On Thursday the French National Assembly backed a resolution urging the repeal of anti-Russian sanctions. Out of the 101 lawmakers present, 55 voted in favor of the document, which is non-binding in its character.
In an interview with Radio Sputnik, Director of Stratpol analytical center Xavier Moreau praised the French lawmakers’ initiative to lift the sanctions on Moscow.
He also noted that it would be difficult for European companies to return to the Russian market as local and foreign companies have already filled the niche.
“The sanctions have been completely devastating for our agriculture, especially in western France. There were some Communist, some National Front and Republican lawmakers voting to lift the sanctions. This means that US pressure on French Congressmen to keep the sanctions in place didn’t work this time. I think it’s a very important and positive step,” Xavier Moreau said.
When asked if France was an isolated case when it comes to the damage done or whether some other European countries had suffered from these sanctions, he said that the situation was pretty bad in Finland, Italy and even in Poland.
“I think the sanctions will eventually be over and Russia will lift its own sanctions too. But even if we come back to the Russian market, the prices will no longer be the same and Russian companies will be very competitive unlike they were two years ago,” Moreau noted.
The fact is that the niche in various fields has already been filled by other countries and Russia may not be willing to return to some European countries because it has seen what it can easily get from other countries.
For example, Russia is now buying garlic from Iran and radishes and fruit from Israel.
“Well, the European companies will try to go back, but it won’t be the same market. I still believe that it would be good for Russian consumers because a big offer means lower prices,” he added.
When asked whether trade restrictions had proved a strong instrument of political pressure, he said that in his opinion Washington had wanted to build a new Iron Wall between Russia and the rest of Europe.
“It was a stupid idea,” Xavier Moreau emphasized.
Answering the question on whether European companies would try to get back to Russia after the sanctions had been lifted, Moreau said he was positive about that.
“Yes, they will try but, like I told you, there will be new companies, Russian companies that will be very competitive, so if I were a French producer I would try to produce some high quality products, which are still lacking in Russia,” Xavier Moreau said in conclusion.