MINSK, 24 October (BelTA) – Kaliningrad Oblast Governor Anton Alikhanov told the Belarus 1 TV channel about cross-border cooperation programs with Belarus, BelTA informs.
“Taking into account the fact that we have a common budget within the Union State, which is not always utilized in full, we have suggested using these funds for cross-border cooperation programs. These can be tourism, infrastructure, cultural objects. In other words, a fairly broad agenda, from environment to education, anything that is interesting and important for our municipalities or regions. We want Kaliningrad Oblast to participate in these programs, although our region does not share a border with the Republic of Belarus,” Anton Alikhanov said.
The governor noted that quite a lot of Belarusians live in Kaliningrad Oblast. “More than 35,000 Belarusians live and work in the region. We have a strong Belarusian diaspora. Therefore, we would be very happy to get an opportunity to implement such joint projects, visit each other more often and do business,” he emphasized.
“The Republic of Belarus accounts for 80% of our trade with the CIS countries. It is clear that our economy is now dominated by agriculture and processing. For example, Sodruzhestvo Group of Companies invests in Belarus, Kaliningrad Oblast, and others regions of Russia. We would really like to keep diversifying our economic cooperation. Unfortunately, these European restrictions have a substantially negative impact on us. For example, we used to buy about 200,000 tonnes of Belarusian cement per year. Now it has to be imported through the ports of Leningrad Oblast. This, of course, does not make it more competitive in terms of price. To be honest, we are concerned about this,” the governor said.