Europe

In the European direction, official and business contacts of Astrakhan region are maintained with such countries as Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and others.

The first bilateral contacts between Astrakhan region and the Slovak Republic were established in 1997. To bolster trade and economic relations with Slovak partners, the post of Honorary Consul of the Slovak Republic in Astrakhan was instituted in 2009. In 2012, Protocol on economic cooperation was signed between the Ministry of Economy of the Slovak Republic and the Government of Astrakhan region.

Astrakhan region and the Slovak Republic boast cooperation ties in such areas as agriculture, education, culture, and tourism. In 2012, particularly, in the field of agriculture, 576 cows of Holstein and Simmental breeds were purchased from Slovakia.

As far as education and science are concerned, cooperation agreements were signed in 2016 between Astrakhan State Technical University, Astrakhan State University and the Slovak Agricultural University in Nitra. In 2017-2018, ASTU faculty internships were organized at the Slovak Agricultural University in Nitra, Technical University (Kosice), Komensky University (Bratislava) and the University of Economics (Bratislava).

There are several ongoing projects in culture and tourism that are being implemented between Astrakhan region and Slovakia. This cooperation was initiated in 2006 by the exhibition "Astrakhan - the Caspian capital of Russia", which was held at the Russian Center for Science and Culture in Bratislava. The "Days of Culture of Astrakhan region in the Slovak Republic" and "Days of Slovak Culture in Astrakhan region" are held on a regular basis.

Cooperation agreements were signed between Slovak and Astrakhan travel agencies (2013), and Protocol of intent on developing cooperation in the field of tourism was signed between the Slovak Union of hunters "Slovak Hunting Chamber" and the non-profit partnership "Astrakhan Tourist League" (2014).

Further plans to develop cooperation between the region and the Slovak Republic include recruiting Slovak businesses to localize production facilities in the territory of the Lotus special economic zone in Astrakhan region, developing cooperation in the agricultural and humanitarian spheres.

The starting point for bilateral contacts between Astrakhan region and the Czech Republic dates back to 2006 during the visit of the delegation of the "Mixed Chamber of Commerce "Vostok" of the Czech Republic to Astrakhan region.

Since then, mutual contacts have been developing in various fields of activity. For many years, Astrakhan enterprises have successfully exported fish products to the Czech Republic, namely fillets of fish of partial breeds. In addition, the company supplies fiberglass for electrical purposes, as well as finished textiles.

Examples of joint projects include the construction and opening of “Yarmarka” mall in Astrakhan in 2011 with the participation of a major Czech developer, PPFRealEstate, and the construction and commissioning of an energy center in the port of Olya in 2014, which was financed by the First Czech-Russian Bank together with the European-Russian Bank.

Currently, the agreement on trade, economic, scientific, technical and cultural cooperation between the Government of Astrakhan region and the Regional Council of the Central Bohemian Region (01.08.2012) is in force.

In the spring of 2020, during the visit of the delegation of the Czech Republic to the region, the Governor of Astrakhan region Igor Babushkin, met with the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Czech Republic to the Russian Federation, Vitezslav Pivonka, during which the head of the region expressed interest in building up relations with the Czech Republic and, above all, in increasing the export of Astrakhan goods and agricultural products to the Czech market.

The Governor highlighted that the region is interested in implementing joint projects in the field of agriculture: from cultivation to deep processing of crop products using Czech technologies. The Governor invited Czech companies interested in localizing their manufacturing facilities in Russia to take advantage of the preferences of the Lotus special economic zone.

Given the importance of recruiting investors and partners from technologically advanced European countries to the region, the Government of Astrakhan region remains committed to undertaking efforts to establish contacts with the Federal Republic of Germany.

For this purpose, presentations of the economic and investment potential of the region, the possibilities of the Lotus special economic zone are held at Russian-German events of various formats and levels.

A successful example of cooperation with German partners is the ongoing activity in Astrakhan region of the plant for the extraction and processing of gypsum stone and the production of dry building mixes of KNAUF Gypsum Baskunchak. The company embarked on a deep modernization of production, introducing new methods of gypsum extraction, and implemented a number of social projects.

German consumers are well aware of the products of Astrakhan producers, which are consistently supplied to Germany. These are mainly fish products of various processing methods (mostly frozen fillets).

