The Main Topics of the Bulletin N1
of the TACIS Project "Euregio "Karelia" as a Tool of Civil Society"
Greeting of Sergey Katanandov, Head of the Government of the Republic of Karelia
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Here is the first issue of Bulletin devoted to Euregio Karelia. Our Euregio is
very young, but long and positive experience of cooperation between the Republic of
Karelia and border areas of Finland, i.e. Regional Councils of Kainuu, Northern
Karelia and Northern Ostrobothnia, has preceded its foundation. In the course of last
years of cooperation we have succeeded in reaching an understanding with our
neighbors: hundreds of joint Russian and Finnish projects have been implemented;
economic cooperation between border areas has livened up; sister relations have
actively developed. In our republic we are using approaches to border cooperation
stated in the Concept of Border Cooperation in the Russian Federation. Developing
our relations with Finland we develop also trade, economic, cultural and scientific
contacts with other Russian regions, we put into effect initiatives expounded in the
Concept of Social and Economic Development of the Republic of Karelia, 2002-2010.
In 2000 we have made a very important step in coordinating efforts in the field of
further development of transborder contacts: we have elaborated the programme
named "Our common border" where we have taken into account provisions of the
Karelia's Cross Border Cooperation Programme, 2001 – 2006 and Interreg – IIIA –
Karelia Programme. All this has allowed us to move to a higher level of contacts with
We hope that cooperating within Euregio Karelia will contribute to further
intensification of mutual understanding and confidence between our countries and
also facilitate efforts of the Russian Federation in approaching European Union.
Chairman of the Government Republic of Karelia,
Member of Presidium of State Council
Greeting of Kainuu Hannes Kemppainen, Head of the Regional Council
One year has already passed since establishment of Euregio Karelia. In the
course of this year we have been laying foundation of our future cooperation. The
programme "Our common border in 2001 – 2006" representing Action Programme
for next years was approved at the Second Meeting of the Administrative Committee.
This programme is updated and verified in accordance with annual action plans. The
document includes a list of prioritized projects that participants of Euregio desire to
We set all our hopes on Euregio and we believe that such a form of interaction
has good prospects. Our aim is to create a new model of transborder cooperation
between the Regional Councils of Kainuu, Northern Karelia, Northern Ostrobothnia
and the Republic of Karelia. Removal of barriers preventing co-operation between
territories is also one of our objectives. First of all, development of communication
between people from border areas seems to be significant.
In 2000 we have started implementing the third stage of the Interreg – III A –
Karelia programme. Cross Border Cooperation projects of the Regional Councils of
Kainuu, Northern Karelia, Northern Ostrobothnia and the Republic of Karelia are
financed within the framework of this programme.
Projects oriented to development of economic and scientific co-operation, to
cooperation in the field of Education and Culture, as well as projects oriented to
improvement of transport infrastructure in border areas shall be implemented within
the framework of Interreg – III A – Karelia Programme in 2000 – 2006.
I am convinced that we are moving to a new stage of cooperation between our
territories. Regardless of such a short period of time the activity of Euregio Karelia
has already roused interest not only at regional level but also at international level.
