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“Barents cooperation and its positive development – a showcase of constructive EU-Russia cooperation”


The Kirkenes Conference

Marie-Anne Coninsx, EU Ambassador at Large of the Arctic speaking

This week the Barents Capital is hosting the annual Kirkenes Conference. Together with simultaneously arranged Barents Spectacle cultural events, the conference is the highlight of the year for many in the Barents region. Bringing together politics, industry and the regional actors the conference has become the most important meeting point for the people in the Barents region. This year the focus is strongly on sustainable development, people-to-people cooperation and strategic infrastructure in the North.

The first day included sessions on sustainable use of resources. Discussions about sustainable tourism, wind power and overall greener future of new energy sources brought together professionals and policy makers from various fields.

On the second day, the focus was shifted to transport future development in the North. Anne Berner, the Finnish Minister for Transport & Communications, wanted to connect the Barents region to the rest of Europe and Asia by improving logistical infrastructure and thus promoting the Barents region as a logistics hub.

In the dialogue with her Norwegian colleagues, she stressed the importance of intelligent transport solutions and fast data connections in addition to logistical infrastructure. Also prospects of possible railroad connecting Finland to Norwegian sea coast was mentioned by several speakers.

Marie-Anne Coninsx, EU Ambassador at Large of the Arctic, praised the Barents cooperation and its positive development as a showcase of constructive EU-Russia cooperation in a difficult geopolitical environment. She highlighted that the Barents region can be a dynamo for sustainable development to the benefit of the region and its inhabitants and act as an inspiration to other parts of the world.

Coninsx stressed that constructive social dialogue has always been the strength of Barents cooperation and people in the region should be an inseparable part of the Barents policies in the future, as well. As it has been emphasized during the Swedish Chairmanship of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council, people-to-people dialogue is the way we face our common challenges and shape our future. 

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