Academic journal article European Research Studies

Economic Cooperation of Russia and Greece during the Sanction Restrictions Period and the Policies to Strengthen the Integration Process

Academic journal article European Research Studies

Economic Cooperation of Russia and Greece during the Sanction Restrictions Period and the Policies to Strengthen the Integration Process

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

The economic cooperation between Russia and the European Union Member States is characterized not only by a close interdependence due to their history and geographical proximity, but also by the opposition of their international positions, impeding the implementation of mutual economic interests because of a tense political situation in the recent years.

Intensive integration processes in Europe, observed since the establishment of the European Union, are displaced by centrifugal processes in recent years. Though, the European Union is still the most successful monetary integration with the population of about 510 million people (as for January 2016) (5). The Russian Federation, in its turn, carries out the international integration policy through the implementation of the Eurasian Economic Community and the creation of initiatives to strengthen cooperation with Asian countries and the Arab States.

However, the mutual sanctions, operating more than two years, are not conducive to mutual beneficial cooperation and set a negative vector of development. The Hellenic Republic, as a member of the EU, has to adhere to a common foreign policy of the association. Despite the fact that Greece is a sovereign country (Thalassinos et cd., 2006; Thalassinos et cd., 2015a; Thalassinos et ed., 2015b; Thalassinos and Stamatopoulos 2015; Thalassinos, 2008) the right to conduct a multifaceted foreign policy and to play a geopolitical role is restricted by a huge debt to external creditors. But, realizing the lack of prospects for further trade and economic confrontation, its leaders are increasingly in favor of stopping sanctions and cooperation with the Russian state. This fundamental position of the Greek government on the issue of cooperation with Russia is due to the inextricable links of the two countries in historical, spiritual, economic and social spheres over the centuries.

Relations between Russia and Greece have always been friendly and mutually beneficial; this is primarily due to the lack of fundamental differences between the two countries. They were united and are still united by common historical memory and cultural heritage, which stimulates initiatives both from Russian and from Greece. Special role in the Russian-Greek relations have played the development of direct links with the Black Sea regions of Russia -these are the places of residence of representatives of the Greek Diaspora.

Greece occupies a special position in Russian foreign policy and according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the world, as he says, "there are few other countries, that are so closely related as Russia and Greece, with such a long history of sincere friendship" (6). In addition Greece is the only NATO country to actively develop military-technical cooperation with Russia.

Year 2016 is a cross-year for Russian-Hellenic culture and heritage and as the Prime Minister of Greece A. Tsipras characterized his visit to Russia as "the beginning of a new spring" in relations between Athens and Moscow. In May 2016 a joint declaration for an effective Government Partnership between the two countries was signed. It declares modernization, according to which willingness to contribute to the creation and promotion on the market of modern competitive products and encouraging mutual investments in innovative technologies, the elimination of barriers and constraints to the free and cost-effective sharing of the results with activities, improving the business environment in a fair, prompt and constructive dialogue between the business communities and public authorities of the two countries. Also a memorandum of understanding on inter-regional cooperation between the Russian Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece was adopted. The parties signed a "road map" of Russian-Greek relations in the field of agriculture, adopting a tourism program of mutual actions for the next three years, including contributing to the speedy changes from the agreement signed in May 25, 2006 between the Russian Federation and the European Community on the facilitation of visas issuance to the citizens of these countries, promoting the dialogue on establishing visa-free travel for them. …

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