An international economic forum of European regions called "Energy and Steady Development" opened in Omsk, Southern Siberia, on Monday. The forum was organized on the initiative of the European Foundation for the Sustainable Development of the Regions, or the FEDRE, which acts under the aegis of the Council of Europe, with an active participation of the Omsk region administration.
Among those attending the forum are Sergei Mironov, the Chairman of the Federation Council /the upper house of the Russian parliament/, members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and representatives of the governing bodies of the Russian Federation members that form the Siberian Federal District and the Inter-regional Association Siberian Agreement. Apart from that, the forum gathered more than 100 foreign guests representing European business and various European cooperation structures.
It is the first time that an economic congress of this range is being held not in the European part of Russia but in Siberia, told RIA Novosti Leonid Polezhayev, the Governor of the Omsk region. According to his words, Omsk was chosen to host the forum because the Omsk region had been chosen by the FEDRE as the Region of the Year 2001.
The decision to grant the Omsk region this high status was based on its successful development of foreign trade and investment cooperation. The region is an active participant in programs of military-and-technical cooperation with foreign countries and hosted, in 1996-2001, universal international exhibitions of military hardware, armaments and civil goods produced by defence manufacturers.
In October of 2001, the administration of the Omsk region and the FEDRE signed a Convention of Partnership, which said the foundation would draw up a program of energy development with simultaneous preservation of the environment, said Polezhayev.
The FEDRE was set up in 1996 in the framework of the Council of Europe and is meant to provide European regions with access to a single information system with the purpose of exchanging experience, establishing economic cooperation, and, ultimately, achieving steady regional development.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969