SANTA Claus and his Russian counterpart Grandfather Frost are to hold a meeting on cross-border trade and travel on Estonia's frontier with Russia, officials said yesterday.
"The event, called Christmas without Borders, will bring together Santa Claus and Grandfather Frost at the Estonia-Russian border crossing in Narva on Wednesday," Liis Plakk, spokeswoman for the Estonian Tax and Customs Department, said.
"This meeting of goodwill is a sign by the Estonian and Russian customs authorities to pledge further cooperation in the new year to simplify border crossings in order to cope with the increasing volume of traffic and trade across the EU's new eastern border," she said.
Estonia, a former Soviet republic, is one of the 10 newest members of the European Union.
Claus and Frost will meet on the Friendship Bridge in Narva, 215km east of the Estonian capital, Tallinn.
Both long-bearded gentlemen, one dressed in red and the other in white, will deliver speeches on .....
..... the bridge and then dine together.
The meeting is organised by the customs departments of Estonia and Russia as well as by the Association of Estonian International Road Carriers, whose business depends on the speed and simplicity of border crossings.
In the week between Christmas Day and the passage to the new year, trucks have been forced to wait up to 24 hours to cross the border from Estonia into Russia.
"Trade volume is up, and it's also the usual end-of-year rush, when road carriers wish to send their freight from Western countries to Russia before the Russian Christmas starts at the beginning of January," Plakk said.