Our Euregio represents a unique border community on external borders of EU. It can
serve as a specific example of filling in EU policy the Northern Dimension with
concrete content. Border territory of our states is famous for its beautiful and rich
nature that is a strong side of our cooperation. Our common culture based on
Karelian and Finnish epos "Kalevala", ancient trade roads of merchants linked our
territories in 18 century are natural prerequisites for development of cooperation at
the current stage including through modern communication means and high
Chairman of Regional Council of Kainuu
Co-chairman of the Euregio Karelia
Minister of Foreign Relations Republic of Karelia
Co-chairperson of Euregio Karelia
Euregio Karelia – new challenges and new opportunities
There would be no exaggeration if we say that in 2000 Karelia attracted
attention of many European and Russian experts in the field of Regional Policy. On
one hand the Republic of Karelia is a subject of the Russian Federation occupying an
important strategic position in Barents and Baltic Sea Regions, which is located on the
way of future transborder projects and which has lately brought up a few initiatives in
the field of strategic planning of inter-regional interaction. On the other hand it is
Euregio Karelia which is an international formation of border areas of Russia and
Finland. Last year the new Euregio Concept was recognized and approved in Moscow
and Helsinki, as well as in EU capital Brussels. It was also recognized by local
authorities of districts, towns, communes, by non-governmental organizations, by
representatives of business circles and youth, by mass media. For about 6 years we
have been conducting a dialogue with our partners in Finland and EU on necessity to
coordinate national and regional program of social and economic development with
EU programmes like Tacis and Interreg. And at last by the present time sings of
mutual understanding have started showing. We have managed to do one main thing,
t.i. we have got a principal consent of all concerned parties to harmonize these
programmes. Next step to be undertaken is to define a mechanism of establishing a
regional quote for the new formation of Euregio Karelia. We seem to have introduced
rather attractive proposals on preparation, selection of prioritized projects, their
financing by municipal, regional, national and international funds, their monitoring
with participation of observers from the European Commission, the Ministries of
Foreign Relations of Russia and Finland. Our Consultative Commission consisting of
the representatives of the Parliaments of Finland and Karelia and municipalities'
leaders has been operating for 10 years. Karelian and Finnish Workshop on
cooperation of border regions at ministerial level has been working for 9 years. Sister
relationship established between Karelian towns and districts and over 60 town and
communes in Finland has become a very meaningful factor. The Euregio Karelia
Administrative Committee has started working in February, 2000. It consists of heads
of a few Karelian Ministries and leaders of Border Regional Councils in Finland. On
the whole we succeeded in establishing an optimal organizational structure of
cooperation between border regions. Having constant contacts we have worked out
step by step approaches to joint planning of border cooperation. It should be noted
that the essential principles of our cooperation are as follows: mutual appreciation of
interests of neighbors on both sides of the border and appreciation of interests of
European partners, transparency and publicity. Experience of joint implementation of
more than 300 projects serves as a good base of confidence between partners. Euregio
Karelia being a pilot territory like Kaliningrad region can become a specific
laboratory where are used new forms of transborder cooperation, joint
entrepreneurship, cultural mutual penetration, scientific exchanges, contacts between
youth. All this will contribute to sustainable development of territories and will
equilibrate social standards on both sides of the border.
Besides we consider Euregio Karelia as an initial element of spatial planning
of social and economic development of border regions. It is possible to come up to
joint investment planning in the nearest future for instance in forest sector of the
economy. The Government of the Republic of Karelia and the Finish – Swedish
Company 'Stora Enso' have expressed a mutual interest not only in specific point
projects but in a deeper systematic approach to problems of non-exhausting forest use
and reforestation in the Republic of Karelia through using domestic experience and
Scandinavian technologies. In any case in our opinion EU policy the Northern
Dimension as well as the Russian medium-term strategy oriented to EU shall have no
good prospects if joint spatial planning tools are not used at sub-regional level. We
need a general logic of selecting mutually advantageous transborder projects which
shall make Northern Europe more attractive in terms of investment region all over the
world. Euregio Karelia is aimed at this purpose.
In connection with the aforesaid let me mention the project named "Spatial
planning in Euregio Karelia". Within the framework of this project an analytical
report on current state of border regions and maps of a scale 1:100000 showing
perspective objects of transport, technical and customs infrastructure were made up.
This is a joint work done by Karelian and Finish specialists, experts, representatives
of civil and municipal servants.
Establishment of Euregio Karelia has given an impulse to develop joint social
projects in the field of Health Care, Social Defense, Education, support to Finnish and
Karelian culture in the Republic of Karelia. Foundation of Ethnic and Cultural Center
using the plot of worldly famous epos "Kalevala" has started in Kalevala and
Kostomuksha. Future generations will have an opportunity to appreciate completely a
unique beauty of Karelian culture which doubtlessly occupies a merited place in a
range of other European cultures. That is why we hope to get support to the project
initiated by local authorities from European Union.
Moreover Euregio Karelia for us is an opportunity to study energetically
European experience in the field of Regional Administration, Local Self-Government,
Civil Society Building and to use this experience in carrying out reforms in the
Republic. We are elaborating the Concept of Social and Economic Development of
Karelia for 2002 – 2006. Its qualitative difference from similar documents will be a
comprehensive consideration of all new challenges and opportunities that Euregio
Karelia has brought in our life.
