Successful cooperation between Moscow and Vienna is the key to friendship between Russia and Austria
Days of Moscow in Vienna took place on November 14-16. Business meetings and a wreath and flower laying ceremony by the Monument to the Soviet Soldier at Schwarzenbergplatz marked the beginning of Days of Moscow. A Moscow delegation headed up by the Moscow Minister and Head of the Moscow Department of External Economic and International Relations Sergey Cheremin came to the capital of Austria to participate in the events.
“We won’t forget the names of the 17,000 Soviet soldiers who fell in the battle for Vienna. They saved many historical and architectural monuments of the Austrian capital from destruction, and gave their lives for one of the most beautiful cities in Europe,” the minister said at the end of the ceremony.
The main business program event for Days of Moscow in Vienna was a conference on bilateral cooperation in the sphere of economic development, which took place in the Federal Economic Chamber of Austria. The event, which was organized with support from the Moscow Department of External Economic and International Affairs, was attended by business and government representatives from both capitals. They discussed relevant infrastructure development issues, as well as cooperation in the sphere of restoration of city spaces and the environment.
During the plenary meeting, Moscow Minister and Head of the Department of External Economic and International Relations Sergey Cheremin pointed out that Austria is one of the leading countries in terms of investments volumes in the Russian capital. Among European countries, Austria is in 4th place: the total volume of Austrian investments into the Moscow economy amounts to over 260 billion USD, while net investment volumes amount to over 3,5 billion USD.
“This year we’ve seen a positive trend in trade relations with Austria. In the first 6 months of 2017, Austrian exports to Russia grew by more than 40%, while Russian exports to Austria increased by 25%,” the minister said. He pointed out that these are optimistic figures that inspire hope for maintaining this trend and coming back to the high trade turnover volumes between the two countries in 2012-2013 within the next few years. “This is a significant moment for us today,” Sergey Cheremin said, “Since there are about 1,200 Austrian companies working in the Russian capital right now, including well-known brands like STRABAG, Mondi, Magna Steyr, Doppelmayr, and many others.” According to Mr. Cheremin, leading Austrian companies represent some of the most technologically advanced industries: instrumentation, processing, electronics, and medical equipment, all of which are extremely important for Moscow as a rapidly developing metropolis.
Sergey Cheremin gave a number of examples of successful cooperation between Moscow and European countries – carsharing services, the construction of athletic facilities, the development of a transport interchange hub system, and the development of commercial spaces that amount to about 14 million square meters of real estate. The minister proposed that Austrian companies take part in the development and implementation of Moscow projects that have a lot of potential. “Overall, European countries account for over 70% of direct investments into the Moscow and Russian economies. This fact contradicts the assertions that Russia has shifted toward the East,” he said.
The roundtables “The Environment and Innovations in City Management” and “The Development of Russian Infrastructure,” which captured the attention of a number of European experts, took place within the scope of the conference. Members of the Moscow delegation visited the Seestadt Aspern district, which was built using the latest energy conservation methods and smart home technology.
A meeting between Moscow Minister and Head of the Department of External Economic and International relations Sergey Cheremin and Mayor of Vienna Michael Häupl took place within the scope of the Days of Moscow. On behalf of the Mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin, the minister invited Michael Häupl to visit the Russian capital.
Sergey Cheremin and Michael Häupl recalled the Vienna Ball recently held in Moscow, during which Mr. Cheremin proposed to hold Days of Vienna in Moscow. Michael Häupl supported this idea. He talked about the accomplishments of the Russian capital. Talking about the expansion of Moscow and the development of new territories, he pointed out that there are no comparable projects or solutions in Europe. “The fact that Moscow has expanded its area like this is amazing,” he said, “Population density in Vienna is growing: annual population growth amounts to 25,000 people. But Moscow’s scale of growth is inconceivable for Austrians. There is a lot to think about here and a lot to learn from Russians.”
“Today, Moscow can be proud of its stable economy,” Sergey Sobyanin said in response, “The city has almost no unemployment, major Western companies continue to open offices in Moscow, and we’re developing high-tech industries. Come visit us, and you won’t recognize Moscow. Those who haven’t visited for a while will appreciate the transport infrastructure developments, new metro stations, convenient road interchanges, pedestrian spaces, festivals, and fairs.”
The Mayor of Vienna noted with satisfaction the growth in trade turnover between Russia and Austria. “This is a very important issue for Vienna’s economy. We are glad to host Muscovites who spend time here and bring great impressions back to Moscow with them,” the mayor said, “Isn’t this where the re-establishment of economic relations to their full capacity starts?”.
To conclude the negotiations, Sergey Cheremin and Michael Häupl exchanged gifts. Michael Häupl gave the minister a sign with the image of the knight that decorates the Vienna City Hall. The Minister of the Moscow Government gave Michael Häupl a wooden barrel with honey. The President of the Moscow Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vladimir Platonov presented the Mayor of Austria with old images of Petrovka Street.