On Tuesday 23 July, the Act of Signature of the Nomination Agreement of the Republic of Karelia (Russia) as European Region of the Year 2003 took place at the seat of the Government of Karelia in Petrozavodsk. The event was attended by the main authorities of the region.
The President of the Republic of Karelia, Sergey Katanandov, and the President of the European Region of the Year Organisation, Xavier Tudela, who are photographed at the signature ceremony, signed the Agreement and emphasized the importance of this initiative for the Republic of Karelia, for the other regions of Europe and for European integration.
The Republic of Karelia is one of the regions of the Russian Federation which is involved in the most cooperation activities with other regions in Europe. Specifically, it has well-established relations with the regions of Vasterbotten (Sweden), Troms (Norway) Northern Karelia, Kainuu and Northern Pohjanmaa (Finland). Karelia also participates in the work of a number of international organizations, such as the Barents Euro-Arctic Region and the Council of the Baltic Sea States.
In accordance with the verdict of an International Jury, the Republic of Karelia will share the nomination as European Region of the Year 2003 with the Balearic Islands (Spain). On 25 June 2002, at the seat of the Balearic Regional Government in Palma de Mallorca, a ceremony was held to celebrate the Act of Signature of the nomination of the Balearic Islands as European Region of the Year. On that occasion, the Agreement was signed by the President of the Balearic Regional Government, Francesc Antich, and the President of the European Region of the Year Organisation, Xavier Tudela.
The Republic of Karelia and the Balearic Islands will carry out a number of joint activities during 2003. With this in mind, senior representatives of the Balearic Government, headed by the Conseller (Ministry) of the Presidency, Antoni Garcias, and the Director of the Centre Balears Europa, Miquel Morata, traveled to Petrozavodsk to attend the Act of Signature and initiate discussions about establishing this cooperation.
Every year, two regions will be designated as European Region of the Year, regions which must come from different countries, as is the case of the Balearic Islands and the Republic of Karelia.
The Balearic Islands is a region located in the Western Mediterranean. The archipelago consists of the islands of Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza, Formentera and other smaller islands. In total, they cover an area of 5 014 km?, have 1 238 km of coastline, and a population of 760 000. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Last year, ten million people visited this region. The services sector is indisputably the largest source of income for the Balearics.
The Republic of Karelia is located in North-western Russia. It covers an area of 180 000 km?, has a 732 km-long border with Finland, and a population of 766 000. Over 49% of the region is covered with forest, and 25% with water. There are over 60 000 lakes. Lakes Ladoga and Onega are the largest. The total length of the rivers is 83 000 km. Mining and forestry are the Republic's main sources of income.
Any region of Europe may aspire to be nominated the European Region of the Year. Regions that wish to obtain this nomination must submit their candidature, at the appropriate time in the prescribed form, to the office of the promoting organisation in Barcelona, following the planned schedule. The period for submission of candidatures to be nominated European Region of the Year 2004 will end on 30 September this year.
Petrozavodsk (Russia), 23 July 2002