Euregio Karelia – general information
Euregio is an area formed by three regional councils of Finland – Kainuu, Northern
Karelia and Northern Ostrobothnia, and the Republic of Karelia of the Russian
The territory of Euregio Karelia is extending from the Gulf of Bothnia of the Baltic
Sea to the White Sea, and from the polar circle to Ladoga Lake. The most part of it is
situated between 62 and 66 degrees of latitude and 24 and 34 degrees of longitude.
The total area of the territory is about 263700 km 2, besides Karelia covers two-thirds
of this area. The area of the Republic of Karelia is 180 500 km2, which is equal to the
half of the territory of Finland. The area of the Finnish part of the euregio is 83 167
km2. It will take you only a couple of hours to get from Kajaani to Kostamuksha
through Vartius-Lytta cross-border point, as well as from Joensuu to Sortavala
through Vartsila –Niirala cross-border point.
The area of the Finnish part of the Euregio forms the forth part of the total area of
Finland, but only 12% of population of the whole country live there. The Republic of
Karelia covers a bit more than one percent of the total area of the Russian Federation,
and its population is about 0,5% of the whole country's population.
The length of the common border between Russia and Finland is 1300 km. 750 km of
the total length belong to the territory of Euregio Karelia.
The overall population of Euregio Karelia is 1 400 000 people. The majority (775 000
people) lives on the territory of the Republic of Karelia and 626 000 – in Finland.
Lately the population on this territory has reduced in comparison with the previous
decade. Density of the population on this territory is quite scarce, is a bit more than 5
people per 1 km2. There are unsettled areas on both sides of the border. Cities are
comparatively more populated.
In the structure of the economy of Euregio Karelia the leading position hold services
both in the Republic of Karelia and in the Regional Councils. At least two-thirds of
the working population is emloyed in this sphere. On the second place – industry and
construction, after them go agriculture and forestry.
From the point of economic income the main sphere of economy in the Republic of
Karelia is industry, but the sphere of services creates the majority of working places –
63% of the total number of working places in the Republic of Karelia. This sphere
keeps growing especially in the field of transportation. It is expected that in the
nearest future tourism will become an important source of income.
The structures of economies of the Regional Councils of Finland have much in
common. A small difference can be noticed at the level of communes and provinces.
Every tenth person of the total working population is employed in agriculture and
forestry, every fourth – in industry and construction.
This structure reflects the economy based on natural resources. The modern industry
is developed even less than on the average in all regions. Industry's up-to-dating can
reduce migration of the population, but it will take time to settle people on this
"Euregio Karelia – as a tool for civil society"- project
The partners of the "Euregio Karelia- as a tool for civil society" project are the
Regional Councils of Finland – Kainuu, Northern Karelia and Northern
Ostrobothnia - and the Ministry of Foreign Relations of the Republic of
Karelia. The purpose of the project is to launch an information-dissemination
campaign to make Euregio Karelia known both internationally and regionally.
Both traditional methods (publications in magazines and newspapers) as well
as modern communication modes such as Internet and video will be used in
Russia and abroad to achieve this purpose.
The following activities will be implemented within the project:
- Design and implementation of Euregio Karelia video film in Russian,
Finnish and English languages. The film will provide a comprehensive
picture of Euregio Karelia, prerequisites of its foundation and potential for
development of co-operation in border areas;
- Creation of Euregio Karelia's www-pages (Ru, Fi, En). Information about
Euregio Karelia's activity, on-going projects and news of cross-border co-
operation will be presented in Internet at these pages;
- Arrangement of seminars dedicated to development of co-operation in
border regions of Russia and Finland;
- Producing of Euregio Karelia bulletins (Ru, Fi, En) depicting everyday life
on the territory of Euregio Karelia.
