The small border between Norway and Russia all the way up in the high north has been Russia’s most stable border for the past 1,000 years. Now, that border may disappear, in a sense, as Norway and Russia consider doing away with visas for residents. Right before the annual meeting of the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO), which begins today, the Foreign Minister of Norway, Jonas Gahr Støre, noted that he hopes an agreement will be forthcoming later this year. The agreement would affect people living within 30 kilometers of the border: that is, 55,000 Russians and 9,000 Norwegians. The county of Finnmark in northern Norway is suffering from a lack of labor, and it is hoped that visa-free travel could help to shore up the labor deficit by allowing Russians to work.
“Agreement on visa-free border coming [ready] in 2010,” Barents Observer
“Grenseboerbevis i løpet av 2010,” Finnmarken (in Norwegian)