A meeting of Head of Karelia Alexander Khudilainen with Consul of Petrozavodsk office of the Consulate General of Finland in St.Petersburg Tuomas Kinnunen devoted to a wide range of issues concerning cross-border and economic cooperation between Karelia and Finland has taken place on December, 15.
In his opening remarks Head of Karelia has thanked the Finnish party for preservation and development of good neighbourly relations.
– Disregard of its participation in the European Union, Finland pursues the consistent policy of good neighbourhood towards Karelia and Russia. Finnish business keeps taking interest in Karelia, and we are negotiating participation of Finnish entrepreneurs in the economy of our republic, – Alexander Khudilainen has told.
A good example of continuation of development of good neighborly relations in border territories was adoption of the cross-border cooperation strategy paper by the European Commission in October stating new regional programs of cross-border cooperation with Russia for 2014-2020. Head of the region has expressed gratitude to Finnish partners for their contribution to this decision, having mentioned that 21,5 mln. Euros was assigned on the Karelia ENPI CBC Program with possible extra financing from the European Regional Foundation. Now the governments of Russia and Finland have to make decisions on their co-financing of the budget of the program.
Alexander Khudilainen has also pointed out the growth of foreign trade relations between Karelia and Finland. In nine months of the current year foreign trade turnover with Finland has grown by more than 20%, having made 250 mln. dollars.
Participants of the meeting
A new sphere for future cooperation in the sphere of economy may become construction of Pyhäjoki nuclear power plant in the north of Finland. It is known that last week the Parliament of Finland by a majority of vote has approved construction of the nuclear power plant. According to Head of Karelia, this project is of great interest to Karelia, as the factory of Petrozavodskmash CJSC may take part in it. This enterprise being a part of the Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom) produces a wide range of equipment for nuclear power plants.
Matters at the meeting also concerned development of transport communication on Karelian site of the Russian-Finnish border, in particular, the project of construction of Syväoro international automobile border crossing point in Lahdenpohja region.
– We hope that the project of the road construction towards Syväoro border crossing point will be supported by our Finnish partners. As a result, we'll have another border crossing point that will contribute to the development of our region, – Alexander Khudilainen has told.
Alexander Khudilainen has also told about the plans of Karelia's development within the scope of preparation for the 100th anniversary of the republic.
– Karelia is a very close partner for us. We're glad that cross-border cooperation projects are specific and mutually beneficial. We see the results of their implementation both in Finland, and in Karelia, – Tuomas Kinnunen has mentioned at the meeting.
According to the Consul, Finland is watching Karelia's preparation for its 100th anniversary with particular interest, including possible involvement of Finnish companies in participation in the scheduled projects. As a whole, Russia remains one of the top three leading partners of Finland's foreign economic partners.
Sharp currency exchange-rate fluctuations could not but have an impact on decrease of the tourist flow from Russia to Finland. As Tuomas Kinnunen has told, authorities of the neighbouring country are doing their best to make border-crossing for people as smooth as possible, and a month ago have started to issue longer tourist visas for the term of two years.
– We hope that for the citizens of Karelia Finland will remain an amiable place for holidaymaking and for shopping, – Consul of Petrozavodsk office has told.
Valentin Chmil, Deputy Head of the Republic of Karelia and Minister of Economic Development of the Republic of Karelia, has also taken part in the meeting. He has addressed to Tuomas Kinnunen requesting his assistance in presentation of the investment project of a highway construction in Finland. The highway is supposed to connect Scandinavia with Central Russia through Syväoro border crossing point. For Karelia this commercial project would mean new jobs and growth of freight traffic, and for Finland it would provide an opportunity of prompt delivery of cargo to Central Russia and Asia.