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Official website of the President of Russia

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Dmitry Medvedev participated in Russian-Danish business conference

April 28, 2010, Copenhagen

The President welcomed Denmark’s approach to developing economic cooperation with Russia based on investment in manufacturing and industry and building production facilities and infrastructure.

Mr Medvedev noted that the two countries have reached a high level of cooperation, in particular in key sectors such as energy, shipbuilding, and agriculture. The President also noted Denmark’s active participation in the Nord Stream project.

Mr Medvedev called on Russian and Danish businesspeople to make use of the favourable economic and political conditions at hand to expand their cooperation, and said the business conference should open the way for launching promising big new projects.

* * *

President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Your Royal Highness, Mr Prime Minister, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to speak here today. This is the first forum of its kind and it is taking place during this symbolic visit by the President of Russia, the first state visit by the President of Russia to Denmark.

You mentioned just now Nikita Khrushchev’s visit [in 1964]. It’s hard for me to recall this event because I was not even born then and the visit itself took place in what were very different circumstances back then. We have grown much closer since that time, and most important of all, the economic and social foundations of our life and our political outlook have undergone fundamental change. The large number of businesspeople here today shows that Russian-Danish cooperation is in excellent shape. Of course, the credit for this goes to the entrepreneurs themselves, who cement politicians’ declarations with concrete action. I want to thank you for this because it is precisely your activeness that determines the state of our relations and ultimately shapes the microclimate in Europe. 

We welcome Denmark’s approach to developing economic cooperation based on investment in manufacturing and industry and building production facilities and infrastructure. It is really very good indeed to see that, despite the global financial crisis, we have managed to prevent any significant fall in our bilateral trade, which posted a decrease of just 13 percent last year. Our bilateral trade with other European countries has been harder hit, falling by 30 percent or more. I think this is not reason to be complacent, but it does give us the chance to keep moving forward rather than having to rebuild lost ground.

Danish investment in the Russian economy totalled more than $1 billion in 2009. Work on key projects continued and development of the chosen priority areas is ongoing. We hope that this will continue this year, and we also hope to see Russian investment in Denmark. 

The Prime Minister and I will sign a special declaration today – the Partnership for Modernisation. This idea came up last year and I think it is very good. This document will create new ties between Russia and Denmark, between our business communities, and will add a new dimension to our relations, transforming them into a close partnership. This is very important for Russia given our goal of setting the Russian economy on an innovative development track. 

The energy sector remains one of our key cooperation areas. Russia and Denmark are both making their contribution to Europe’s energy security, including by diversifying gas supply routes, as is illustrated by the Nord Stream project. I want to say just how much we value Denmark’s constructive approach on this issue. This is a very pragmatic approach. It is not about ideology, not even about partner assistance, but a truly pragmatic way of looking at things because bringing this gas pipeline on line will not only satisfy Denmark’s own gas demand but also maintain its role as a gas exporter to other European countries, and I think this is also useful.

Long-term oil and gas contracts can lay a solid foundation for our cooperation and energy partnership over the next 30 years. I think that, as I have already said, we need to reflect on this and work on establishing a solid legal framework for this cooperation. In the future, we will need to improve the international legal framework for energy cooperation, including a new version of the Energy Charter. Russia, in any case, has put forward such a proposal and we hope it will merit serious consideration by the Danish business community. 

I note too that Danish companies are taking part in the programme to modernise energy installations and build energy-efficient central heating systems in the Russian regions. I discussed on the way here with His Royal Highness the importance of energy efficiency for Russia, for Denmark and for all countries. Everyone will benefit all around from closer ties between our countries in this area. In the broader perspective, Denmark’s advanced technology and experience in its introduction and use are also particularly valuable for building tomorrow’s energy-efficient, so-called green cities.

We have a number of good examples in other areas too. Novo Nordisk Company, for example, is building a facility to produce insulin in Russia’s Kaluga Region and is looking at the opportunities for training scientific and engineering personnel for the pharmaceuticals industry. Advanced Danish technology is being used with success in agriculture. This is also one of our big priorities. Our country has been working for a while now on its national project to develop agriculture and we are therefore very keen to keep developing our cooperation in this field.

Some growth centres are emerging in our agriculture sector now, the Krasnodar Territory, for example. In 2007, Krasnodar Territory’s authorities signed a memorandum on cooperation with Denmark’s Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries. Denmark’s experience has been successfully applied in our livestock industry. This was something we discussed in detail after the reception yesterday too.

We are also interested in developing our cooperation in shipbuilding and in container shipping. Maersk Line’s launch of a direct ocean shipping route linking Ecuador and St Petersburg in March this year was an important step in this direction. Transport is one of the most important sectors in which we have common interests.

Looking at the new economy and high technology I want to say again that this is a top priority for our country and so we would be very happy to see our Danish partners taking part in the efforts to build the new innovation centre in Skolkovo. I do not want to make comparisons; this is not an analogue of Silicon Valley, of course, but we do want to develop a similar kind of large innovation centre in Russia, and we invite all of our Western partners, and certainly our Danish friends too, to take part.

I would like to stress that Russia is open for projects and work in all different areas. I hope that this first Russian-Danish business forum will facilitate the information exchange and, perhaps even more important, provide the opportunity for direct contacts between our businesses. Having worked myself quite some time in business I know from my own experience that business is a field in which direct personal contact is very important, even today, when we are all connected by the telephone, e-mail, and all the possibilities the internet offers. Nothing can replace these personal contacts in business and the atmosphere of trust that they help to create. 

I am sure that we will succeed in establishing new and more effective methods for our joint work. I hope that today’s conference will become the departure point for promising big new projects and help to strengthen our countries’ partnership for the good of our peoples.

Thank you for your attention and I wish you success.

April 28, 2010, Copenhagen