BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Russian Polish Albanian Greek Czech Ukrainian Serbian Turkish Romanian
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC News UK Edition
 You are in: World: Europe  
News Front Page
World
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent
-------------
Letter From America
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Education
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
CBBC News
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Monday, 8 July, 2002, 14:24 GMT 15:24 UK
Finland and Sweden plan 'Eurocity'
Twin towns in Finland and Sweden have launched a project to become a united city again, almost 200 years after a peace treaty between Sweden and Russia divided the town of Tornio.


It was like a border between East and West

Jarmo Lokio, project leader
Tornio and Haparanda - as the Swedish town is now called - on the two country's land border near the Arctic Circle, want to build a border-free business and shopping district in no-man's land to serve more than 30,000 residents.

"The national border goes right on the Torneaelv river. And before this it was one cultural area with one language centre," said Jarmo Lokio, project leader in Tornio.

"When the Russians took over Finland they divided this area into two: one to Sweden and one to Russia."

"We are going to unify these city centres together. We've had the co-operation for hundreds years, and when we joined the European Union we were given a chance to take this one step further."

The "On the Border" project envisages building a main street to link the two towns and re-routing local buses to the single centre. Swedish and Finnish customs will be working in the same building.

A common park showcasing cultural traditions of the two countries will also be built.

'Eurocity'

In the past, residents of the two towns - which have different time zones - have complained about delays caused by border checks. Many travel to work across the border.

"It was like a border between East and West," Mr Lokio said.

But after both Finland and Sweden joined the Schengen agreement - allowing free movement for EU nationals - passport controls were scrapped.

Local residents - who speak both Swedish and Finnish - say they are already living in a united city, as the twin towns share a secondary school, a sport arena and a water treatment plant.

Officials in Haparanda even decided to accept the euro as legal tender alongside the krona after Finland joined the single currency earlier this year, although Sweden is not a member of the eurozone.

No name has been chosen for the reunited city yet, but the name "Eurocity" has been used for the project's publicity.

Tornio, the oldest town in Northern Scandinavia, received its charter in 1621.

But its strategic position as a gateway into Lapland has bequeathed it an often violent history.

Tornio was ruled at various times by Russian tsars and Swedish kings, becoming part of independent Finland when it was created in 1917.

See also:

05 Dec 01 | Europe
06 Dec 01 | England
20 Jun 02 | Country profiles
08 Mar 02 | Country profiles
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | World | UK | England | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales |
Politics | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology |
Health | Education | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes