Trade between Russia and the European Union started to improve in early 2017 despite trade barriers from mutual sanctions introduced almost five years ago. In the first three quarters of 2018, trade turnover between Russia and the EU increased by 21.5 percent compared to the same period of the previous year. Russian exports to the EU countries increased by almost 30 percent while imports are up by 7.4 percent. The trade volume has already exceeded 2014 figures when Western anti-Russia sanctions were introduced.

Russia is the third largest exporter to the EU and the bloc’s fifth biggest importer.

The case of Austria

Despite the confrontation over sanctions, which, in general, cannot but slow down the full-fledged economic cooperation, bilateral trade between Russia and Austria in 2018 not only grew, but surpassed the pre-crisis level, reaching a record high $5.6 billion. The political dialogue between Russia and Asutria is developing, while the economic ties are strengthening. A total of 29 Russian business missions comprising over 100 companies visited Austria in 2018 and that 17 bilateral agreements were signed during those visits.

Among EU countries that are the main trade and economic partners of Russia Austria is the first in terms of growth.

Those who are interested in the development of good economic relations between Europe and Russia are not content with the existence of sanctions and would like to lift them. No side wins from the sanctions introduced by the European Union against Russia, it is necessary to find a way that would lead to the removal of most of them.  At the moment, there’s no unity among the European Union concerning the automatic prolongation of economic sanctions against Russia that expire on July 31 this year. Italy and Hungary have said that things can’t be taken for granted at this stage.

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