Switzerland hopes for improvement of Russian-EU relations

Eric Willumsen
Eric Willumsen

Discussing the restoration of Russian-European relations in the post-sanctions period in an interview with correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, rector of the International University in Geneva Eric Willumsen named Gaidar Forum an effective way of establishing contacts between Russian and Western economists. "This forum is like a door to Moscow, to Russia. And since we have long and close relations with RANEPA, it is very important that we are at the Gaidar Forum, which is organized and held in RANEPA," he said.

Commenting on difficult relations between Russia and Europe in recent years, Willumsen noted: "We are from Switzerland, so we have a more neutral position comparted to the EU, but overall, Switzerland has always been on good terms with Russia. We have strong historical contacts, and we can only hope that relations between the EU and Russia will improve over the years."

Speaking about the need to resume close contacts with Moscow, he said: "I think it is very promising. Diversification of the economy, strong, common principles, they depend on active, young, well-educated generation, which has its place in the economy, from countries of Europe to Asia, where both European and Asian markets are available, so it is a very promising future for Russia. We still have very good relations with Russian universities. We continue to develop relations between the International University in Geneva and RANEPA."

Russia and the North Caucasus Federal District in particular actively use the experience of Switzerland, for example in agricultural activity in the mountains. "We compared our region with Switzerland - studied the experience of successful mountain region: the conditions, benefits, state support. As a result we have developed something between Switzerland and Dagestan, developed unique proposals for the development of mountain agriculture in the entire mountain zone of Russia: Ural, Altai, North Caucasus. Mountains have their own problems: the need to create special systems for livestock, agriculture and irrigation, to create conditions for provide soil fertility and prevent erosion," director of the Dagestani Agricultural Research Institute Nadir Zagirov said.

Two years ago Russia and Switzerland celebrated the 200th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Overall, their history dates back to the XVII century, when Franz Lefort, a native of Geneva, became a close associate of Peter the Great. Switzerland attracted many generations of Russian writers, artists and politicians. Russia considers it a great platform for Russian business and Switzerland calls Russia an important market for investments.