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The International Affairs Committee held parliamentary hearings

The Committee on Foreign Affairs held parliamentary hearings on “Legislative regulation of cross-border cooperation in the Russian Federation: the state and development prospects”.
Deputies, members of the Federation Council, representatives of ministries and departments, regional executive and legislative authorities from border regions took part in the discussion.

Opening the hearing, First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Ivan Melnikov noted that the issues of legislative regulation of cross-border cooperation are of particular importance for the Russian Federation.

“Our country,” he recalled, “has the longest state border in the world. More than half of the subjects are borderline and cooperate more or less with neighboring regions of eighteen states. ”

But the current regulatory framework, according to I. Melnikov, does not allow to fully realize the existing potential of ties. The draft law on the basics of cross-border cooperation, adopted in June 2010, is still being discussed. Meanwhile, the need for such a law is now recognized not only in the regions, but also in the Security Council, which recommended that work on the law be intensified, which will determine the main directions, organizational forms and mechanisms of cross-border cooperation, as well as unified rules and requirements for entities.

Deputy Minister of Economic Development Alexander Tsybulsky stressed that the border location can become a serious competitive advantage in the development of the region and contribute to a more efficient solution of economic, transport and social issues.

He said that in 2017 new programs and agreements on cross-border cooperation with the EU countries will be submitted for ratification to the State Duma. At present, despite the anti-Russian sanctions, the subjects of the Federation continue to cooperate with Finland, Norway, Sweden, Poland and the Baltic countries. Funding is provided from a joint fund of 430 million euros. The Russian contribution to this fund amounted to 104 million euros. At the same time, programs worth 154 million euros are being implemented on the territory of the Russian Federation. These are five large-scale projects in the field of ecology, transport, border management and another 200 projects in the field of small and medium-sized businesses. It would be useful to transfer the existing experience and cooperation with other states, said A. Tsybulsky.

According to Deputy Minister of Justice Maxim Travnikov, recently it has been possible to make significant progress in the development of cross-border cooperation with Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Ukraine.
Calling the bill on cross-border cooperation “long-suffering”, the deputy minister admitted that for a long time he was skeptical himself, doubted the need for a special law on this topic. It seemed that a large number of contracts and industry legislation is enough. Now the position has changed: it is necessary at the federal level to set unified directions for cross-border cooperation and to implement in the national legislation obligations assumed by Russia at the international level.

For the early adoption of the law, the first deputy chairman of the Committee on International Affairs, Svetlana Zhurova, was elected to the Duma on a regional list of Karelia, Leningrad and Murmansk regions. In the Committee, she is charged with coordinating the finalization of the law.

Other participants in the hearings also spoke about the need to speed up the adoption of the law.

The head of the Republic of Ingushetia, Yunus-bek Yevkurov, believes that with the passage of the law, border areas will have new opportunities for interaction not only in the economy and the social sphere, but also in the sphere of countering international terrorism.

According to Vladimir Artamonov, Deputy Minister for Civil Defense, Emergency Situations and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters, in the framework of cross-border cooperation, it is possible to improve the effectiveness of fighting fires and floods.

The governor of the Murmansk region, Marina Kovtun, noted the significant role of municipalities in the development of cross-border cooperation. The law should determine their authority and coordinate actions with the regions.

The governor of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Igor Koshin, spoke in favor of reducing bureaucratic barriers and moving to general industry standards.

The chairman of the Legislative Assembly of the Trans-Baikal Territory, Igor Likhanov, expressed the hope that the intensification of cross-border cooperation will stop the outflow of population from the region. He also proposed to develop a mechanism for cost recovery, which arise in the municipalities in connection with the operating costs in the maintenance of checkpoints.

According to Vladimir Beketov, Chairman of the Legislative Assembly of the Krasnodar Territory, a closed list of areas for cooperation requires a separate discussion. According to him, far from all the topical directions were included in this list.

Chairman of the Sakhalin Oblast Duma Vladimir Efremov called for taking into account in the law the specificity of the only island entity that does not have land borders with other states.
First Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on the Federal Structure, Regional Policy, Local Self-Government and the Affairs of the North Stepan Kirichuk proposed to pay special attention to the results of activities within the framework of cross-border cooperation.

Following the discussion of the State Duma, it was proposed to finalize and adopt a law on cross-border cooperation already during the spring session of 2017.

The Ministry of Economic Development was recommended to develop an order in accordance with which the border regions and municipalities will inform the authorized federal executive body of their cooperation with neighboring countries.

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