On October 14, 2020, Italy’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Luigi Di Maio visited the Skolkovo Foundation Technopark to meet with Russia’s Minister of Trade and Industry Denis Manturov to partake in the 17th Russian-Italian Council for Economic, Industrial, Monetary and Financial Cooperation meeting. The two ministers signed a protocol at the end of the session, thus continuing both countries’ ongoing cooperation in a list of key industries. The Chairman of the Skolkovo Board of Directors Viktor Vekselberg was also in attendance.

(Left and right) Chairman of the Skolkovo Board of Directors Viktor Vekselberg introduces Italy's Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio to Skolkovo Technopark. (Center) Russian Minister of Trade and Industry Denis Manturov. Photo: Sk.ru

It has been two years since the last session, which took place in Rome in December 2018 with Italy’s then Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi. As with the previous meeting, this year’s session focused on the following economic areas: trade, economic and investment cooperation, industry, small and medium enterprises, finance, agriculture, transport, culture, space, and energy. However, looming large over the council was the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic, and it was in this context that talks were conducted today.

Following a short tour of Skolkovo Technopark, Minister Di Maio and his delegation sat before presentations from three Skolkovo startups: Intelligent Ideas (IT cluster), Tau Industries (energy cluster), and Videointellect (industry cluster), and Enel, a Skolkovo parner.

Minister Di Maio attends Skolkovo startup presentations. Photo: Sk.ru

Minister Di Maio praised the council’s role and expressed thanks to the Russian side for organizing this year’s session. “We couldn’t have imagined what would happen with regards to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on our economies and societies. The pandemic crisis has had a terrible effect on both our countries in terms of lives lost and in terms of economic damage. Even though the pandemic is ongoing, our ability to have this meeting is a great sign of hope and this council is a very important tool that allows us to maintain contact between both our countries. We are very interested in taking a greater part in the Russian economy and we see great prospects here in infrastructure, energy, transport, startups, and innovation; this is extremely interesting for Italian business.”