The prospects for Russia and Germany: expert views on the future of cooperation
It was the first day of the Russian-German Raw Materials Dialogue when the following statement was released: our countries need a continuous and equal dialogue in conditions of good-neighbourliness.
A plenary session of the XI Russian-German Raw Materials Dialogue was held in Potsdam, the capital of the German federal state of Brandenburg, on Wednesday, November 7. This meeting was attended by German politician Peter Altmaier, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, and Alexey Gordeyev, the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia. Both noted the significance of the event for strengthening of bilateral economic relations and for the growth of trust between our states.
According to Peter Altmeyer, "Reliable energy supplies are important for economy development of any state. That fact that Russia has a huge raw material base is one obvious advantage. Unsurprisingly, Germany, as a country which is forced to import resources, is more than happy to be able to cooperate. Russia is also an important gas supplier to Europe. This state of affairs is unlikely to change in the coming years, as gas reserves in the Nordic countries are about to decline and renewable energy sources have not yet become efficient enough. On the other side, we must also work together in order to improve energy efficiency. The waste of raw materials should not be tolerated. Thus, another vector in our cooperation is to increase ecological properties of extracted materials."
Alexey Gordeev, on his part, reassured his German colleague that Russia is ready to offer its partners from Germany a number of new areas of cooperation. The most important ones are related to the field of extraction of rare earth metals or implementation of high technologies involved in either intellectual extraction of minerals or waste management in mining industry. He also noted that all the domestic enterprises, which hit the environment the hardest, should move towards higher environmental standards before 2024.
As the Deputy Prime Minister says, "Throughout the years of existence, the Raw Materials Dialogue has become an established platform for discussing such matters as efficient use of raw materials, reducing the ecological impact as well as expanding business linkages between the Russian and German business communities. Many of the previously discussed at the forum projects have found its use in practice, for instance, in the field of development of scientific and academic ties. This work will be also continued under the guidance of Saint-Petersburg Mining University and Freiberg University of Mining and Technology."
Vladimir Litvinenko, the Principal of the Mining University, believes that gradual recovery of trade turnover between our countries is a positive improvement, which is also, in his opinion, an indicator of interest in intensifying business contacts demonstrated by both the Russian and German businesses. At the same time, he also thinks that the share of raw materials in our country’s export profile to Germany is too high. It should be reduced and, in order to do so, we need to implement such technologies as raw hydrocarbons deep conversion at the domestic level. Apart from that, we should also increase export volumes of high value added products.
As he says, "We should respond to the challenges that the Raw Materials Dialogue is facing, but in the same time we should also adhere to agreement accepted at the Paris Climate Change Conference. After all, currently over 50% of man-made greenhouse gas emissions are caused by energy industry. What we need is the best equipment, best technologies, and tougher environmental requirements. If we have it all, we can cause less damage to the environment, which is crucially important. In order to be able to meet the challenges of our time we need a close cross-border scientific and economic cooperation".
Kirill Molodtsov, Assistant to the Head of the RF President's Administration, in his answer to the question on development prospects for partnership relations between our countries noted that that we are not limited to projects aiming at increasing gas exports. Russia is also interested in pushing ahead joint cooperation regarding mining technology improvements, minerals processing, alternative energy sources development, as well as in many other areas.
He also said that his view on the prospects of RES is that the world is doomed to live in the era of hydrocarbons for at least the next 30 years and green energy is unlikely to challenge traditional raw materials position on the global market.
According to Kirill Molodtsov, "while the trend is evident and the shift towards renewable energy sources is obvious, hydrocarbon consumption, in particular gas consumption, will, however, continue its growth.
Following the plenary session, the organizing committee of the Russian-German Raw Materials Dialogue, issued a statement declaring the need for continuous and equal dialogue between the two countries. The participants of the event also agree that delegates’ efforts are aimed at "building a common future".
As referred to in the statement, "We perceive the conference as an opportunity to create an intensive, continuous and equal dialogue that promotes communication all across the Europe on the terms of good-neighbourliness. Taking into account the complex history of relations between our nations, we realize that we are the ones who are responsible for peacekeeping in Europe and we can meet the challenges only if we work together. Therefore, we specifically want to emphasize the fact that requirements to raw materials are constantly changing. These changes are driven by emergence of new technologies, mostly new and renewable energy related, circular economy uprise and climate protection requirements in accordance with Paris Conference agreement. All these activities may be delivered as a part of close scientific collaboration".