On the border of centuries the Republic of Karelia started working out its own conception of the territory development. The unique geographical situation of the Republic - the extensive border line with Finland - determined the international relations as a priority in the regional Karelian strategy.
Foreign orientation of the development of the Republic is due to the fact that speaks for itself - more than
40% of industry, services, trade, researches, cultural relations, and, respectively, the population of Karelia directly or indirectly is closely associated with international activities.
The strategy of the Government of our Republic could be formulated like this: "the Republic of Karelia - Euroregion 2000". What do we mean? First of all, the transference of the center of business, culture, political activities from the federal center to regions including Karelia. the development is planned to carry out gradually adopting the region development experience of European countries.
The strategy "Euroregion 2000" envisages the creation of market economy, the defense of the person`s rights, further democratization of society.
We suppose that at present we have all the preconditions for the successful realization of the strategy. Having finished "the cold war" the process of rationalization of international relations is in full swing in Europe. The regional factor is of great importance in foreign policy of the countries. In 1991 was declared the sovereignty of Karelia. Since that the international connections of
our region have been developed greatly and undergone deep quality changes (especially during the last
2-3 years). For example, by 1990 few Karelian towns have had sister-towns in Finland and - for comparison- by 1995 the Republic have signed the agreements with 6 provinces (Oulu, Pohyalan Karyala, Kuopio, Mikkeli, Turku-Pori, Keski-Soumi) and two commune unions (Savo, South Karyala,)
of Finland, the Swedish province (Vesterbotten), Norwegian (Troms), the state in the USA (Vermont),
the voevodstvo in Poland (Chechanovo) and one of the Georgia (Adjaria).
Northern Europe is of great importance now and will be for the next century. Since 1993 Karelia
has taken part in the activities of the Barents Euro-Arctic Region Council, the Council of the Baltic-sea
countries, the Euroregion Assembly. The working Program of the Ministry Council of Northern countries
has been in action for three years and many common projects are being realized in the frameworks of this Program. Bilateral agreement with Finland is the most important in foreign relations. It is being realized on the base of Russian-Finnish agreement on cooperation for the contiguous territories. (It was signed in 1992). Since 1992 more than 250 projects have been carried out in different spheres of life
International connections of our region acquired new quality with European Union drawing nearer to the Russian-Finnish border. In 1995 Finland joined the European Union and it meant that our region has the only land border line with united Europe. The interest of the European Union and other international
institutions to the North-Western part of Russia including Karelia. A lot of common projects with Danish, Finnish, Swedish, French, German partners have been realized in the framework of the TACIS program. The latter were directed to reforming the system of state and local government, education, public health service and welfare, forestry in the Republic of Karelia.