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Meeting with President of Switzerland Micheline Calmy-Rey

July 13, 2011, Kolomna

Dmitry Medvedev and President of Switzerland Micheline Calmy-Rey took part in the ceremony inaugurating the new Shchurovsky Cement Plant in Moscow Region. The plant is owned by Swiss Holcim Group, and around 500 million euros were invested in its modernisation.

The two leaders toured the plant’s territory and visited its production control centre.

The two presidents also watched Russian Economic Development Minister Elvira Nabiullina and Swiss Minister of the Economy Johann Schneider-Ammann sign an inter-ministerial declaration on cooperation for economic modernisation.

Mr Medvedev and Ms Calmy-Rey exchanged views on current European and international affairs.

* * *

Speech at ceremony inaugurating the new Shchurovsky Cement Plant

President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Ms Micheline Calmy-Rey, friends,

It is a great pleasure to be in Kolomna today and welcome our guest, the President of Switzerland, here at the opening of this new production facility at the Shchurovsky Cement Plant, one of our country’s historic enterprises.

Everything we see here now is simply amazing. This production facility meets all the latest standards, and this is essential for Russia, where we are in the process of modernising our economy and require large amounts of cement and need to invest in our infrastructure. Enterprises of this kind will certainly become the flagships of our cement industry and make a big contribution to Russia’s economic development. 

I want to thank the investor, the Holcim Group, for all the work and investment they have put into the plant – around 500 million euros. This will certainly give the plant a new lease on life.

Production capacity has increased to 2.1 million tons now, but increased production is just one thing, no less important is that the plant is now using the most advanced environmental standards, as I was talking about just before with the President. This is also very important for Russia, and very important for everyone here in Kolomna, because the old plant was certainly a different story. 

The future belongs to this kind of big production facility that uses the latest technology, engineering and production technology that meets the most stringent environmental demands. This is exceptionally important for our country. This is also why the President and I are witnessing today the signing of a special declaration on modernising Russia’s economy. I think this is very significant, especially considering that we have greatly intensified the cooperation between our two countries of late.

We have excellent weather today, but I do not want you all to melt under this bright sun, and so I will not speak for long. I simply want to congratulate you all sincerely on this wonderful event, congratulate the plant’s workers, the investor, and all of us on the opening of this marvellous enterprise that measures up to the most modern standards. I sincerely wish you all success, good work, and hope that everything turns out as you hope.

Thank you very much.

President of Switzerland Micheline Calmy-Rey (re-translated): Mr President, ladies and gentlemen,

Let me congratulate you on this wonderful event. Thank you very much for the hospitable welcome. Mr President, I also want to take this opportunity to express on behalf of the Swiss people our condolences over the recent riverboat tragedy.

Our presence here today reflects the trust that Russia and Switzerland have built over these last years, and you have made a personal contribution to this effort too, Mr President.

Russia and Switzerland have very intensive relations now at all levels. We are working together on matters spanning politics, the economy, science, culture, society, and security. 

There is no greater symbolic opportunity than the privilege of opening together this high-technology plant producing the fundamental, primary material for construction. This is all part of the decision you made, Mr President, to make modernisation a state virtue.

My colleague, Federal Adviser Johann Schneider-Ammann, and the Russian Federation’s Minister for Economic Development [Elvira Nabiullina] have come here to Kolomna to sign a declaration on cooperation for economic modernisation. This declaration concerns comprehensive social development. Modernisation is the slogan of the builders of the future, and the cornerstone of urbanisation, industrialisation, education, and rationalisation.

Peter the Great built a city and a state ahead of his generation and his time. Legend has it that he built St Petersburg in the air above the swampy ground of the Neva’s banks, and then with a wave of his hand lowered the city onto firm ground.

Thanks to this wonderful plant here in Kolomna we will not have to perform miracles to carry out urban development. From here on, Mr President, we should work as best as we can to realise the huge potential for cooperation between our countries in order to build on our achievements and create new advantages for Switzerland and Russia.

Thank you.

July 13, 2011, Kolomna