The Government of Finland has proposed that the President of the Republic authorise Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen or, if he is unable to do so, Minister of Transport Anu Vehviläinen to sign the Saimaa Canal lease agreement between the Republic of Finland and the Russian Federation.
The Government submitted this proposal on 25 March and the President is expected to confirm the signature authorisations on 30 March.
The agreement is expected to be signed when the Finnish and Russian prime ministers next meet, in Lappeenranta at the end of May.
The new agreement will expand the right to use the canal, allowing it to be used by passenger vessels from third countries as well. The agreement also seeks to take into account more effectively than before the opportunities provided by the canal for the tourist industry and for pleasure boating.
The agreement ensures the right to use the Saimaa Canal for the next 50 years. The new agreement also includes matters related to pilotage, ice-breaking and tourism, for example, that were previously set out in separate agreements.