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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

EU: Reform Then We'll Invest

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The European Union on Friday urged Russia to push forward with structural reforms in the economy in order to attract more investment from Europe.

Pedro Sobles, commissioner for the EU financial committee, said Russia needed to adopt and adhere to legislation that would dedicate the country fully to a market economy.

"We know that the Russian government is taking account of this step by step, but we see that this process has to be accelerated," Sobles told reporters in Moscow as part of an official EU delegation.

Bosse Ringholm, the finance minister of Sweden, which currently holds the EU presidency, said Russia had made considerable progress in its reform efforts.

Ringholm is in Moscow for talks to prepare the ground for economic discussions at an EU-Russia summit on Thursday, which he said would be dominated by political issues but also address economic problems.

"We have seen real progress in economic reforms in Russia," he said. "Structural reforms are on the way. But we are quite aware that there is quite a lot to do."

Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Kudrin, who is also finance minister, said Russia was ready to take more steps toward becoming a market economy, but wanted to be treated on equal terms.

"We are interested in an equal partnership in trade relations. Russia says it does not need any extra help, we need to work out trade mechanisms," Kudrin said.

"We are ready to move ahead with joining the WTO, to reduce non-market elements in the Russian economy. But we expect to be met halfway. A lot is yet to be done here."

Kudrin also said the sides would discuss the introduction of a cash euro later on Friday.

Russia's economic reforms, launched a decade ago, slowed in the crisis-ridden later years of the presidency of Boris Yeltsin, who stepped down on Dec. 31, 1999, citing poor health.

President Vladimir Putin, who last week marked his first anniversary at Russia's helm, has vowed to create an environment promoting economic growth and reforms.

Among other moves aimed at bringing Russia's financial system closer to international standards, he has ordered a revamp of rules on capital flows that would make it easier to repatriate currency.