Meeting of the Chairs of the Northern Regional Councils and the Northern Dimension Partners
On September 30, a coordination meeting of the chairs of the Northern Regional Councils – the Arctic Council, the Barents Euro-Arctic Council, the Council of the Baltic Sea States, and the Nordic Council of Ministers – and the Northern Dimension partners was held in St. Petersburg under the chairmanship of Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov. Deputy heads of the foreign affairs agencies of Denmark, Iceland, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden and the European Commission's Directorate-General for External Relations took part. The event was conducted in development of the initiative of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, proposed to our Northern partners at the Council of the Baltic Sea States session on June 3-4, 2009, in Helsingor, Denmark.
Participants discussed the unique characteristics and the comparative advantages of each of the organizations, and possible areas of coordination of their activities in order to subsequently develop the most effective and sustainable forms of interaction by the Regional Councils in such priority areas for member countries as trade and investment, environmental protection, combating organized crime, health, and people-to-people contacts. The leitmotiv of the debate was the thought about the advantages and intrinsic value of the Northern model of international cooperation and the need to deepen it, primarily by synchronizing better the regional entities' work in order to avoid overlap and duplication.
The Russian side drew participants' attention to the need to qualitatively improve the impact of the regional councils as major Northern interstate organizations through a better "division of labor" and the achievement of synergy by joining forces. It was stated that the North has developed a sustainable and well-honed model of interaction which aspires to be the most dynamic integration structure in Europe.
The meeting noted the usefulness and timeliness of the discussion on ways to streamline coordination of the work of the Northern regional entities. It was considered expedient to continue dialogue on these topics in various formats.
October 1, 2009