Kaliningrad Region's Mid-European Location May Be Used to Much Advantage

Today, Mikhail Kasyanov, the Prime Minister of Russia, arrived to Kaliningrad on a working trip. He was met at the airport by Vladimir Yegorov, the Governor; Vladimir Nikitin, the Speaker of the Regional Legislative Assembly; and Andrei Stepanov, the Deputy Plenipotentiary of the President in the North-western Federal District. First Prime Minister visited the Yantar wharf where he was shown the multi-purpose anti-sub ship Yaroslav Mudry (Yaroslav the Wise) now under construction and attended the launching of an arctic fishing trawler for the Norwegian UMOE Sterkoder company. The next visit of Mr. Kasyanov was to the Avtotor automobile plant.

Mr. Kasyanov said, 'Russia should use the convenient mid-European location of the Kaliningrad Region. If this is done right, the expansion of the EU, rather than hurting the region, will bring much advantage. Yet to achieve this, the region must be developed as a transportation, communications, financial and banking link between Europe and Russia and therefore needs a suitable infrastructure. This may be achieved through the carrying out of the federal purposive programme for the development of the Kaliningrad Region, which provides for the construction of highways and the development of ports and water communications, including the already functioning ferry line. At this time, a new law on the creation in the region of a special economic zone is being developed with the purpose of bringing in investments and high technologies'.

All this will be discussed at a meeting of the Prime Minister with the leaders of the region's administration and entrepreneurs to be attended by federal ministers and the heads of the RAO UES of Russia, Gazprom and representatives from the Central Bank of Russia and other largest financial institutions.

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