Germany and Russia will manage to push their bilateral relations forward if they put aside political disagreements and focus more on mutually beneficial business cooperation and people-to-people contacts, German lawmakers from the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party says.
“My goal in the Bundestag is creating a framework for bringing German and Russian small businesses together … We need to build dialogue at the level of people-to-people diplomacy. And sanctions can even be beneficial: we will increase our cooperation tenfold in the sectors not touched by them and develop our mutual activities to the extent [so that] they sweep these sanctions away,” Waldemar Herdt, a Bundestag foreign affairs committee member, said on the sidelines of Petersburg Dialogue.
He argued that the Cold War fear of a powerful Russia prevails in Europe, which is missing out on many mutually beneficial opportunities as a result.
“There is a fear to see Russia strong … All this [sanctions] is just a part of a scenario of controlling Russia’s growth and power … I know that if this doctrine vanishes, another doctrine of a good neighbor would prevail. We have much to share with each other, no one would become a sponger. If great potential and resources of the Russian Federation, great possibilities, industrial potential of Germany are combined, that would become a serious union on the geopolitical landscape. And many don’t want it,” Herdt suggested.
Meanwhile, businesses on both sides regret that politics is hampering economic relations, Hansjoerg Mueller, another member of the German parliament from AfD, told Sputnik.
“Businessmen on both sides do not want to be harmed by politics. They want to do business and remove all barriers from politics,” Mueller argued.
The lawmaker added that Western nations were seeking to impose certain values on Russia and also influence Germany’s choice of partners.
“More than 70 years after the end of the World War II, time has come to restore German sovereignty … And as long as the German side demands some kind of fulfillment of some western values from Russia, there won’t be any partnership at all. We don’t want to impose any values on Russia. We want to have very good relationship with Russia in the German interests. For 95 percent real German interests and Russian interests coincide. The problem is that actual German leadership does not represent real German interests,” Muller stressed.
The 17th meeting of the Petersburg Dialogue forum, aimed at promoting ties between Russia and Germany, was held in Moscow on October 7-8. The meeting’s major theme was titled “Building Confidence, Strengthening Partnership: Cooperation Between Civil Societies of Russia and Germany as Impetus to Interstate Dialogue.”