The development of regional cooperation with European countries helps not only to improve the standard of living in Russian regions, but also to establish good neighborly relations with neighboring States. This direction is the more valuable that EU sanctions did not touch the projects of cross-border cooperation, said at the opening of the III forum of the border regions in Pskov, the speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko.
“The expansion and deepening of cooperation with European colleagues is one of the leading and the constant priorities of Russia,” she said. According to the Senator, the CBC program “does not solve the most pressing problems of border territories, but also to establish mutually beneficial cooperation and good neighborly relations with our European partners.”
“I want to emphasize that despite the complicated foreign policy situation, cross-border cooperation remains one of the few unaffected areas of practical cooperation between the EU and Russia”, – said the speaker, having in mind that EU sanctions imposed against Russia three years ago, did not affect the cross-border cooperation programmes. “It is, indeed, very important and meaningful indicator”, – said Matvienko.
Among the most successful projects of interregional cooperation with Europe, she highlighted the reconstruction of crossings and adjacent roads on the borders with Finland, Estonia, Latvia, the development of renewable energy in the border areas of the Arctic, the construction of sewage treatment plants and water supply systems, works for the environmental improvement of lake Peipsi. The head of the Federation Council also stressed that the total funding for the seven joint programmes of Russia and the EU amounted to about 260 million euros, of which 87 million – contribution of the Russian Federation.
Matvienko also recalled that in December last year, the Federation Council ratified the Protocol no 3 to the European outline Convention on transfrontier cooperation between territorial communities or authorities regarding European regional cooperation associations. “We hope that as a result of ratification will be removed many of the legal uncertainties that impede the successful functioning of Euroregions.
Practice shows that today it is the most advanced form of international integration,” she said. The head of the Federation Council emphasized that Russia’s participation created 8 Euro-regions, including Karelia, which includes the Republic of Karelia (Russia) and regional Union of communes of the North in Ostrobothnia, Kainuu and North Karelia (Finland).