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EU allocates $31 million for economic projects in Karelia

The European Union will allocate €23 million ($31 million) to implement international projects for the development of the energy sector, forestry and health services in Russia’s northwestern region of Karelia.

Euregio Karelia was set up by the EU in February 2000. It is based on the deep historical and cultural roots of bilateral Finnish-Karelian links and cooperation. Euregio Karelia is a form of cross-border cooperation based on the regions’ own requirements and the European model. “The implementation of the program ‘New Neighborhood. Euregio Karelia’ will begin next year and continue through 2013,” said Viktor Davydov, the head of administration under the governor of Karelia. The program will involve border regions of Russia and Finland. Trade between the two countries has doubled in the last five years, reaching $474 million in 2006.

The European community has pledged to allocate over €300 million ($405 million) for seven cross-border cooperation programs to be implemented jointly with Russia from 2008 to 2013 in western regions of the country. Russia will contribute about €200 million ($270 million). (