Cooperation between the Ministry of Transport and Communications and Russia takes three forms: bilateral relations, EU-level cooperation and cooperation with neighbouring areas. The Finnish and Russian Ministers of Transport and Communications meet annually.
In the field of transport and communications, Finland's objective in cooperating with Russia is to maintain good and open bilateral relations.
Finland and Russia are negotiating on or have concluded agreements for various forms of transport. The aim of the agreements is to ensure that operators from both countries have a level playing field in the market.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications is involved in the work of the intergovernmental Finnish-Russian Commission for Economic Cooperation and its working group on transport. Under the auspices of the working group, meetings are organised for various groups, including a joint commission on road transport between Finland and Russia, a joint commission on maritime transport, a working group on cooperation in the field of aviation and a working group reviewing options for facilitating the border and customs formalities in railway transport.
Cooperation between Finland and Russia is based on treaties. Finland’s main partners include the Russian Ministries of Transport and Communications, the Russian Federation authorities responsible for road, maritime, river and railway transport and aviation, and the Russian regional administration. In the railway sector, Finland also collaborates with Russian Railways (RZhD).
The Ministry aims at further improving the transport connections between Finland and Russia. Particular attention is given to developing road transport connections between the countries. Short-term and long-term projections predict that cross-border transport performance will increase in terms of both goods and passenger transport.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications aims at improving the traffic arrangements of major routes and border crossing points so that at least the three main border crossing points, Vaalimaa, Nuijamaa and Imatra, will have separate lanes for heavy vehicle and passenger transport, parking areas and truck lanes.
Finland and Russia aim at developing the areas near the border between the countries. This form of cooperation is carried out under the Cross Border Cooperation (CBC) programme of the ENPI neighbourhood programme between the EU and Russia. In addition, EU, Russia and Norway have together launched the Northern Dimension Partnership on Transport and Logistics which aims at improving the logistics and transport connections in Northern Europe through various EU funding programmes.
In the field of communications, cooperation with Russia has mainly been based on relationships between companies, but the state also has a role in the collaboration.
In 2009, a working group was set up under the auspices of the Finnish-Russian Commission for Economic Cooperation to discuss communication and information technology matters. The countries also established a sub-working group on spectrum issues.
Since the working group’s first meeting, most progress has been made in spectrum issues, especially in matters related to the uptake of the 800 and 900 MHz frequency bands. In the spring of 2011, Finnish and Russian Ministers agreed on policy lines for mobile roaming charges between the countries.