“I think this is really positive”, says Chief of Police in Eastern Finnmark Police District, Ellen Kathrine Hætta to NRK. “It’s good that there is so much interaction across the border and that people doesn’t see the border as a barrier”.
Hætta believes the number of border-crossers can reach 330.00 before the end of the year.
Most people cross the border to do shopping in the neighboring country. Many Russians are also using Kirkenes airport when leaving for holidays in Europe.
The existing border-crossing station is dimensioned for 150.000 passengers annually, so cars and people are queuing up on the busiest days. The Chief of Police is impatiently waiting for Norwegian authorities to make a decision on when to build a new station.
While Norwegian authorities for years have been discussing how to find funding for a new border check-point at Storskog, Russia last month announced a €26 million funding planfor a brand new check-point at Borisoglebsk.
The Barents Region has some of the last largest areas of intact natural woodlands in Europe. Scientists, bureaucrats and environmentalists from all four Barents countries cooperate on preserving the forest, but an international initiative is needed.
August 9th, the Barents Region celebrated the UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The day was commemorated in several parts of the region, including Karasjok in Northern Norway and Teriberka in Northwestern Russia.