The head of the Russian government, Mikhail Kasyanov, hopes for the introduction in the future of a visa-free regime between Russia and Finland. Taking part on Sunday in the opening of an international automobile check-point Salla at the Russian-Finnish border, already the seventh one, the Russian Prime Minister reminded the audience that the border between Russia and Finland is not simply a frontier between two states but "it is also a border between Russia and the European Union." He expressed the hope that sooner or later "the citizens of our countries will cross this border without visas." In his speech at the opening ceremony Mikhail Kasyanov said that in the past two years this is already the third check-point that had been opened at the Russian-Finnish frontier. Its opening, believes the Prime Minister, will make it possible to ever more efficiently develop tourism and good-neighbourly trade and economic relations between our two countries, as well as tourism and good-neighbourly relations between the people of Russia and Finland.
According to the data of the Prime Minister, six million people crossed the Russian-Finnish border only last year. "This means that we are enriching our culture, developing the economy and tourism and expanding relations between Russia and Finland," underscored Mikhail Kasyanov. "I hope that the opening of another check-point will bring our countries considerably closer together and will create new jobs," pointed out Mikhail Kasyanov. According to him, the opening of the seventh check-point does not imply the toughening of the border guard, it has been done with the purpose of creating comfortable conditions for people and mutual trade." For his part, Prime Minister of Finland Paavo Lipponen said that the creation of comfortable conditions at the border had already resulted in an increase in Russian tourism to Finland. "I hope that such points will contribute to tourism and to more comfortable visits to our country," said Paavo Lipponen.