Cross-border co-operation has established its position as a major regional development tool in the European Union and has been included within the cohesion policy 2007-2013 as one of the major objectives. Northern Finland gained experiences of cross-border activities implementing the Interreg III A Karelia programmes in the previous periods. It is obvious that the opportunities offered by co-operation have not been exploited in full yet and the Frontier Cooperation of the Russian Federation and the European Union will be growing in importance. Thus measures in support of cross-border co-operation are continued during the new programme period as well.
Finland has four neighbourhood programmes, three of them focusing on the Russian border.
The Council of Oulu Region is the Managing and Paying Authority responsible for ERDF funding of the Euregio Karelia Programme. The Euregio Karelia Neighbourhood programme supports economic and social cross-border cooperation in the area of the Russian border. Other members are the Finnish regions of Kainuu and North Karelia and the Karelian republic in Russia. The Finnish regions of Lapland and Northern Savo participate as non-members.
Co-operation is extended to the city of St Petersburg and the areas of Leningrad, Murmansk and Archangel.