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EU and Russia ‘too interconnected’ to be enemies, former Italian ambassador tells RT

EU and Russia ‘too interconnected’ to be enemies, former Italian ambassador tells RT
For all the problems between Russia and the European Union, their economies are so interdependent and complementary that cutting ties would be cause for regret later, former Italian diplomat Cesare Maria Ragaglini told RT.

“We have to start a strategic dialogue, because our relations are too interconnected and cannot be dismissed because we have problems,” Ragaglini, who served as Italy’s envoy to the UN and ambassador to Moscow before he retired, told RT.

Our economies are very much interconnected, interdependent and complementary.

With the EU planning to roll out a “green deal” proposal, it would be a “pity” for Moscow and Brussels to miss the opportunity to improve their energy ties, Ragaglini said. If they do, they may “regret it very much” 20 years from now, he added.

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Now working as the deputy chairman of VEB.RF, the Russian national development corporation, Ragaglini reminded RT that Italy’s economic relations with Russia have always been “very smooth,” even during the Cold War. From Fiat licensing its cars to Togliatti in the 1960s and Milan’s La Scala cooperating with the Bolshoi, to a major gas deal between Gazprom and Italy’s ENI in the 1970s, Italians have always had “a long-term strategic view” of Russia.

“They trust Russia, they trust the market, they’re very confident of that,” Ragaglini said. “We’re very similar, for the good and for the bad.”

There are some moments in which relations were at a turning point, and they always turn in the right way.

One of those turning points was the Covid-19 outbreak this spring, which hit Italy particularly hard. Italians are very grateful for Russian assistance, Ragaglini said, noting that Russian doctors went into some of the most difficult zones, such as Bergamo, and provided crucial aid to overwhelmed hospitals.

The aid mission helped Russian doctors learn “what to do and what not to do” about the virus, which has helped them treat it at home, he added.

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In addition to claiming nearly 1.5 million lives worldwide, the pandemic has disrupted economies around the globe. This includes VEB.RF’s operations as well. However, Ragaglini is optimistic that investors will soon come back, given Russia’s favorable legal and financial climate, as well as a “highly educated and qualified workforce.”

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