Russia and Germany Developing Relations: from Business Dialogue to Stronger Cultural and Humanitarian Ties
Advisor to the Russian President Anton Kobyakov and German Bundestag Member and Coordinator for Intersocietal Cooperation with Russia, Central Asia and Eastern Partnership Countries Dirk Wiese held a meeting in Moscow with a focus on strengthening trade and economic relations as well as cooperation and exchange of best practices in the humanitarian sphere.
Energy supply is one of the major issues in bilateral collaboration between the two countries. Germany supports the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 project given its ever-increasing demand for natural gas. The Petersburg Dialogue Russian-German Public Forum plays a key role in the exchange of experience between civil societies. In addition, Germany actively supports the cultural project for Russian-German bilateral years under the motto ‘Building the Future Together’ as well as bilateral years for the languages and literature of the two countries. In 2017–2018, they implemented a major joint project – the Russian-German bilateral year of regional municipal partnerships. At present, work is underway to conduct the Russian-German year of scientific and educational partnerships. The international festival ‘Hanseatic Days of New Time’ will take place in Pskov this year, while next year the German city of Brilon will host the festival.
“Today we are seeing a steady drive for developing cooperation among business representatives of our countries. In 2018, Russian-German trade grew by 19.3% compared with 2017 and to USD 59.6 billion. At the same time, Russian exports to Germany increased by 32.5% to USD 34.1 billion, while imports grew by 5.3% to USD 25.5 billion. The two countries are actively developing a dialogue through the organization of business events. Together with regional partners, we organize the annual Russia-Germany Business Dialogue as part of the SPIEF business programme in addition to business events in Germany. There is an active dialogue in terms of civil society and culture”, Kobyakov said.
During the meeting, the officials discussed the traditional participation in the SPIEF of a delegation of German business representatives, which is always one of the largest. This year the delegation will be headed by German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier. A total of 181 representatives from Germany have confirmed they will be participating in the Forum as of today.
Wiese noted that the dialogue between the two countries has picked up: “At present, Russia and Germany have resumed several foreign policy dialogue formats. The High-Level Working Group on Strategic Economic and Financial Cooperation and the High-Level Working Group on Security Policy play an important role. The Petersburg Dialogue Russian-German Public Forum plays a key role in the segment of direct interaction between civil societies. We also welcome the proposal of the German Eastern Business Association, which early this year proposed possible ways of developing our economy, one of which was the integration of the EU and the Eurasian Economic Space as well as the development of the ‘Lisbon to Vladivostok’ format”.