Putin signs law easing cross-border cooperation with Norway and Finland

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Central square in Zapolyarny, a Russian border town on the Kola Peninsula. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)
Russian border municipalities, like Pechenga on the Kola Peninsula, can now conclude agreements with Norway and Finland. If Moscow agrees.

The new law [available here in pdf] widens the scope of possible cooperation Russian border municipalities can have with neighbours.

Among the 12 areas listed for cross-border cooperation in the new law are economy, transport, energy, culture, sport, tourism, ecology, agriculture and fisheries, science and education, health and liquidating extreme situations and catastrophes.

The law was signed by President Putin on July 26, just a week after it was approved by the Federation Council and less than two weeks after being adopted by the State Duma.

Previous agreements

Pechenga in the Murmansk region is one of the Russian border regions that now can boost economic and cultural ties with its neighbours to the west. The municipality, known for its two industrial towns of Nikel and Zapolyarny, neighbours both Norway and Finland to the west.

Cross-border cooperation isn’t new to Pechenga. The municipality has friendship agreement with the Norwegian border town of Kirkenes and participate in the council of northern border municipalities also including Finland’s Inari municipality.

Although widening and easing possibilities for cooperation with entities in foreign states, the new law clearly underlines that no agreements can be made if it is not within the “interest of national security.”

Similar, agreements can be concluded by local governments, but only as long as the “highest executive authority of the state authority in the border region” approves it.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Poirier’s Revenge – The map of Canada has the wrong Arctic boundaries. No, really., blog by Heather Exner-Pirot

Finland:  Two French kayakers illegally cross Finnish border into Russia, Yle News

Norway: Russia, Norway border traffic up 18%, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Sweden faces criticism over border controls, Radio Sweden

Russia: Sharp drop in emissions near Norwegian border, says Russian mining company, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: Former Gov. Murkowski to explore creation of Alaska-Canada rail link, Alaska Dispatch News

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Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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