The region's relations with Germany are not limited to trade and economic cooperation.

Youth exchanges are regularly held in partnership with the Siegen Youth Association (since 2002), and joint projects are implemented in the social and educational sphere, culture and sports. A German language and testing Center with certification by the German Goethe Institute has been established in the region. In recent years (2018-2019), Astrakhan-based Young Spectator Theater has successfully toured Germany. Astrakhan performances were shown to the audience in Berlin and Hamburg. In 2020, a number of regional cultural institutions of the Astrakhan region took part in the international project "Days of Germany in the Regions of Russia".

In cooperation with the Russian Center for Science and Culture in Berlin, various events were repeatedly held, including the Days of Culture of the Astrakhan region, presentations of publishing projects in the region and other events designed for compatriots living in Germany. Business missions are being exchanged, and cooperation with the Karl Osse German Charitable Society and his creator, Honorary citizen of Astrakhan Wolf Bauer.

Cooperation between Astrakhan region and the Hellenic Republic began with the visit of the delegation of the province of Central Macedonia in 2010, during which they expressed mutual interest in establishing bilateral cooperation in the areas of trade, agriculture and horticulture.

To the greatest extent, it was possible to establish cooperation in the field of agriculture. Since 2012, the Astrakhan Region has been implementing a program for the cultivation of fast-growing orchards using Greek seedlings of stone crops: peach, nectarine, plum, and cherry. Since its creation, the fruit products of the "Greek" gardens have proven themselves on the positive side and are in steady demand both in the Astrakhan region and abroad. Currently, the issue of cultivating Greek varieties of almonds and cotton in the Astrakhan region is being considered.

In 2018, the company was registered and operates in the Astrakhan region "Technoplastika" with the participation of Italian, Russian and Greek capital, which produces packaging containers for fruit and vegetable products.

In the field of education and science, Astrakhan State University has signed an agreement on cooperation in the field of higher and postgraduate education and research with the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, which provides, among other things, for joint research in the field of agriculture.

In recent years, the Government of Astrakhan region has intensified relations with partners from Italy.

The region has a positive experience of cooperation with Italian partners in both the economic and humanitarian spheres. Thus, an Italian company Saipem participated in the implementation of a large offshore project on the shelf of the Caspian sea for the implementation of offshore operations and the construction of pipelines in the Filanovsky field. Astrakhan plants, combined in the shipbuilding cluster together with "Rosetti Marino Spa", implemented a series of orders for the Italian group of companies "Agip".

In 2019, two companies with Italian capital, namely, Naval Design, manufacturer of ship panels and JSC "Technologies – XXI century", manufacturer of tool brushes used in shipbuilding, pipe industry and in the construction of pipelines, obtained resident status with the Lotus special economic zone.

In 2018 a delegation of the Italian company Confartigianato Imprese Varese visited the region on a business mission. Confartigianato Imprese Varese (Varese, Lombardy region), which is a partner of Astrakhan State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering in the field of training architectural and technical specialists, as well as joint research projects. The meetings and negotiations resulted in the possibility for Astrakhan students to complete an internship in 3D design at the Faberlab enterprise, which is part of Confartigianato Imprese Varese.

In 2018-2020 Honorary Consul General of the Italian Republic in Krasnodar, Pierpaolo Lodigiani, visited Astrakhan. During the negotiations with the members of the Government of Astrakhan region possibilities for implementing a project for the production of components for energy systems in the SEZ "Lotus", participation of Italian businesses in projects for the cultivation of garlic and carrots in Astrakhan region, and intensive gardening were thoroughly discussed.

The Government of Astrakhan region is also taking steps to establish cooperation with prospective partners from the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Between 1990-2000, the region enjoyed close cooperation ties with the Netherlands-based companies.  

In recent years, a number of negotiations have been held with leading Dutch companies specializing in the field of shipbuilding and ship repair, in order to study advanced European technologies, as well as attract investors and residents to the special economic zone "Lotus". In addition, meetings were organized with the leading agricultural producers of the Netherlands regarding cooperation in the field of greenhouse farming.

In 2020, construction of a series of dredgers for operation on the Russian rivers Irtysh and Severnaya Dvina began at the site of the anchor resident of the Astrakhan SEZ, the Lotos Shipbuilding Plant, designed by the Dutch company Royal IHC.