International and interregional relations of the Government of the Kaliningrad Region

A unique geographic position of the Kaliningrad Region predetermines an extensive development of international and interregional relations of the Region, establishment and development of good neighbourly relations and mutually beneficial cooperation with foreign partners.

The issues of establishment of international cooperation for the Kaliningrad Region due to its special geographic position are considered as major areas of activities of the regional authorities. The activities of the Government of the Kaliningrad Region in the international arena are aimed at solving tasks of creating favourable external conditions for the realization of its investment and export potential.

With a view to securing Russia's national interests in the Baltic Sea Region and in Europe on the whole, the Kaliningrad Region makes use of various formats of participation in international processes.
In the past decades, a system of international relations has been developed in the Kaliningrad Region covering the most promising for cooperation countries and allowing to comprehensively interact both with Administrations and business organizations of foreign territorial subjects.

The Kaliningrad Region has 19 international agreements on cooperation including those with: 5 counties of the Lithuanian Republic (Klaipeda, Panevezys, Kaunas, Marijampole, Taurage), 4 voivodships of the Republic of Poland (Warmia-Masuria, West Pomerania, Pomerania, a memorandum of understanding with Podlaskie Voivodship), 3 regions of the Republic of Belarus (Grodno, Minsk, Brest, and Gomel), Bornholm county (Denmark), Blekinge county (Sweden), 2 Lands of the Federal Republic of Germany (Schleswig-Holstein, Brandenburg), one province in Italy (Friuli Venezia Giulia), a memorandum of understanding with the autonomous province Ningxia (China), and a memorandum on cooperation with Groningen province (the Netherlands).

In addition to that, the Government of the Kaliningrad Region is developing relations with republics and regions within the country – agreements on cooperation have been signed with 27 constituents of the Russian Federation.
The Government of the Kaliningrad Region is involved in saturating cooperation with partner regions with qualitative content. Examples of this could be 2-3-year plans of interregional cooperation signed with our partners in such areas as economy, culture, sports, tourism, and environmental protection.

Thus, at present a "Plan of activities on international cooperation for 2012-2013" is in force on the part of Germany. This is a program document determining the main areas of interaction of the Federal Land Schleswig-Holstein and the Kaliningrad Region aimed at further intensification of cooperation in the economic sphere, at the development of cultural and youth exchanges, at the joint implementation of educational projects.

Besides the realization of current agreements and plans and conclusion of new ones, an efficient tool of cooperation is also a regular participation of the Region's representatives in the work of Intergovernmental Commissions and councils on cooperation between regional and local authorities. Of special significance in the development of international cooperation of the Region are the Intergovernmental Agreements with Poland (of May 22, 1992), with Lithuania (of June 29, 1999), with Belarus (of October 14, 1999). On the basis of those Agreements, Russian-Polish, Russian-Lithuanian and Russian-Belarusian Councils on cooperation of the Kaliningrad Region with regions and bodies of those countries were established and are quite efficiently functioning. Owing to the Councils' activities, there is a real opportunity to comprehensively resolve issues of cooperation within a whole range of problems emerging in the course of cross-border interaction.

In the development of foreign economic relations, the activities of the Government of the Kaliningrad Region are, first of all, focused on arranging and conducting events aimed at informing foreign business community about the advantages of functioning of the Special Economic Zone in the Kaliningrad Region, about commercial, production and investment opportunities which open up for foreign companies in the Region, as well as at promoting commodities of Kaliningrad manufacturers to the international market.

For the Kaliningrad Region, the work aimed at attracting foreign investment to the Region is of special importance. Presentations of the Kaliningrad Region abroad are an effective tool for attaining this goal. Presentation activities are important events in the political and economic life of the Kaliningrad Region; they have a considerable image effect and enable the Region to make a name at the international level.

Recently, such events have been conducted in the regions of the following countries: Poland, Germany, Lithuania, Belarus, Denmark, Israel, Sweden, Italy, and Portugal. Traditionally, the Plan of activities of the Region's Government in the field of international relations includes 2 - 3 presentations a year.

One of the key forms of international cooperation of the Kaliningrad Region is the participation in international programmes. The Region has accumulated rich experience of working in projects.

It should be mentioned, that projects implemented in the Kaliningrad Region within international programmes are considered by the regional authorities as an additional tool for the realization of objectives set by the Government of the Russian Federation regarding the policy of the socio-economic development of the Region. The project activities are determined in accordance with the current national priorities and needs of the Region.

At present, the Programme "European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument Lithuania-Poland-Russia 2007-2013" (ENPI) is being implemented. The total number of projects realized within the ENPI Programme is 60, of which 53 are regular ones and 7 are large-scale.
Among regular projects, all the 53 ones were signed with the total amount of funding on the part of the EU of 75.2 ml Euro, including 12 projects in which the beneficiaries are organizations from the Kaliningrad Region. The examples of successful projects are as follows: "High-quality surgery across the borders", "Development of active tourism as a basis of Polish-Russian cooperation", "Museums across the borders" and others.

Within the Programme, 7 large-scale projects are also implemented for the total of 42.1 ml Euro. Those include 4 projects with the infrastructure component on the territory of the Kaliningrad Region for the total of 29.1 ml Euro:

  • "Construction of sewerage networks and waste water treatment plants on the border territories of the Kaliningrad Region and Lithuania" (construction of waste water treatment plants in the town of Slavsk);
  • Construction of waste water treatment plants in the towns of Neman and Skirsnemun? and Raudon? (Lithuania);
  • On April 29, a project "Comprehensive implementation and enlargement of waste treatment facilities, water supply and drainage networks with a view to reducing the pollution of the Baltic Sea" (waste treatment facilities in the town of Mamonovo) was signed;
  • "Modernization of the part of the motorway Kaliningrad – Mamonovo 2" with the total budget of 10 ml Euro.

Taking into consideration the experience gained by the Kaliningrad Region in the sphere of cross-border cooperation in the form of projects with the EC co-financing, the Government of the Kaliningrad Region is interested in further participation in the programmes of cross-border cooperation for the period after the year 2013.

The Kaliningrad Region of the RF, possessing a large potential for cooperation, extensive resources, tools and experience of interregional and border collaboration, is open for proposals for the mutually beneficial cooperation.