26 October 201315:20

Comment by the Information and Press Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the forthcoming 14th ministerial session of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council

2116-26-10-2013

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On the 28-29 October, the 14th ministerial session of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC) will be held in Tromsø (Norway). The Russian delegation will be headed by the First Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov.

The BEAC was established in 1993. It comprises Russia, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Sweden, as well as the European Commission.

The Council is a central structure of multilateral interaction in the Barents Region, but its activity is significantly oriented towards assisting in the complex development of northern European territories, including the north-western regions of the Russian Federation (Republic of Karelia and Komi Republic, Arkhangelsk Region and Murmansk Region, Nenets Autonomous District).

The session is expected to sum up the results of Norway's two-year presidency of the BEAC, discuss ways of further cooperation within the Council, prospects of its orientation towards practical activities, as well as to review the Action Plan on Climate Change for Barents Cooperation.

The session will end with the adoption of a joint communique, which reflects Russian priorities – the creation of conditions for the full-fledged use of the rich resource potential of the region, including not only natural resources, but primarily the region's accumulated knowledge and experience, scientific potential, qualified personnel, including in the context of the prospects of use of the Northern Sea Route, the formation of a personal project funding instrument, a prospective transfer to a visa free regime of mutual travel, the improvement of coordination between northern regional councils, etc.

The final document of the session envisages the creation of an ad hoc expert group for the development of the details of the project funding mechanism in the Barents region. The Communique also welcomes the draft Plan for the development of the Barents Region transport system, the creation of the Barents award in the area of culture, the creation of a Barents Summer School.

At the decision of the session, the presidency of the BEAC will be transferred from Norway to Finland according to the principle of rotation. Russia occupied the chair of the Council in 2007-2009 and will head it again in 2015-2017.

Apart from the BEAC, cooperation in the Barents Region is also implemented within the framework of direct contacts between the local territorial formations of Russia, Norway, Finland and Sweden, which formed the Barents Regional Council (BRC) at the Kirkenes session in January 1993. On behalf of Russia, it comprises the Republic of Karelia, the Komi Republic, the Arkhangelsk Region and the Murmansk Region, and the Nenets Autonomous District. During the session, the BRC presidency will be transferred from the Swedish Norrbotten County to the Arkhangelsk Region.

26 October 2013

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