A new law opens the way for Russian border communities to collaborate with neighbouring countries in new areas. The Barents
Secretariat believes that Moscow wants to create greater regional cooperation.
The new legislation was signed by Russian President, Vladimir Putin, on Wednesday last week.
There are twelve specific areas for cross-border cooperation, among them, economics, transport, energy, agriculture, fisheries,
health, and disaster management.
According to BarentsObserver newspaper, the new legislation extends possible areas of co-operation, but agreements can’t be
concluded that violate national security interests. The agreements must also be approved by government authorities.
‘Our impression is that this is a signal from Moscow, primarily to Murmansk and Arkhangelsk, that they want the Barents counties
to engage in county to county cooperation. We see it as positive input for more cooperation,’ said the General Manager of the
Barents Secretariat, Lars Georg Fordal, to NTB news agency.
The Secretariat’s chief knows of the law only from Russian websites, and BarentsObserver newspaper, and will study it further
before he can say anything about it that will be of particular significance for Norwegian local cooperation across the border with Russia.
Petsjenga, in the province of Murmansk, is one of the Russian municipalities that may now form closer economic ties to both Norway,
and Finland. According to the BarentsObserver, the municipality has a friendship agreement with Sør-Varanger.
The northern Norwegian counties already cooperate with Russian neighbouring counties through the Barents Cooperation
Agreement, and county councils.
© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today