Finland and Russia discuss cooperation between Arctic and Barents structures

Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto arrives at a European Union foreign ministers emergency meeting to discuss ways to try to save the Iran nuclear deal, in Brussels, Belgium, January 10, 2020. The Finnish Foreign Minister had a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on August 12. (Johanna Geron/Reuters)
While Russia takes over the Chair of the Arctic Council next year, Finland will have the responsibility of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council in the same two-year period, 2021-2023.

On the initiative of the Finnish Foreign Ministry, the phone conversation took place between Sergey Lavrov and Pekka Haavisto on August 12.

The ministers agreed on close cooperation as the two countries will be in charge of the two multilateral formats of northern cooperation, the Arctic and the European Barents Region.

“In responding to the COVID-19 crisis, regional and cross-border cooperation, such as the Northern Dimension policy and the Barents Euro-Arctic Council with its working groups focusing on health, offer excellent tools. We also took note of the opportunities for cooperation during the coinciding Russian chairmanship of the Arctic Council and the Finnish chairmanship of the Barents Regional Council,” Foreign Minister Haavisto said. He underlined the importance of a low-carbon future.

“Combining the economy and the environment towards low-carbon choices is also an opportunity in the development of the Arctic regions.”Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto

Arms control, Ukraine and Russia-EU relations were also on the agenda, according to a press release from the Finnish Foreign Ministry. Haavisto emphasized the importance of the Open Skies Agreement and called on Russia to remain in the agreement.

The Russian Foreign Ministry’s press release highlighted the good Russian-Finnish neighboring relations, but emphasized the security challenges in the area as Sergey Lavrov pointed to the “destructive nature of NATO’s activities in the Baltic Sea region.”

Related stories from around the North

Canada: Canada’s long-term neglect of Arctic must stop, says Senate report, Eye on the Arctic

Denmark: Denmark, U.S. affirm need to ‘maintain and build situational awareness’ in the Arctic, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Finland joins other Nordic countries in virtual tourism due to pandemic, Yle News

Iceland: Nordics should aim for common approach to China’s Arctic involvement says report, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Norway strengthens its Arctic military in new defense plan as security concerns grow in the region, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Two Chinese rigs prepare for drilling in Russian Arctic waters, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Sweden’s FM calls for more EU involvement in Arctic as country hosts EU Arctic Forum, Radio Sweden

United States: U.S. wants to keep the Arctic an area of low tensions, top official, Radio Canada International

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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