Dmitry Medvedev’s trip to Kaliningrad.
Excerpts from Dmitry Medvedev’s opening remarks:
The Kaliningrad Region is an enclave separated from Russia’s mainland by foreign territories but this is our land with a million of our people and they should not feel separated from the rest of the country.
A special federal targeted programme has been carried out there since 2002, followed by another state programme for the development of the region per se that was adopted in March 2013.
Several days ago I signed a Government resolution that introduces amendments to the Federal Targeted Programme for the Kaliningrad Region’s Development, which will be active until 2020. I’m referring to the second stage in the reconstruction and development of Khrabrovo Airport, as the region needs a new transit hub to meet its requirements for increased passenger air traffic and tourism. The airport is on the transport infrastructure list of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The Kaliningrad Region has serious advantages owing to its special geographical location – proximity to European markets, access to Baltic and Atlantic sea routes and its large tourism potential. Its special economic zone has also been conducive to the development of business.
On the other hand, the region’s exclave status generates a lot of
specific problems including high transport and customs costs, as well as
certain difficulties with the development of the energy and transport systems. More
recently, they have been compounded by the pressure related to falling oil
prices, currency fluctuations and the sanctions.
The region has good indicators in some areas, especially in terms of housing construction. In 2015, over 1.2 million square metres of housing was completed, up 8 percent on 2014. This is one of the best indicators among Russia’s regions.
The special economic zone remains the region’s main development driver. On 1 April, the so-called transition period for organisations registered before 2006 will be terminated. They will no longer enjoy special status. This creates certain risks not only for entrepreneurs but also for the regional economy. The federal and regional authorities should do their best to protect regional companies against the negative effects related to the end of the transition period.
Instructions have been issued regarding additional support measures. Some of them are already working. The November 2014 government resolution provides support to participants in the special economic zone and aims to boost the development of the labour market and to improve the economic and social environment. Considerable funds are earmarked for these purposes in this year’s federal budget.
An important draft law reducing the minimum investment threshold to acquire resident status to 50 million roubles has been submitted to the State Duma. It should be adopted as soon as possible.
A number of amendments have been introduced to the procedure for assessing and granting federal budget subsidies to enhance the quality of budget planning and responsibility for the effective use of funds with respect to both the chief managers of federal budget funds and the regional authorities. I have signed a government resolution to that effect.
As there is no common border with other parts of Russia, the Kaliningrad energy system depends on power distribution from the neighbouring states, among other factors. Today, I have signed off on a new version of a roadmap to ensure energy distribution to the Kaliningrad region. Some parts of the previous version slipped off the radar screen and required an adjustment. This is the latest version and the concerned federal agencies are responsible for implementing it.
We have already adopted an array of measures to ensure continuous air and ferry service. Today we’ll discuss any additional decisions that may be needed, including an increase in the number of ferryboats.