Finland’s close cooperation with Russia, based on an agreement signed in 1992,
focuses on the development of the neighbouring regions of Northwest Russia, in particular,
the Karelian Republic,
the Leningrad Oblast and the Murmansk Oblast. This regional cooperation aims to
promote the sustainable exchange of know-how through training, consulting,
seminars, visits and exchanges of expert personnel, studies, reports and joint
This cooperation is closely linked to the wider EU cooperation framework, including the Community’s neighbourhood policy, Northern Dimension policy and Russia policy. Finland’s overall strategy for cooperation with the neighbouring regions is defined by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry mainly contributes to regional cooperation with the aim to help create suitable conditions for the sustainable and diverse use of renewable natural resources in the neighbouring regions. The cooperation also aims to facilitate the development of agriculture and rural economies, improve the quality and safety of food products, and enhance the health and welfare of crops and farm animals.
The Ministry implements programme-based regional cooperation schemes that are financed from the regional cooperation funds administered by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The programmes are planned jointly by government officials from Finland and Russia. The key focus in all programmes is on the provision of advice and training. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry also uses its own funds to support small-scale schemes designed to enhance administrative practices in regions neighbouring Finland.
The Ministry’s regional cooperation work is administered by the International Affairs Unit of the Department of Agriculture.