the IRT, while Mr. Anatoly Chubais, CEO of RAO-UES (Unified Energy Systems of Russia), is the IRT Russian Co-Chairman.

The 7th EU-Russia Industrialists’ Round Table took place on 3 October 2005 in London.

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