Establishment of Euregio Karelia
- January, 1998 – at the international seminar "EU borders- soft borders" hold in
Joensuu (Finland) the Government of the Republic of Karelia presented the idea
of creation of Euregio Karelia, which later on was supported by the leaders of the
Regional Councils of Finland – Kainuu, Northern Karelia and Northern
- June, 1998 – the idea of establishing a new model for cross-border cooperation in
the North of Europe was approved by the Consultative Committee of the subjects
of the Russian Federation:
- September, 1998 – the Administrative Committee of Interreg-IIA-Karelia
provided funding for the preparation of the Euregio Karelia concept;
- October, 1998 – at the international seminar "Future Interreg-III" hold in Vaasa
(Finland) the project "Euregio Karelia" and Finnish-Estonian "Euregio 3+3" was
supported by the Ministry of internal affairs of Finland;
- October, 1999 – the initiative was supported in DJ I and XVI of the European
- October 1999 – in European commission at the international conference Interreg-
Infoday hold in Brussels the concept of Euregio Karelia was presented;
- November, 1999 – the idea of Euregio was supported at the international
conference concerning cross-border cooperation under the aegis of the Council of
Europe hold in cities of Kuhmo (Finland) and Kostomuksha (Russia);
- February, 2000 – the formation of Euregio Karelia was confirmed at the I session
of the Euregio Administrative Committee in Joensuu (Finland) by signing
- October, 2000 – The Government of the Republic of Karelia approved "The
program of cross-border cooperation of the Republic of Karelia for 2002-2006".
The Government of Finland approved and sent to the European Union the
program Interreg-IIIA-Karelia. The programs comprised common parts and areas
- November, 2000 – common Program of Activities for 2001-2006 and Action plan
for the following year comprising a list of 9 prioritised projects for
implementation were approved at the II session of the Euregio Administrative
committee hold in Kostomuksha (Russia);
- January 2001 – the Euregio's activities were supported by EU Tacis/CBC
program: European Commission provided funding (EURO 160 000) for the
"Euregio Karelia – as a tool for civil society" – project.
Program "Our common border 2001-2006"
The Program «Our common border 2001-2006» is based on two programs "The
program of cross-border co-operation of the Republic of Karelia for 2001-2006" and
"Interreg-IIIA-Karelia 2000-2006". This program is the basis for co-operation within
the framework of Euregio Karelia. According to the European experts' opinion this is
a unique document in its way, because there is no similar examples either in European
Union or in Russia. One of the objectives of this program is to present to European
Union common approach of the Finland's and Russian Federation's border regions to
problems facing in cross-border co-operation and to transfer decision-making powers
on Tacis/CBC projects to the regional level.
The program comprises a list of prioritised projects, which the parties of Euregio
Karelia undertake to implement:
- Development of the cross-border point Kortesalmi-Suopera in accordance with
standards required to international cross-border points
- Sortavala sewage treatment works rehabilitation
- Special industrial complex in Kostamuksha (PIK)
- Joensuu and Petrozavodsk as centres of scientific co-operation
- Support to Finnish language and Karelian culture through National theatre of the
Republic of Karelia
- Development of health care and social services in Karelia under changing
- Construction of heating power stations utilising local fuel resources in Kalevala
- Social and medical rehabilitation of drag addicts and prophylactics of dependence
on psychedelic substances in Karelia
- Development of border areas of Belomorskaya Karelia
The following spheres of co-operation are acknowledged as long-term objectives,
which can form independent "umbrella"-projects:
- Support to civil society development in Karelia
- Strategy of informational society development
The list of aforementioned projects will be up-to-dated in the course of work.
Activities for the year 2001
Last updated: 21 May 2001
- March – Producing of Euregio Karelia bulletin #1;
- 29-30 March – III meeting of the Euregio Administrative Committee in Oulu,
- 18-19 April – arranging of information seminar «Euregio Karelia - new
opportunities for co-operation between Finland and Karelia», Kostomuksha,
- 14-16 May – the IX th session of Russin-Finnish Intergovernmental Woking
Grope on between Border Areas Co-operation;
- May – June – a seminar under the aegis of the Ministry of finance of Finland
concerning the issues of local and regional self-government;
- July – Design and implementation of Euregio Karelia video film;
- September - IVth meeting of the Euregio Karelia Administrative committee in the
Republic of Karelia;
- September – visit of the Minister on border region co-operation of Finland
J.E.Enestam to the Republic of Karelia;
- October – arranging of seminar within the framework of "Euregio Karelia – as a
tool for civil society" – project in Joensuu, Finland;
- October- November – meeting of chairmen of the Karelian-Finnish Working
Grope on Border Region Co-operation in the Republic of Karelia;
- November – creating of Euregio Karelia Internet-site;
- December – producing of Euregio Karelia bulletin #2.