Russia Supports Better Economic Relations with Croatia

Total Croatia News

Russian Ambassador discusses economic relations between Croatia and Russia.

“We have repeatedly given financial support and loans to Agrokor in order to stabilize it. For now, we are not considering issuing new loans. However, if Agrokor leadership asks for help, we will consider their request, but only in the context of financial difficulties which the company is experiencing. Agrokor is not cooperating actively with us, I do not know their CEO, he probably thinks that it is unnecessary to arrange a meeting with the ambassador. Accordingly, there will be consequences”, said Russian Ambassador to Croatia Anvar Azimov asked whether Russians, given the fact that through their banks they hold between one third and one half of Agrokor’s debt, were concerned about problems which the company is experiencing, reports Večernji List on February 11, 2017.

“Our starting point it that Agrokor will pay back the money. If they do not, they will have to deal with Sberbank. But, Russia has no intentions to take over any part of Agrokor”, said the ambassador. Agrokor is Croatia’s largest privately-owned company, which is currently experiencing major difficulties.

According to the Ambassador, representatives of other companies “are standing in line to meet” with him. “We are interested in helping businesses which want to have active cooperation and are presently active in the Russian Federation. There are about 10 large companies that continue to cooperate and annually sell goods worth between 250 to 300 million euros, and before sanctions it was between 500 and 600 million euros. Agrokor is not among those companies for now. I am ready to support pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies, Podravka, Adriaplastika and shipyards, because, regardless of the sanctions, we have continued giving jobs to Croatian shipyards”, said the ambassador.

He said that Russia and Gazprom for now were not considering potential purchase of INA shares. “We are calmly observing plans of the Croatian government about the purchase of INA. That is your business. Russia has cooled off from the idea of purchasing INA shares. We were willing to buy the controlling package of INA from MOL, but we have not received the right response. Our position is now neutral, we have no ambitions. But, if Hungary and Croatia start communicating with Russia, we will consider their proposal. I think they will do it, sooner or later, but we will expect a concrete proposal”, said Azimov.

He added that the biggest burden in the Croatian-Russian relations were economic sanctions. “Unfortunately, our trade has decreased by 50 percent and companies are losing about 50 million euros per year. Last year’s trade amounted to just under a billion dollars, but the potential is up to three billion dollars per year”, he said.

He is pleased with “very good relations with the Croatian Foreign Ministry”, with recent political consultations which will continue in March, and with the intention to sign a programme on cultural cooperation and cooperation between interior ministries.


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