25 november 2008

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin addressed the State Border Commission in St Petersburg

Vladimir Putin

State Border Commission

"Clearly, we should not overlook our foreign economic objectives as we improve state control and modernise the border infrastructure. To be sure, we must work in tandem with our key partners on integration projects."

Vladimir Putin's address: 

Good afternoon, colleagues,

Before we get down to work, I would like to introduce new commission members-Dmitry Bezdelov, the head of the Federal Agency for the Development of the State Border, or Rosgranitsa, and Viktor Basargin, Regional Development Minister.

We have an extensive agenda today, including the development of the border infrastructure, streamlining the work of checkpoints, and guidelines of border policies in the context of the emergent EurAsEC Customs Union.

As you know, we visited the Torfyanovka motorway checkpoint on the Russian-Finnish border, close to St Petersburg, where reconstruction and re-equipment are taking place. The point successfully uses an automated checking complex and is ready to introduce processing of preliminary freight information. At the same time I regret to say that there has been no tangible progress at customs checkpoints yet. There are long queues, though there have been none at Torfyanovka for several days.

Random one-off steps will bring no results as the problem demands comprehensive efforts. One-stop and other pioneer technologies should be introduced more actively. We have launched an experiment to initiate the new patterns. I believe Andrei Belyaninov can give us more detailed information.

The experiment is a success in certain places. More than that, the commission set the essential goal of abolishing redundant border checks at its previous meeting. I would like to ask you to quickly introduce relevant legislative amendments.

The new patterns should not make checks more lenient and create loopholes to avoid paying customs duties and import counterfeit and dangerous cargos to Russia. I am sure the situation won't greatly improve unless we obtain a reliable cutting-edge border infrastructure.

As you know, federal agencies have improved their work in that field this year. Rosgranitsa is manning its territorial services, and has established a subordinate agency to build and exploit infrastructural projects. Rosgranitsa has been appointed coordinating developer of the Russian State Border federal target programme.

We will analyse its implementation now. I would like to particularly emphasise the deadlines and efficient use of government funds. In addition, we must ensure smooth teamwork of all government contractors.

The equipment of Sochi Olympic checkpoints is among our top priorities entitled to extra government allocations.

Clearly, we should not overlook our foreign economic objectives as we improve state control and modernise the border infrastructure. To be sure, we must work in tandem with our key partners on integration projects.

The formation of the Russian-Belarusian-Kazakh Customs Union has gained pace, largely on our partners' initiative, which I find correct and well-timed. The Customs Union will begin its work quite soon.

We must think about stability and security of the new institutions even now, and concentrate on increasing the effectiveness of transnational travel checks of individuals, cargos and transport. There is also an information system to be arranged for smooth cooperation of border guards and customs services. What we need is a unified information system.

Please coordinate all the questions that have come up with our colleagues as soon as possible. I have just discussed the matter with the Economic Development Minister and the Customs Service chief. I think coordination of these issues demands relevant intergovernmental agreements.

The Russian-Kazakh border demands the closest attention of all. Together with our Belarusian partners we have done a great deal for future Customs Union borders in the Union State framework. As for the Kazakh border and our partnership with Kazakhstan, it certainly demands much time, effort and money.

Let us not forget about drug trafficking on our south borders. Our federal agencies should closer cooperate with their Kazakh counterparts. Much has been done already for the necessary political and legal basis.

With consideration for the drug threat, I think the State Anti-Drug Committee should be extremely active in this work.