Anton Kobyakov, Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation met in Moscow with Antti Helanterä, Ambassador of Finland to Russia. The meeting covered cooperation between Russia and Finland in various fields, including large business events held in Russia.
During the meeting, the parties hoped for improvement in global epidemiological situation, which, in turn will lead to the return of large-scale business gatherings, such as St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Eastern Economic Forum, Russian Energy Week, ‘Arctic: Territory of Dialogue’ International Arctic Forum, Russian Investment Forum, and others.
"At the end of January, Russia and Finland resumed air traffic on a reciprocal basis. Given our historical cooperation tradition, it allows us to hope for intensified tourism and business contacts between our countries. Despite the restrictive measures, a number of important events took place to mark the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries. Many events in 2020 were made possible by the active cooperation of Russian and Finnish historians and the exchange of archival materials.
Mass vaccination and rapid collective immunity development will contribute to a speedy recovery of business activities. Also, will make it possible to resume business events in compliance with all Rospotrebnadzor recommendations in the near future. I believe that the hybrid format events have already become firmly established over the past year and the experience of holding them will also be in demand this year," said Anton Kobyakov.
Opportunities for Russian-Finnish business dialogue were also discussed in terms of intensifying cooperation on the development of sustainable forest management, digitalisation of the forest industry, and the production of innovative materials. The partnership between Russia and Finland prioritises cooperation in the Arctic, which is especially relevant in the context of Russia's chairmanship in the Arctic Council in 2021–2023, as well as in light of the ‘Arctic: Territory of Dialogue’ International Arctic Forum planned for December 2021. During the "Think Arctic" series of expert conferences in 2021, Arctic strategies of the 8 Arctic Council member states and China as an observer country will be compared in order to identify promising areas for international cooperation in the Arctic. Russia proposed to involve representatives of the Finnish expert community in this work.
"Hallway meetings and coffee breaks during international business events are extremely important for diplomatic work, as they allow for the establishment of informal relations with partners during live face-to-face communication. We very much look forward to the return of offline formats and are ready to work on all forest sector development issues related to climate change, as well as to continue the Russia–Finland business dialogue," said Ambassador of Finland to Russia Antti Helanterä.
During the meeting, the Ambassador also noted that he was ready to continue the initiative of establishing a "project office" to boost investment and business cooperation between the countries. The main purpose of this initiative is to coordinate actions on implementation of business projects and to speed up approval of necessary documents to increase trade turnover. The Roscongress Foundation and East Office, the Finnish industry representative, are ready to begin the implementation stage. The joint body will be able to promote export and investment initiatives, as well as help establish Russian-Finnish joint ventures.
The meeting concluded with a discussion on the potential for cooperation between the two countries on the supply and production of the Russian COVID vaccine Sputnik V in Finland.
On 20 January, the Russian Federation applied for registration of the vaccine in the European Union following an expert consultation with the European Medicines Agency (EMA).