Tenth session of Russian–Greek Commission on Economic, Industrial, Scientific, and Technical Cooperation held in Athens
On November 4, 2016, the tenth session of the Joint Russian–Greek Commission on Economic, Industrial, Scientific, and Technical Cooperation took place in Athens. The session was led, on the Russian side, by Minister of Transport Maxim Sokolov and, on the Greek side, by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dimitris Mardas. Representatives from Russian and Greek government and transport organizations took part in the session.
Maxim Sokolov emphasized that 2016 has been a year of exchange between the two countries. A large number of events took place, and many documents were signed. “Many of our citizens participated in events held as part of the ‘cross-cultural year’. Our nations have a long tradition of friendship and partnership”, he noted. According to Mr. Sokolov, 2016 has been productive in terms of cooperation between the countries in a number of economic sectors, including energy, transport, agriculture, tourism, inter-regional collaboration, and collaboration between the countries’ business communities. The need to realize the potential for cooperation in high-tech industries, in the SME sector, and in conducting joint research was highlighted.
The Russian Minister believes that collaboration in the field of transport is proceeding in a number of areas, with dialogue on all types of transport under way. Opportunities are being developed for Russian specialists to participate along with Greek partners in projects to build and modernize Greece’s railways. “We would be glad to see interest from Greek partners in getting involved in Russian transport infrastructure development projects”, he stated. Regular contact is supported through the road transport commission and between the two countries’ aviation authorities.
“I am certain that active bilateral work on all fronts will allow us to accelerate the trend towards a trajectory of growth in mutual trade. All the prerequisites for this are in place. The work of our intergovernmental commission will bring new momentum to the future development of partnerships between Russia and Greece in areas of mutual interest”, concluded the Russian Transport Minister.
The parties discussed progress against the mandates issued following the Commission’s previous session.
A representative from the Ministry of Economic Development noted that the Russian economy, which is currently facing difficult conditions, has demonstrated stable figures. Foreign investors view Russia as a promising option for collaboration.
In the road transport sector, total cargo shipments between the two countries during the first half of the year were noted. Russian freight carriers increased the amount of cargo transported compared with the previous year, and expanded their share of the market. The permit quota for bilateral and transit cargo traffic was discussed, as was the permit quota for shipments to/from third countries. In 2017, the quota will be held at the 2016 level.
On the issue of rail transport, the delegations emphasized the twofold growth experienced in the volume of international shipments between Russia and Greece from January to September 2016. Collaboration in the development of Greece’s railway infrastructure was noted.
Cooperation between the countries in the air traffic sphere has also been constructive in nature. The Russian delegation pointed out that Greece is on the list of states with which the establishment of a simplified visa regime for aviation flight crews has been approved via an exchange of diplomatic notes. The changes to the relevant agreement are currently being implemented. The delegations discussed increasing the number of passenger flights between the two countries, as well as the expansion of the number of points in Russia and Greece from which flights could be operated.
In addition, collaboration in the energy, international telecommunications, natural resource management, agricultural, cultural, and tourism spheres, as well as customs and scientific and technological cooperation were discussed. Maxim Sokolov invited the Greek delegation to participate in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which will take place on June 1–3, 2017 in St. Petersburg.