Region of North Karelia and its capital city Joensuu now part of the Barents Cooperation. Photo: city of Joensuu on Facebook

Barents Region expands to North Karelia

The Finnish region becomes the 14th member in the Barents cooperation.
November 09, 2016


The Barents Regional Council, a cooperative body which includes northern territories of Finland, Norway, Russia and Sweden, has approved the full-fledged membership of North Karelia. 

The decision was made in a Council meeting in Luleå, Sweden, this Tuesday, the International Barents Secretariat informs

The inclusion of the northern Finnish province in the body comes after many years of membership negotiations. 

«This is a good example of patient work», Eira Varis, representative of North Karelia says in a press release. She believes the region will be able to successfully contribute in the cooperation, especially in fields like infrastructure development, and relations with the neighboring Russian Republic of Karelia.

North Karelia first applied for membership in the Council in 1997. Since year 2008, it has had observer status.  The region’s repeated membership bids have all been blocked by the three Norwegian member regions of Finnmark, Troms and Nordland.

«It is very natural that North Karelia becomes member of the Council», says Laura Quist, Deputy Head of the International Barents Secretariat. «The region has extensive cross-border relations with Russia», she underlines to the Barents Observer. 


Quist says that the North Karelian membership will have to be formally approved also by the Barents Committee of Senior Officials, an intergovernmental body, before it comes into force.

The neighboring Russian Republic of Karelia has been member of the Barents Regional Council since 1997.

The Barents Regional Council is a core part of the Barents Cooperation, the cross-border initiative which from before includes five Russian regions, three Norwegian, two Swedish and three Finnish regions. The council is today chaired by Kainuu, Finland, the Barents Secretariat informs on its website


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