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New Stadler Factory solemnly opens in Fanipol, near Minsk, with President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko in attendance

Zone of responsibility doesn’t endure uncaring emptiness

By Vasily Kharitonov

New Stadler Factory solemnly opens in Fanipol, near Minsk, with President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko in attendance

All those present were impressed by the quietness of the new train, which Mr. Lukashenko boarded, alongside Stadler Head Peter Spuhler, to travel to the official ceremony venue, within the plant workshop. It was almost hard to believe that assembly continued nearby, as there were no unpleasant smells, despite the newly painted carriages being beside those gathered. The spacious room itself was comfortable, including a place to hang coats, a stage, seating, and stands serving tea and coffee, as well as national Swiss sweets.

Launch of Stadler Minsk electric train production to drive forward development in Fanipol
Launch of Stadler Minsk electric train production to drive forward development in Fanipol

The Fanipol facility has been constructed in a short period of time, with the first stone laid just two years ago. Now, it’s ready to fulfil a major contract for Russian Aeroexpress. New orders are in hand, so the facility has been designed with expansion of its range in mind.

The President sincerely thanked Mr. Spuhler for his hard work and exemplary partnership: qualities not to be taken for granted.

Stadler’s work in Belarus has been a perfect investment example of injecting cold hard cash into the country: constructing a factory and sharing the latest technologies. In addition, it already enjoys healthy sales markets and is gradually expanding them. Minsk advocates such an approach and, according to the President, will view the factory as its own — rendering support as it would to a Belarusian company. Mr. Spuhler is appreciative, seeing the factory as ‘a sign of progression rather than recession’.

Stadler’s investments into the Belarusian economy are a wise response to modern economic challenges: in times of economic disturbance, solidarity is more useful than sanctions. Only joint efforts can help overcome objective global problems.

In line with the plan, Stadler’s partner, Belkommunmash, is to undergo further development, including staff training, to ensure that modernisation is embraced in every sphere. The President has tasked enterprise heads with having their scheme for future development ready by late 2014, for liaison with the Government, and the Minsk City and Regional Executive Committees.

When answering journalists’ questions during his visit to Stadler Minsk Factory, Alexander Lukashenko said that Western sanctions will not affect the co-operation between the European Union, Belarus and the Eurasian Economic Union.

Speaking about sanctions, Mr. Lukashenko believes they are an anachronism. “You know that it was not Europe who initiated this. Europe is suffering major losses because of these sanctions. However, apparently, Europe is now too dependent on other centres of power,” noted the President.

In his opinion, no matter how difficult, the situation in Ukraine will calm, allowing these sanctions to be abandoned sooner or later. “Whatever the sanctions may be, people in the West and in the East are much smarter than those who impose sanctions; they will find avenues of co-operation in all areas. It is impossible to squeeze business and hard to isolate ‘one person’ today. Such gigantic regions as the Eurasian Union and the EU will never be isolated,” added Mr. Lukashenko, noting that ties remain close. “The time will come and we will forget about these sanctions. However, before we do so, we’ll overcome them, as will such businessmen as Peter Spuhler. No one will make them abandon the investments they’ve brought here. No politician will agree to this, otherwise they are not politicians. Business will not let them do it,” the President remarked.

In the cabin of the new electric train
In the cabin of the new electric train

The new Stadler Minsk Factory will contribute to Fanipol’s development

Mr. Lukashenko underlined that its opening in the town is of special importance. “Firstly, it strengthens Belarus’ export potential and, secondly, the project will play a social role, inspiring new life into Fanipol. The town is projected to become a Minsk satellite-town — uniting suburban communities and a machine building centre, with good infrastructure and comfortable living and working conditions,” said Mr. Lukashenko.

Alexander Lukashenko is confident in expansion of economic co-operation with foreign partners

The Head of State is convinced that the successful operation of Stadler Rail Group in Belarus will inspire other companies. “We have many promising investment projects, which we are eager to implement, with the assistance of foreign capital,” noted Mr. Lukashenko. “Therefore, we are always ready to discuss initiatives and proposals bolstering our economy, creating modern high-tech enterprises, alongside infrastructure and new, highly-paid jobs.”

Congratulating all those present at the launch of the Stadler Minsk Factory, the President stressed, “The quality and reputation of Belarusian electric trains should be top notch, inspiring pride.”

Answering journalists’ questions after the Stadler Minsk solemn opening ceremony, Mr. Lukashenko stressed that Belarus will provide preferential terms only to world-class companies manufacturing high-tech and competitive products. “We are not planning or building any secondary-level companies, since we have no need for facilities producing unpopular products. Modern markets are strong and demonstrate serious competition,” he said.

As the President explained, Swiss Stadler Rail Group enjoys good conditions in Belarus, to set up production of modern electric trains. The company’s goods are well-known for their high quality and are definitely popular worldwide — including on demanding European markets. Stadler recently received a major order from Moscow. “We create conditions and provide preferences only to world-class companies manufacturing highly-competitive products The Swiss company has come here with money, new technologies and its own market: it knows where to sell its products,” the Head of State noted.
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