Discussion on the experience and possibilities of cross-border cooperation between Russia and Finland took place in Petrozavodsk

November 2-3, 2017

Russia and Finland are connected not only by deep history, hundreds of kilometers of common border but also by long-term cultural traditions, experience of cooperation and understanding of importance of good neighborhood. 

For Karelia where the boundary between Russia and the European Union goes on, where are close ties between the neighbors, decades of sister-relations between towns and villages, with thousands of different joint projects, relations with Finland are of great importance. For decades Petrozavodsk cooperates with its sister-cities – Varkaus since 1965 and Joensuu – since 1994. A lot of direct contacts and partner relations have been established between citizens and different organizations for these years.  

In 2017 Finland marks the 100 anniversary of its independence. A diverse program devoted to the date is realizing both in Finland and abroad.

In Petrozavodsk during 2017 a number of informational and cultural events about history, traditions, experience of cross-border cooperation within the Year of Finland in Karelia are going on. Initiators and co-organizers of the program are Petrozavodsk State University, Institute of Language, Literature and History KarRC RAS, Petrozavodsk City Administration, Karelian Recourse Centre of NGO, National Archive of Karelia, National Theatre of Karelia, National Museum of Karelia, Petrozavodsk conservatory, Corporation for development of Karelia, “Karelia – Finland” friendship society and etc.    

One of the events the key purpose of which was discussion on achievement and challenges of cross-border cooperation – the International seminar “Russia and Finland: experience and possibilities for cross-border cooperation” was held in Petrozavodsk on November 2-3, 2017.

Two round tables: «Opportunities for business-cooperation» and «Public participation in development of territories and cooperation between Russia and Finland» were included into the seminar.

It became a meeting point for the specialists – representatives of business-support organizations, businessmen, public leaders, journalists, representatives of the regional authorities from the Republic of Karelia and Northern Karelia, Kainuu and Oulu, local self-governments – from Petrozavodsk, Veliky Novgorod and Joensuu. Consul General of Finland in St.Petersburg A. Lammila and Consul of Petrozavodsk branch of the Consulate General of Finland in St.Petersburg T. Nieminen welcomed participants.

Opening the seminar Vice-minister of Economic Development and Industry of the Republic of Karelia D. Kislov paid attention to activity of the Council on improving the investment climate and the development of competition in the Republic of Karelia as well as to launching of the next ENI Karelia CBC program. 

Russian Trade Representative to Finland in 2003-2017 and Russian International Affairs Council expert V. Shlyamin highlighted importance of cross-border cooperation between Russia and Finland as a unique example of Russia – EU collaboration – more than 300 projects were realized for the last years within this instrument. And both Finland and Karelia are aimed at further development of cross-border relations.

All participants of the seminar mentioned the joint experience and achieved level of understanding let us look to the future with optimism. At the same time contemporary situation, changes in the both countries raise new challenges which are externally and internally influenced. In its turn they effect on everyday practice and decisions. It is especially important for those who work in the field of relations between two countries. And it means we have to continue dialog.

The seminar program is enclosed.