The Fourth Eurasian Forum in Verona was held on 22–23 October 2015. The organizers of the event are: the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum Foundation and the Conoscere Eurasia Association.
The theme of the forum is “Together towards a new political dialogue and innovative approach to economic relations.” The discussions centered around various aspects of cooperation “from Lisbon to Vladivostok,” including issues related to innovative enterprises and startup projects, alternative energy sources, the environment, infrastructure and the agricultural industry. As part of the discussions, the forum participants considered different potential scenarios for interaction in Eurasia as well as geopolitical changes. The speakers noted on multiple occasions that not a single Italian company has abandoned the Russian market and that, despite the current challenges, there are clear prospects for implementing new joint projects and entering a new stage of cooperation between the countries.
“Italy is one of our leading partners on the European continent in the industrial sector. The two countries have established intensive cooperation. Mutual investment amounts to more than USD 3 billion. Despite certain restrictions facing our countries today, there are ample opportunities to expand mutually beneficial and long-term cooperation,” Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov said. The minister called for continuing the dialogue at the INNOPROM industrial exhibition in Yekaterinburg and at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Denis Manturov read out greetings to participants from Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
‘Verona is proud to host the 4th Eurasian Forum,’ said Mayor of Verona Flavio Tosi. ‘Such events are required to establish and consolidate cultural and economic relationships between the countries, which is especially important in today’s sanctions-driven environment. The Forum will become a venue to discuss issues associated with the economic embargo, citing the losses suffered by Italy as a whole and specifically its northeastern regions. We wish to demonstrate that the choice of such a strategy for economic and geopolitical relations between the countries is a mistake.’
Speaking at the forum, Italian Minister of Economic Development Federica Guidi noted: “We have always had privileged relations with Russia. Despite certain problems that persist in a few areas, I believe that we can respond to all the challenges we face by developing cooperation.”
Antonio Fallico, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Banca Intesa and President of the Conoscere Eurasia Association, said: “We know Moscow, but Russia has 85 regions, great opportunities and strong infrastructure. We (Italy) must act boldly as regards developing and expanding our business within the Eurasian Economic Union and in Russia. Today, the atmosphere is most favorable for direct investments, and in the very near future we will discuss the positive changes at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on 16–18 June 2016 and at the next Eurasian Forum in Verona on 20–21 October 2016. At SPIEF, we will have a surprise with the Italian Embassy: we will not only hold a roundtable on Russian-Italian issues, but also organize a festival devoted to the Italian economy and culture.”