EU living standards depend on Russia – deputy PM
Whether the EU can maintain the standards of living it is accustomed to depends on how quickly it restores relations with Russia, Deputy Prime Minister Aleksey Overchuk said in an interview with the magazine Expert published on Monday.
Access to cheap energy from Russia allowed the bloc to develop its economy and ensure a high standard of living, according to Overchuk. However, the end of globalization, politicization of the EU’s decision-making process, and the severing of economic relations with Moscow “are stripping Europe of the competitive advantages that has underpinned its prosperity,” he said.
Overchuk pointed to the gradual slowdown in the EU’s economy since 2022 as industry shifts to regions with lower energy prices and agricultural production declines. “This is the decline of Europe, which is very clearly visible against the backdrop of economic growth in other regions of the world, including the EAEU [Eurasian Economic Union],” he said.
Moscow, Overchuk argued, realizes that restoring trade and economic ties with the EU in the medium term is impossible. “It was not Russia who broke economic ties with Europe, and it was not Russia who started imposing sanctions,” he said. “The sooner Europe recognizes the necessity of repairing relations with Russia, the better the odds that Europeans will be able to retain their standard of living.”
According to the deputy prime minister, Russia managed to “quickly redirect trade flows to the southeast.” That process started even before the imposition of Western sanctions. There had been notable reduction in the EU’s share of Russia’s foreign trade starting back in 2019, he noted. “The events of 2022 have only accelerated this process,” concluded Overchuk.
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