On December 7, 2020, in Hamburg, more than 60 authoritative European experts in the field of logistics, owners and managers of logistics enterprises, representatives of state authorities of Russia and the Federal Republic of Germany, as well as heads of professional associations discussed the integration of logistics routes and infrastructure development within the framework of the business initiative to create a common economic space from Lisbon to Vladivostok. The Task Force for logistics and customs proposals and analytics were also present during the meeting.
Welcoming remarks were made by Mirko Novak (Russian-German Trade Guild in Hamburg), Christian Pegel (Minister of Energy of the Federal State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) and Andrey Sobolev (Head of the Trade Representation of the Russian Federation in Germany). Mr. Sobolev noted that: “The Common Economic Space from Lisbon to Vladivostok is an initiative that comes primarily from business: from leading companies, associations of entrepreneurs, and analytical centers of the member countries of the Eurasian Economic Union and the European Union. It implies the acceleration of various integration processes, which include the harmonization and unification of standards and technical regulations, digitalization of customs services and business processes, development of international transport corridors, modernization and improvement of the quality of transport and logistics infrastructure. The closest attention is paid to these tasks in Russia. It is no coincidence that even in the face of the pandemic and all the restrictions it caused, the supply of goods from Russia to European countries did not stop, Russian suppliers consistently fulfilled all their obligations, and freight traffic between Russia and our European partner countries functioned smoothly. At the same time, the freight turnover of, for example, rail transport has increased: in 10 months of 2020, 367,090 TEUs of export, import, and transit cargo were transported in containers between Russia and Germany, which is 2.2% more than in the same period of 2019.”
The key issue on the agenda was the role of the EU and Russia in the issue of economic interaction between Europe and China. All participants agreed that the development of highways and transport hubs within the long logistics corridors is the key to the economic development of the respective regions. At the same time, according to the participants, the indicated potential for economic growth and infrastructure development is not fully used. However, if there is political will, this development potential can be fully unleashed along the entire space from Lisbon to Vladivostok.
In his speech, the General Director of the Logistics Association of Germany (Bundesvereinigung Logistik) Professor, Dr. Thomas Wimmer emphasized the importance of the Eurasian space for solving the logistics problems of German business. Uwe Leuschner, the General Director of the Russian Economic Club in Germany (Wirtschaftsclub Russland), proposed concrete steps for cooperation between the EU and the EAEU in matters of logistics and customs payments.
During his speech on the general problems of logistics in the area from Lisbon to Vladivostok, Chairman of the Board of the Lisbon-Vladivostok business initiative and founder and president of SCHNEIDER GROUP Ulf Schneider emphasized: “Our business initiative is aimed at making small but concrete and constant steps to shaping a common economic space from Lisbon to Vladivostok. We are creating Task Forces that work out proposals for harmonizing standards between the EU and the EAEU. Themes like logistics, transport, customs, VAT, pharma-market, financial regulations, Green Deal, digitization, etc. are on our agenda.”
An important point on the agenda of the meeting was the signing of a memorandum on the accession of the Russian-German Trade Guild in Hamburg to the Lisbon-Vladivostok business initiative. The corresponding memorandum was signed by Ulf Schneider, Chairman of the Board of the Lisbon-Vladivostok business initiative, and Mirko Novak, Chairman of the Russian-German Trade Guild in Hamburg. Based on the results of the event and taking into account the positions outlined during the discussion, the Task Force functioning within the framework of the Lisbon-Vladivostok business initiative will prepare specific proposals for the EU and the EAEU officials to harmonize logistics rules and procedures.
About the Lisbon-Vladivostok Initiative:
In 2015, an initiative was born in European business circles to promote the idea of creating a single economic space on the territory of the European Union (EU) and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) – the Lisbon-Vladivostok business initiative. The foundation of the Initiative is the need of the business community for economic integration and expansion of economic interaction in the Eurasian space. The initiative already brings together more than 100 companies, as well as major business associations from 12 EU and EAEU member states. In 2020, the Initiative received its organizational design in the shape of working bodies: the board and a number of expert Task Forces in specific areas. Events dedicated to the promotion and further promotion of the initiative are held on a regular basis. The participants in the events held within the framework of the Initiative are business leaders and owners, officials, and authoritative members of the expert community.