The Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg met with Russia’s Dmitri Medvedev on Friday preparing the 20-years anniversary of the Barents cooperation to take place in Kirkenes on June 4.
“We talked about the Barents Anniversary in Kirkenes in June. There, the member states will mark the 20th anniversary of the Barents Region Cooperation and sign a new Kirkenes Declaration. The 1993 Declaration has contributed to increased confidence and cooperation between participant states and their regions up north. The new declaration will take this further, with a particular emphasis on promoting business cooperation”, Stoltenberg said after the bi-lateral talks with Dmitri Medvedev.
In June, the Prime Ministers of Sweden, Finland, Russia and Norway will meet to outline the future Barents cooperation, Europe’s northernmost regional cross-border structure.
Signed in 1993, the first Kirkenes-declaration outlined how to boost people-to-people contacts, democratic reforms and business across formerly closed borders in the north. The text of the new declaration is not yet ready, but after Friday’s meeting in St. Petersburg, the Russian and Norwegian Prime Ministers says the agree to place emphasis on business cooperation.
In the meeting with Medvedev, Stoltenberg also brought up restrictions towards the civil society in Russia.
“I expressed my concern at the restrictions that recently have been imposed on the civil society in Russia. We see that such legal changes have already had their impact on the cooperation between Norwegian and Russian voluntary organisations”, said Stoltenberg.
The Murmansk Economic Zone was presented as a miracle cure for regional development and as key facility for the Shtokman project. Today, five years on, regional authorities put their faith in the fish industry.
Renowned Norwegian actress Gørild Mauseth is in the leading role when actors and producers from the Gorky Dramatic Theatre in Vladivostok come to Harstad to present a unique version of Tolsoy’s classic play Anna Karenina.
Nuclear safety projects in the Murmansk region wouldn’t be the same without her contribution. Finnish European Parliament Member Heidi Hautala is today one of 89 Europeans barred from Russia in response to EU sanctions over Crimea and Ukraine.
Wistleblower Edward Snowden is winner of this year’s recognized Bjørnson Award, but Norwegian authorities are unlikely to guarantee his safe travel to the award ceremony. The former CIA employee should instead be handed over the award in Pechenga, the Russian borderlands to Norway, a Norwegian university lecturer suggests.