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Helsinki steps up co-operation with Moscow, Tallinn

Mayor of Tallinn Taavi Aas (left) and Mayor of Helsinki Jan Vapaavuori formalised the co-operation.Pertti Nisonen

Helsinki says it has signed agreements for strengthening its co-operation with both Moscow, Russia, and Tallinn, Estonia.

Mayors Jan Vapaavuori of Helsinki and Sergey Sobyanin of Moscow have met to discuss how the cities could together promote co-operation between their startup sectors, utilise digitalisation in education, and harness new technologies for the development of urban environments and transport systems.

“Exchanging experiences and expertise between the cities is meaningful as the objective is to improve the functionality of everyday life for the residents of both cities. The challenges of urbanisation are ultimately the same,” says Vapaavuori.

Moscow’s experiences in dealing with the challenges faced by metropolises will be invaluable for Helsinki, he estimates. Helsinki, in turn, can hopefully provide its fellow capital city new ways of operation that are more easily trialled in a smaller metropolitan area.

Vapaavuori recently also signed a new co-operation agreement with his counterpart from Tallinn, Estonia, Taavi Aas.

The new agreement will steer the collaborative efforts the two capitals towards concrete projects in four areas: promoting the free movement of goods and people, developing services for the mobile labour force and other urban visitors, refining the twin-city brand for global marketing projects, and improving the state of the Baltic Sea.

“The twin-city concept needs concrete projects that must be identified together and monitored systematically,” tells Vapaavuori. “This entails much more than the Helsinki—Tallinn tunnel that is on the horizon.”

Aas, similarly, views that the new co-operation agreement takes the cities one step closer to bringing the twin-city concept to life.

“We can make breakthroughs in the field of tourism, for example, much faster together than by working alone. The newly signed co-operation agreement brings us closer to the twin-city idea. As we continue to move forward step by step, we may suddenly notice that our cities have become truly closer and that the Gulf of Finland that separates us has become considerably narrower,” he says.

Published on 31.05.2018