Though there were differences at their summit Russia and Europe remain interdependent trade partners.Last year – before the global economic crisis started to bite – half of all EU exports to Russia were vehicles and machinery. So called primary products, mostly food and drink, accounted for a tenth of EU countries’ goods being bought by Russians. Germany is the region’s biggest exporter to Russia with chemicals a major component and the second biggest item on the export list. The EU is Russia’s main trading partner, accounting for just over half of Russia’s external trade last year. EU exports to Russia totalled 105 billion euros while imports from Russia were 173 billion euros with just over two thirds of that energy and mineral fuel products. Russia supplies just over a quarter of the European Union’s gas needs, but how it makes the journey is a source of conflict between Brussels and Moscow. The Europeans have been pushing for a gas pipeline known as Nabucco to be built. It would bypass Russian territory and transport gas from the Caspian Sea and Central Asia via Turkey to Europe. Russia is developing its rival South Stream project to supply Europe and says it is close to securing Austrian and Slovenian participation. The EU is keen to reduce its dependence on Russian energy, but the country’s state controlled gas company Gazprom forecasts it will be supplying a third of Europe’s gas by 2015.
Russia and Europe trade reliant on each other