Krasnodar passed the baton of the Russian-German Forum to the city of Düren (Germany)

The 14th Conference of Russian and German Partner Cities ended on 30 June in the capital of Kuban. The results were summed up at a ceremonial meeting in the Krasnodar Philharmonic of G.F. Ponomarenko. The city Mayor Evgeny Pervyshov addressed the people present. The venue of the next conference, which according to the established tradition will take place in Germany in two years, was also announced.  It is decided that the Conference 2019 will be held in Düren.

"We are grateful to our colleagues, all the participants in the Russian-German Forum for the good spirit they brought here. Together we are doing a great and important job of strengthening the sister city ties and friendship between the cities of Russia and Germany. We tried to show Krasnodar as it is — open, welcoming and hospitable," said Evgeny Pervyshov.

The Chairman of the German-Russian Forum, the former Prime Minister of the federal state of Brandenburg Matthias Platzeck, the Executive Vice President of the International Association "Twin Cities" Sergey Paramonov, guests and participants of the Conference also participated in the closing ceremony.

"We stayed in Krasnodar for three beautiful days. We felt not only that all the doors were wide open, but even more so that you opened your arms to us, and it has affected the spirit of the entire Conference. I've enjoyed it! On the political level, the Russian-German debate often boils down to competing accusations. In Krasnodar, we saw that things could be quite different and without hiding any discord we could communicate, seek and find points of contact. This is the special spirit of this Conference, which, I am sure, many must learn from us. It is important to keep it and carry on," said Matthias Platzeck.

Sergey Paramonov also noted the high organization of the Russian-German Forum and the warm reception of its participants in Krasnodar. He thanked the city and regional authorities, Governor of Kuban and Mayor of the city for the work done.

It is to be recalled that one of the innovations of the 14th Conference of Russian and German Partner Cities in Krasnodar was the holding of the Youth Forum, which opened the day before the the start of the main forum. In the course of two days, in Kuban State Technology University youth delegations representing sister cities of the Russian Federation and Germany comprised 18 focus groups and discussed what new bilateral projects could be implemented with participation of young people and how to develop those projects that are already in progress. Four of such projects were presented during the ceremony of the Conference closing.

For example, youth activists of Nizhny Novgorod and Essen, called the "green capital of Europe", proposed to launch a joint project in which young professionals from Nizhny Novgorod will learn from the experience of German colleagues in greening, improving the urban land and ecological environment.

Another tradition established in Krasnodar is the holding of street football competitions among youth teams of the two countries. It is planned to organize in future such "football games of tolerance" in the course of the FIFA World Cup in a number of Russian cities in 2018.

The Forum discussions and results were then described by representatives of 6 theme groups, which under the Conference's business programme worked in the exhibition and congress complex "Expograd Yug" during the day of May 29. Mayor of Krasnodar Evgeny Pervyshov participated in one of the discussions. 

In particular, they talked about the creation of a cluster of agricultural machinery production around the German factory "CLAAS" in Krasnodar, the introduction of the concept of "smart city", carrying out joint sporting and cultural activities, opportunities for joint projects in energy conservation and environmental protection, etc. In the Conference Evgeny Pervyshov, inter alia, signed the international declaration on energy efficiency and sustainable urban development, which has already been supported by 29 cities around the world.

Then Sergey Paramonov announced that the next 15th Conference of Russian and German Partner Cities will be held in 2019 in the city of Düren. Landrat of Düren district Wolfgang Spelthan went up on the stage and presented a video narrating about Düren to the audience in the hall.  Evgeny Pervyshov wished his colleague luck in holding the next Conference.

Sergey Paramonov added that, following the example of sister cities Karlsruhe and Krasnodar, which hosted the Russian-German Forum in 2015 and 2017, it is proposed to continue to pass the baton of the Conference holding from one city to its sister city, and in 2021 to hold it in the Russian partner city of Düren — Mytishchi. Düren and Mytishchi signed the agreement on sister city relations six years ago.

In conclusion an astronaut of the Russian Federal Space Agency Fedor Yurchikhin, who is now on board the International Space Station (ISS), also addressed the guests and the participants of the Conference. He noted that the organizers and participants of the Russian-German Forum are doing a great and important job of bringing cities and their inhabitants together.