Europe May Create Group to Support Business in Kaliningrad Region

According to the statement made during his meeting with Andrei Stepanov, a Deputy Plenipotentiary of the President of Russia in the Northwestern Federal District, by Jacek Starosciak, the Director of the Secretariate of the Council of Baltic Sea States (CBSS), the organisation intends to create a group for the support of entrepreneurship in Kaliningrad. On March 5 and 6, in the town of Svetlogorsk, the Kaliningrad Region, the 11th session of CBSS Foreign Ministers was held. Consequently, the Ministers of Economy and Trade of the Baltic Sea States met in Moscow. The problems of Russia's Baltic enclave were discussed in detail during both meetings. These problems relate to the joining of the European Union by Poland and Lithuania, economic cooperation, foreign investments, the standardisation of products, and trade in the border zones. The creation in Kaliningrad of the group for the support of entrepreneurship was suggested by Sweden. According to Mr. Starosciak, other member countries of CBSS support this idea. A delegation of the secretariat of CBSS he is heading has come to Kaliningrad for 2 days to have a closer look at the business situation in the city and possibly find out where the future investments could be best used. For this purpose, the delegation will meet with members of the regional administration and Kaliningrad's Mayor's office, entrepreneurs, members of the local Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Consuls General of Lithuania and Poland. Andrei Stepanov said he supported the project and that the region's economy was truly in need of an inflow of large long-term investments. This has been hampered by the absence in the region of an independent financial institution capable of guaranteeing and insuring capital investments. The problem should be resolved very shortly, possibly even without CBSS' participation. This is why Mr. Stepanov believes the creation of the business support group should be sped up lest it happens past all need.

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