Helsinki to Tallinn Tunnel
The Helsinki to Tallinn Tunnel is a proposed undersea tunnel
Undersea tunnel
An undersea tunnel is a tunnel which is partly or wholly constructed under a body of water. They are often used where building a bridge or operating a ferry link is impossible, or to provide competition for existing bridges or ferry links...

 that would span the Gulf of Finland
Gulf of Finland
The Gulf of Finland is the easternmost arm of the Baltic Sea. It extends between Finland and Estonia all the way to Saint Petersburg in Russia, where the river Neva drains into it. Other major cities around the gulf include Helsinki and Tallinn...

 and connect the Finnish
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

 and Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

n capitals.

The tunnel's length would depend upon the route taken; the shortest distance across would have a submarine length of 50 km, making it the longest undersea tunnel in the world. The project is largely being pushed forward by the mayors of Tallinn
Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia. It occupies an area of with a population of 414,940. It is situated on the northern coast of the country, on the banks of the Gulf of Finland, south of Helsinki, east of Stockholm and west of Saint Petersburg. Tallinn's Old Town is in the list...

 and Helsinki
Helsinki is the capital and largest city in Finland. It is in the region of Uusimaa, located in southern Finland, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea. The population of the city of Helsinki is , making it by far the most populous municipality in Finland. Helsinki is...

, Edgar Savisaar
Edgar Savisaar
Edgar Savisaar , is an Estonian politician, one of the founding members of Popular Front of Estonia and the leader of the Centre Party. He has served as the acting Prime Minister of Estonia, Minister of Internal affairs and Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications...

 and Jussi Pajunen
Jussi Pajunen
Jussi Ilmari Pajunen is a Finnish politician of the National Coalition Party and mayor of Helsinki since 2005....

 respectively. Both cities have promised
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

100,000 for preparatory studies, though the relevant ministries of each country have refused to grant any funding. An application is now planned to the EU to gain the additional funds needed for a comprehensive survey, estimated to cost between €500,000 and €800,000. On 13 January 2009, newspaper reports suggested the application to the EU, through the Interreg
Interreg is an initiative that aims to stimulate cooperation between regions in the European Union. It started in 1989, and is financed under the European Regional Development Fund...

 programme, for comprehensive surveys had been denied. An expert at the City of Helsinki's International Affairs department suggested this may have been because of political tension within Estonia, between the national administration and the City of Tallinn, both controlled by rival political groups. Nevertheless, both cities are said to be considering funding the surveys themselves.

The initial cost of the tunnel itself varies, from around one billion Euros for a freight-only tunnel, to many billions of Euros if passengers were to travel in it. The economic benefits would be significant, both in terms of increased connections and economic integration between the two cities (Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

 and Malmö
Malmö , in the southernmost province of Scania, is the third most populous city in Sweden, after Stockholm and Gothenburg.Malmö is the seat of Malmö Municipality and the capital of Skåne County...

 have been offered as examples), but also in a wider context of convenient passenger train connections between Southern Finland
Finland , officially the Republic of Finland, is a Nordic country situated in the Fennoscandian region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Sweden in the west, Norway in the north and Russia in the east, while Estonia lies to its south across the Gulf of Finland.Around 5.4 million people reside...

 and the Baltic States
Baltic states
The term Baltic states refers to the Baltic territories which gained independence from the Russian Empire in the wake of World War I: primarily the contiguous trio of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania ; Finland also fell within the scope of the term after initially gaining independence in the 1920s.The...

, and a fixed link for freight from across Finland on to the under-construction Rail Baltica
Rail Baltica
thumb|300px|Map of Rail Baltica...

, thus providing a rail freight connection with the rest of Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

. Geopolitically, the tunnel would connect two close but separated parts of the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

in an environmentally friendly way, removing the need to travel through Russia, or to use air or sea transport.


External links

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