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Russian Foreign Minister to meet with Association of European Business


Russian Foreign Minister to meet with Association of European Business

Lavrov at AEB
Photo: AP

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet with representatives from the Association of European Businesses (AEB) today in Moscow to discuss trade between Russia and the EU, as well as other forms of economic cooperation.

Expect Lavrov to condemn critics of the Russian government in general, and those of the Nord Stream II natural gas pipeline in particular. Though the pipeline is nearing completion, European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, have expressed reservations about the project following the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny.

Though controversial among EU leaders, Nord Stream II is politically popular in Germany, and over $9 billion dollars have gone into the project. The pipeline’s proponents claim that abandoning it would damage both Germany’s international reputation and trade relations with Russia, a primary source of EU imports in gas and oil, while keeping Germany dependent on dirtier fossil fuels. Lavrov has himself signalled that Russia views the pipeline and the Navalny controversy as discrete cases, and, having criticised what he has termed the politicisation of the pipeline by EU states, is not likely to offer significant diplomatic concessions. It’s probable, then, that the pipeline will be finished and begin operation, as scheduled, in 2021.

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