Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC)
Comment by the Information and Press Department on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s participation in the 15th ministerial meeting of the Barents/Euro-Arctic Council
On October 14, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will attend the 15th ministerial meeting of the Barents/Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC), which will take place in Oulu, Finland.
The BEAC was established at a meeting of Russian, Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian, Finnish and Swedish foreign ministers, as well as a European Commission representative on January 11, 1993 in Kirkenes. Over the more than two decades of its existence, the Council has established itself as a central structure for multilateral interaction in the Barents region.
One of the BEAC’s central objectives is to promote the social and economic development of Russian regions that are party to the BEAC (the Murmansk and Arkhangelsk regions, the republics of Karelia and Komi, and the Nenets Autonomous Area). On a practical level, its goals are to create a favourable environment for trade and investment, develop stable integration links, upgrade border and customs infrastructure and create new transport routes.
The participants in the meeting will review the results of Finland’s two-year presidency, address the prospects for further interaction within the council’s framework and consider ways of uniting the efforts of all multilateral regional cooperation mechanisms. The meeting will also address strengthening the financial basis of the BEAC’s activity, including by taking into account the conclusions and recommendations of the BEAC working group to examine the possibility of creating a project financing mechanism in the Barents region.
The meeting will result in a joint communique reflecting the current priorities of Barents cooperation: the development of transport and logistic infrastructure, including the use of the Northern Sea Route, expanding cross-border economic activity, interaction in energy efficiency, environmental protection and addressing climate change, and developing tourism, and youth and cultural exchanges.
In accordance with the rotation principle, the BEAC presidency will be transferred from Finland to Russia for two years. In our activity, we are committed to the principle of continuity, taking into account the interests of all participants in Barents cooperation, including the indigenous population. We prioritise the promotion of the region’s sustainable social and economic development, putting in place modern infrastructure and making the region more competitive and attractive to investors through the effective utilisation of its industrial, scientific, innovative, and resource potential, as well as in compliance with environmental requirements. These efforts should result in the provision of conditions to improve the living standards of the region’s population.
A distinct feature of Barents cooperation is that it proceeds both on an interstate and regional level in the form of direct contacts between 13 local administrative and territorial entities in Russia, Norway, Finland and Sweden, which in 1993 established the Barents Regional Council (BRC). At the meeting, the BRC presidency will pass from the Arkhangelsk Region to the Finnish province of Kainuu.