“We expect an increase flow of tourists among the residents in the border areas between Murmansk and Finnmark,” Marine Kovtun said at the meeting with the regional delegation from Norway on Tuesday.
Runar Sjåstad expressed a hope that the visa-freedom in the border areas will promote even more the ongoing dialogue between Finnmark and Murmansk. He also highlighted the prospects for collaboration in economic development across the border.
The agreement on visa-free travel for inhabitants in the Norwegian-Russian border areas enters force on May 29. The day after, Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jonas Gahr Støre arrives in Kirkenes to witness the issuing of the first documents for visa-free border crossing to Russia. The area covered by visa-freedom for local residents includes Kirkenes on the Norwegian side and the municipality of Pechenga on Russia’s Kola Peninsula.
Traffic across the Norwegian-Russian border has been increasing steadily for the last years, and the introduction of visa-free travel is expected to give the development an even further push.
MURMANSK: Ecological groups gathered on Kola Peninsula fear that Barents nature will be the looser after Oslo decided to call off the environmental minister’s Moscow meeting in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
TROMSØ: Since the first five specimens of snow crab were found in the Barents Sea in 1996, the population has exploded. There is now ten times as much snow crab than king crab in the area, and scientists are just starting to find out how this new species has adopted to life in the Barents Sea.
The current situation in Ukraine makes cross-border cooperation with the neighboring countries even more important, Barents Secretariat leader Rune Rafaelsen says. At the same time, Norway has joined NATO’s condemnation of Russia’s military escalation on the Crimea peninsula.
Board member Amund Trellevik in the press network fears entry-denial of Kremlin’s controversial propaganda-journalist Dmitry Kiselyov could be retaliated by refusing Norwegian journalists access to Russia.