Kicking off on Thursday, June 16 is the twentieth edition of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), which will bring the elite of the business world to former capital of the tsars. This year the "Russian Davos" expects over 10,000 participants, including political leaders, business leaders and public figures, from 130 countries, and over 2,000 journalists. This year, in the city on the Baltic, the main theme is "Capitalizing on the new global economic reality," over which political leaders, greeted by President Putin, will debate. In addition to the prospects regarding the future of world economy, the Forum will have ample space for other important issues such as the short-term and long-term challenges of the global oil market, faced with the slow ascent in prices and heavily reduced investments in the production and exploration sector heavily for a second consecutive year.
Italy and the political value of the visit from Renzi and Juncker
Italy has a very important role in this year’s Forum, given that it will participate as a "Guest of Honor". This is an absolute first: never before have Russian authorities assigned a similar role to an international partner.A large representation of Italian entrepreneurship is therefore expected. Moreover, this year, the SPIEF will also feature the Italian House Pavilion, organized by the "Know Eurasia" Foundation which will enable a more intense dialogue between Russian and Italian players, as well as with the international business world represented at the highest level. Italy will be represented by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who will not be the only European guest present at the Forum. Arriving on the banks of the Neva will also be the President of the European Commission, Jean Claude Junker, who will become the first leader of an EC institution to set foot in Russia since the crisis following the reunification of Crimea with Russia in 2014. These visits have a very important political value: according to the President of the Russian Council for Foreign Policy and Defense, Fedor Lukyanov, both Renzi’s visit, and "even more so" that of the President of the EU Commission, are a sign that the "process towards a gradual easing of EU sanctions is underway and we may begin to see the results in January."
The strong, key presence of companies
The St. Petersburg Forum is the number one dialogue platform for economic issues in Russia as well as at an international level, as the numbers show: in the last 5 years, 419 foreign companies and 490 Russian companies have participated, accounting, at the highest level, for 72% and 91% of the total respectively.