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.
A step-by-step increase up to SEK 5,5 billion will be added to the annual defense budget following the Ukraine crisis. The cash will partly come by cutting spending on environment and nuclear safety cooperation with Russia.
MURMANSK: Ecological groups gathered on Kola Peninsula fear that Barents nature will be the looser after Oslo decided to call off the environmental minister’s Moscow meeting in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
TROMSØ: Since the first five specimens of snow crab were found in the Barents Sea in 1996, the population has exploded. There is now ten times as much snow crab than king crab in the area, and scientists are just starting to find out how this new species has adopted to life in the Barents Sea.
More than 900 reindeer die of hunger on the Russian Arctic island of Kolguyev following a critical lack of available local pasturelands. The reindeer stocks in the area are too badly managed, regional authorities admit.
Three days processing of visa-applications is history. “Always apply at least 15 days prior to scheduled departure. Our processing time is 10 days,” says Marit Egholm Jacobsen, head of the visa section at Norway’s Consulate General in Murmansk.
Board member Amund Trellevik in the press network fears entry-denial of Kremlin’s controversial propaganda-journalist Dmitry Kiselyov could be retaliated by refusing Norwegian journalists access to Russia.
“Young journalists are the future of cross border communication in the North. We feel it is important to give them a possibility to network and learn about new media”, says Virpi Komulainen, project coordinator of the Barents Mediasphere.