The Neighbourhood programmes operated at the external borders of the European Union. They aimed at promoting sustainable economic and social development and good neighbourhood in the border areas. The neighbourhood programmes replaced the former Interreg III A and Tacis CBC programmes.
Finland had four neighbourhood programmes, three of them focusing on the Russian border. The Finnish regions of Kainuu, North Karelia and Oulu and the Karelian Republic had a joint neighbourhood programme, the Euregio Karelia Neighbourhood programme, which supported economic and social cross-border cooperation in the area of the Russian border.