BERLIN, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- Germany, the European Union (EU) and Russia must cooperate more closely economically and politically, the German Eastern Business Association (OAOEV) demanded on Friday.
In 15 thematic chapters, the industry association presented a "new agenda" for a closer cooperation in areas where cooperation with Russia is already taking place and also promise great potential.
According to OAOEV chairman Wolfgang Buechele, digitization would be a good example for such a possible closer cooperation. "Russia is Europe's largest e-commerce market with around 90 million users," explained Buechele.
In addition to digitization, the agricultural and food sector were also a "huge, common field of work," according to the position paper. Russia would be the most important cereal producer in Europe and played an enormous role in the world's food supply, said Buechele. "Together we can develop climate-friendly plants to increase crop yields and limit the consequences of climate change."
The position paper also suggests joint projects for the disposal of nuclear waste, for securing the supply of raw materials as well as further development of education systems as "equally necessary and promising".
Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has also called for a "new eastern policy" of the German government. Maas, however, stressed that despite the importance of Russia, "eastern policy is more than Russian policy", adding that a European eastern policy could only be developed together with other eastern European partners.
In recent years Russia would have been gambling away trust, and a "clear reform agenda" would be needed to ensure strong investments in Russia, Maas emphasized. Russia has been subject to international economic and political sanctions due to the Ukraine conflict.
The German Eastern Business Association (OAOEV) stated that the European Union could only improve relations if Russia cooperated accordingly. However, "the idea that the advantage of one side is the disadvantage of the other" would be refuted by the world economy on a daily basis, according to the OAOEV position paper.