Ms. Cronberg, which has been engaged in the development of the Northern Dimension ever since Finland came up with the concept in the late 1990s, in her presentation in Kirkenes yesterday hightlighted that the Northern Dimension now is developing dynamically with its own funding line and permanent secretariat.
The minister, who also has comprehensive experiences from research, at the Stoltenberg Symposium in Kirkenes yesterday highlighted that security aspects in the North are essential and that she would like Finland to join the rapidly developing defence cooperation between Norway and Sweden. She also said that the Northern Dimension should play a security role in the High North
So far, the EU’s Northern Dimension includes partnerships on environment and health. New partnerships on respectively transport and logistics and culture are in the pipeline. Minister Cronberg underlined that she also would support the establishment of a partnership on energy. She also hightlighted the need to focus on climate change, indigenous peoples, the integration of labour markets and oil and gas developments.
The new EU Northern Dimension programme adopted in 2007 includes the EU, Norway, Russia and Iceland on equal footing.
The EU Northern Dimension concept has for years been a policy programme without clear priorities and funding. That is now about to change. A permanent secretariat is now working with ND issues, and money is being made available both through the EU system, from Norway and from Russia.
At a conference in Pskov this week, Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Aleksandr Glushko said that Russia over the next four year will allocate 122 million EUR to project cooperation with the EU. The EU on its side will allocate 307 million EUR, he said, Rosbaltnord.ru reports.
Parts of the funding are expected to be channelled through the Northern Dimension structures.
Northern Dimension going Arctic
The lands around the Baltic Sea have long been the main focus area of the Northern Dimension. In her speech in Kirkenes, Tarja Cronberg did however highlight that the High North and the Arctic to a growing extent is important for the EU and the Northern Dimension.
She also underlined that the Barents Cooperation with its rich practical experiences in cross-border cooperation has an important contribution to the Northern Dimension.
Tarja Cronberg in Kirkenes