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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

North European Executives Urge Russia, Baltics to Foster Investment

STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Russia and other reforming nations in the Baltic Sea region must urgently improve investment conditions if they want to make serious business with the West, a group of senior business leaders said Monday.

The Baltic Sea Business Summit, grouping top executives from some of northern Europe's biggest firms, called on the reforming countries to shred red tape, improve transport and customs regulations as well as overhaul the legal framework.

"We meet here to remind the politicians about reality. In the long run, openness is the only alternative," said Peter Wallenberg, head of the powerful Swedish investment group Investor AB.

Wallenberg and 15 other business leaders said in a statement that progress toward open economies was too slow.

"The business leaders stress that good intentions and beautiful words must be accompanied by hard work," the statement said.

It also said visas for short-term business visitors to Russia should be lifted and that Western Europe should reciprocate with a similar move.

A memorandum that lists all complaints from business executives will be handed down to governments of the Baltic Sea countries at a regional conference in Riga later this week, it said.