Cooperation at EU’s external border starts
The Cross-Border Cooperation programmes South-East Finland – Russia, Kolarctic and Karelia implemented between Russia, Finland, and the North Calotte become fully operational from the 1 October 2018 onwards, now that the official procedures in connection to the ratification of the Financing Agreements are completed. This means that from that date, the Managing Authorities of the programmes may sign Grant Contracts with the awarded projects, which have been waiting to launch their actions.
The programming phase, started already in May 2013, has been relatively long and faced quite many challenges. However, in terms of regional development and national strategies, it has been remarkable that the Cross-Border Cooperation initiative has been handled outside and independent of political decisions and sanctioning.
By maintaining a dialog between the programmes’ stakeholders in the European Commission, Finland and Russia, the programmes are able to guarantee operational status and key priorities in the cooperation between the European Union and the Russian Federation. By implementing the joint projects, the programmes are able to solve challenges that note no geographical borders. “Launching of the European union co-funded cross-border cooperation programmes will open lot of opportunities for the development of the border regions in Finland and Russia”, states Petri Haapalainen, ministerial adviser from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland.
Funding for cross-border cooperation
Karelia and South-East Finland are cross-border cooperation programmes implemented in Finland and Russia. Kolarctic involves regions also from Sweden and Norway. The programmes manage operations in their eligible areas covering the whole ca. 1340 kilometers borderline between Finland and Russia.
By today, the programmes’ Joint Monitoring Committees have approved in total 66 standard development projects for funding, and also, 13 micro-projects in Karelia. The progammes have also short-listed those Large Infrastructure Projects, which are currently in the further assessment phase in the European Commission. The financing of the three programmes is in total € 178 million, which consist of funding from the European Union, Russia and Finland, and in the case of Kolarctic, also Sweden and Norway. The funded projects can be carried out until the end of 2022.
The programmes involve actions such as support to development of business and SMEs, accessibility of the regions, environmental protection and fighting challenges with climate change. Culture, education, research and innovations are crossing themes in each programme. Safety and security as well as the development of fluent mobility are also supported at the border-crossing points and water areas.
Some funding is still available for new ideas and the last Calls for Proposals will be arranged in 2019. More information of the projects that have received awards, and up-coming or running opportunities to apply for funding are available via following links:
South-East Finland – Russia CBC: https://www.sefrcbc.fi
Kolarctic CBC: http://kolarctic.info
Karelia CBC: http://www.kareliacbc.fi/en
South-East Finland – Russia CBC
Acting Programme Director Tiina Jauhiainen
Programme Director Marko Ruokangas
Programme Manager Riikka Oittinen