One border – joint Norwegian-Russian checkpoint
The future is a joint Norwegian – Russian checkpoint for crossing the border – located at the very border line at Storskog-Boris Gleb.
During the last years, there has been a sizable increase in the traffic between Storskog and Boris Gleb. Since just a few years ago, the number of border crossings has been doubled from 100 000 to nearly 200 000 per year. This increase is wanted and is a result of a simplifying of both visa and customs regimes. The prognoses for the next years show that there will be a considerable increase for the coming years, too – even before lokal border traffic and visa free travel for the inhabitants in the border-zone has been implemented. If the visa free zone is implemented from now on, the traffic via Storskog - Boris Gleb may increase to 400 000 crossings per year during the next 2 - 3 years.
At the same time as the traffic is increasing, there are also higher expectations that the crossings of the border shall be smoother and faster, both ways. Extensive construction plans for the Norwegian side, which were made just a few years ago, are already completely outdated. New plans based on the traditional crossing with two separated checkpoints may be outdated before they are completed.
A doubling of the present traffic at the same time as there will be a demand for a smooth and quick crossing is impossible without a new way of thinking. Absolutely new! The future lies in a joint Norwegian - Russian border checkpoint located on the very border at Storskog -Boris Gleb. In addition to solving the locistic challenges, it will be a strong symbol of a joint intention to cooperate and having a more open border.
It will be possible for Norway to realize this solution within its present Schengen obligations, contrary to an earlier suggestion of a joint checkpoint located at the Russian side. A joint checkpoint located at the very border will make it possible to build one with a considerably larger capacity within the same physical area, as there will be estabished joint areas for entrance and exit crossings. The border authorities in both countries will immediately get a common interest in cooperating to find good solutions that are as equal as possible. Good common solutions are absolutely desicive for a border control of high quality that is also smooth and efficient. In addition, the expenses for both countries will be lower. This solution will not change the present regime where Norway is a part of Schengen and Europe, while Russia is not. If Russia will be joining the Schengen-agreement in the future, this solution will also offer favourable conditions for an even closer cooperation. Here are the future possibilities to change Storskog - Boris Gleb from being a hindrance to a gate for an even closer cooperation.
The change will demand political desicions at a national level. The Civil Cervants on both sides have limited opportunities to make any large changes in short time as they are trapped within their limited authorities. They may easily be the ones that will be a guarantee for a very slow proceeding of the development. For the coming years there must be an enormous leap if people’s expectations are to be fulfilled, and the chances for a more open border shall be used to the extent that the development in the Northern areas demand. National political recommendations must be given for the prospective work to get rapid changes which at the same time have a long term perspective. Solutions for the future must be based on a fearless new way of thinking which pushes ”borders”!