According to the Politico, critics fear that Juncker’s visit will strengthen Russian President Vladimir Putin’s position just before making important decision on the extension of sanctions against Moscow in the conflict over Ukraine. They point out that the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, which annually brings together politicians, businessmen and experts, is often seen as a counterweight to the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Juncker’s aides reported that the head of the European Commission is planning to go to the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, although this visit does not appear in his official schedule, and his name is not in the list of participants. “Juncker was invited and, apparently, he would come”, the Politico quotes the representative of the European Commission.
If Jean-Claude Juncker would come to St. Petersburg, he would become the first European head of the organization to visit Russia since the imposing of sanctions against Moscow in the March 2014.