“We prepared a new agreement together with you. Next year will be the 25-year anniversary of relations between Düsseldorf and Moscow, which, of course, demands new documents and new programs that we have developed together. I hope they will benefit both Muscovites and the residents of your wonderful city,” Sergey Sobyanin said.
He thanked the Mayor for organizing Days of Düsseldorf in Moscow.
In turn, Thomas Geisel thanked the Mayor of Moscow for inviting him to the capital and working to develop relations between Moscow and Düsseldorf. “I am very happy we had this meeting. Thank you for organizing and helping with holding Days of Düsseldorf in Moscow. The last time we held them was four years ago,” he noted. The Mayor also praised the Moscow’s new infrastructure project, the Moscow Ring Railway.
The business program for the Days of Düsseldorf in Moscow started on September 22 in the Moscow Chamber of Commerce with the panel discussion “Düsseldorf and Moscow: opportunities and challenges of bilateral economic cooperation.” Mayor of Düsseldorf Thomas Geisel, State Secretary of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Energy, Industry, Small and Medium-Sized and Craft Trade of the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia Günther Horzetzky, Minister of the Moscow Government and head of the Department for External Economic Affairs and International Relations (DVMS) Sergey Cheremin, along with other officials, participated in the event.
“For us, Germany is an important partner in the field of innovation, supply of modern engineering equipment and the development of foreign economic relations,” Sergey Cheremin said in his opening speech. “The goal of our meeting today is to strengthen our foreign relations and continue our close cooperation in spite of the challenges and sanctions,” the minister noted.
During his speech, Mayor of Düsseldorf Thomas Geisel pointed out the importance of maintaining friendship and partnership between the two cities, stating that he hopes the discussion will help make effective and constructive decisions. “Today, Düsseldorf is the center of economic contacts and cooperation with Russia. For many Düsseldorf companies and enterprises, Russia on of the most important partners,” he said, “A lot of German companies have representative offices in Moscow. It is important to continue and grow our collaboration in this respect,” Mr. Geisel said.
During the business forum, participants discussed the economic aspects of cooperation between Moscow and Düsseldorf, the opportunities and challenges of economic cooperation between Germany and Russia. Both sides pointed out the importance of maintaining and developing a constructive dialogue and supporting strong economic relations in spite of today’s unfavorable political climate.
Within the scope of the Days of Düsseldorf in Moscow, a business seminar called “Opportunities for Russian Startups on the German Market” took place. Minister of the Moscow Government and head of the Department for External Economic Affairs and International Relations (DVMS) Sergey Cheremin kicked off the event. “Everybody knows that creative entrepreneurship driven by innovative proposals and concepts are the leading drivers of growth that help propel social and economic development forward,” the minister said. He also noted that there are more than enough creative people in our country, along with many promising startups.
According to the head of the DVMS, it’s sometimes difficult to attract funding, especially from foreign investors, which is why the city authorities seek to use international experience and methods of supporting young talented people.
“The Moscow government knows about the municipal program that exists to support startups in Düsseldorf, the co-working spaces in our city, the great investment climate in North Rhine-Westphalia that includes a whole series of tax benefits and an excellent legislative framework,” Sergey Cheremin said. “This kind of fertile ground can be used to establish joint startups and create synergy by multiplying the intellectual potential on both sides, combining investment capital and inspiring startups with the spirit of partnership,” the minister said. Sergey Cheremin said that he hopes the search for investment and collaboration will lead startup entrepreneurs to the municipal authorities of Moscow and Düsseldorf, who will in turn help the most promising ventures.
During his seminar speech, Mayor of Düsseldorf Thomas Geisel talked about startup clusters in the capital of North Rhine-Westphalia. “We’re talking about the creative industry, about clusters in fields such as digital and technology. This is relevant to our interests, since NRW is one of the leaders in the sphere of direct foreign investment. We’ve placed third in all of Germany in this respect,” T. Geisel said.
A report by Chairman of the Board of the German-Russian chamber of Commerce, Matthias Schepp was dedicated to measures of attracting Russian startup entrepreneurs to Germany. A special commission was established for this purpose and has proven to effective. According to Mr. Schepp, a group of Russian startup entrepreneurs who already have experience working in Germany will return to Moscow in the spring of 2017.
State Secretary of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Energy, Industry, Small and Medium-Sized and Craft Trade of the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia Günther Horzetzky said that there are Russian startups in the region operating in digital, creative and technology spheres. “Our goal is to create the best conditions for the development of these projects,” he added.
During the business seminar, the participants discussed the tax and legal issues startups encounter, new trends in creative entrepreneurship in Russia and the CIS, and innovations in the co-working sites created in Düsseldorf.
Within the scope of the cultural program, the German delegation visited the Düsseldorf park located in the Marino district in Moscow and gave the park a sculpture that symbolizes the long-term friendship between Moscow and North Rhine-Westphalia.
It is noteworthy that the sculpture’s design was developed by children from Moscow and Düsseldorf, not by professional architects or sculptors. The installation looks like figures of children: a boy from Düsseldorf who is given a bouquet of flowers to a girl from Moscow. With this gesture, the young authors wanted to say that the connection between the two cities is not limited to business. Exchange programs have been in effect for several years, and many children from Moscow have studied in Düsseldorf. Three years ago, the Mayor of Moscow and the Mayor of Düsseldorf planter several oak trees as a symbol of the long-term friendship between the sister cities in honor of the 15-year anniversary of friendship. There is another interesting sculpture on the park’s territory. The sculpture of a boy doing a cartwheel is the work of a famous German artist Jacques Tilly. The sculpture is the symbol of Düsseldorf.
Mr. Geisel answers questions of Capital Ideas in an exclusive interview on page 40.
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