Arctic will boost Finland, Lipponen says

A railway line to the Norwegian northern coast is one of the key measures proposed by Paavo Lipponen in his new Arctic report.

The former PM seeks an Arctic coast for Finland. Easy access to the Northeast Passage can turn the country into a global logistics hub, he argues.


A Finnish economy in deepening crisis should look towards the high north for relief. That is the conclusion of a new report authored by former government leader Paavo Lipponen. In the report, Lipponen underlines that Finland must take advantage of a host of great development opportunities in Arctic.

The document titled “A Strategic Vision for the North” is commissioned by the Confederation of Finnish Industries EK, as well as a string of other leading Finnish industrial groups. Finland should play a key role in EU Arctic policy and Finnish businesses should spearhead the drafting of the policy, the report highlights.

The former PM is confident that Arctic infrastructure developments can turn Finland into a global logistics and communications hub. What is needed is more Nordic cooperation,  new infrastructure and building of railways, he argues.

Funding from the European Commission’s new €300 billion investment package should be considered for the respective development initiatives, Lipponen argues.

The building of a railway line from northern Finland to the Norwegian Arctic coast has for several years been an issue in Finnish-Norwegian relations. One of the projected railway route alternatives is between Rovaniemi and the Norwegian town of Kirkenes.

“Finland’s position as a logistical hub is globally significant when considering the Northeast Passage, the Atlantic connection, the Arctic Ocean railway and the railway connection through Siberia, as well as the shortest flight route to the economic centres of Asia via the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport”, Lipponen writes.

Building on ongoing processes with neighboring Sweden and Norway, the report reiterates the need for enhanced Nordic cooperation. A joint programme on removal of cross-border barriers will be drawn up at the Nordic prime ministerial level and “progress through small steps will be abandoned”.

The report also stresses the importance of the Swedish language in Nordic communications. “Learning of Swedish in cooperation with the government and enterprises will be strongly promoted in order to utilise northern labour markets”, it reads. It also proposes to reform language studies in Finnish schools in order to prevent a further deterioration of Swedish language skills.