Finland to increase its input in Arctic region cooperation
Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Stubb adds momentum to collaboration with Russia during visit to St. Petersburg
Finland wants to increase its presence in the Arctic region and aims to strengthen its cooperation with Russia.
“Let’s keep the Arctic region partnership free from red tape”, Finland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Stubb (National Coalition Party) said in St. Petersburg on Wednesday. Stubb was speaking at the “Finnish-Russian Arctic Partnership” seminar at the Russian Geographic Society in St Petersburg on Wednesday.
The Arctic partnership programme, which was officially launched at the seminar, was initiated by Finland. Its exemplar could well be the cooperation between Russia and Norway in the same Barents region. Last autumn the two countries reconciled their decades-old border dispute in the extreme north and agreed on a strategy of shared energy resources.
“The work could be implemented through the Northern Dimension Business Council”, Stubb suggested. The Arctic Council would remain the primary tool for the multilateral relations. The council includes eight different countries.
Finland will expand its representation in the North-west of Russia by turning its service point in Murmansk into a main consulate.
The Arctech Helsinki Shipyard, co-owned by the South Korean STX group, believes that the emergence of the Arctic region can create new shipbuilding possibilities with Russia. Half of the shipyard was sold to the Russian United Shipbuilding Corporation last year.
“By the year 2030, Russia will need 90 new special service vessels, 45 icebreakers, and 50 ice-equipped tankers, to name but a few examples”, listed Juho Heikinheimo, President of STX Finland Cruise Oy.
At present the shipyard is constructing two icebreakers for the Russian maritime shipping company Sovcomflot.
The geopolitical significance of the Arctic region is constantly growing because of the area’s considerable energy resources and the gradual opening of the Arctic Route, thanks to climate change.
The energy giants Rosneft and British Petroleum are going to set up a joint centre on Arctic technologies in St. Petersburg.
In January the companies agreed on cooperation in oil and gas drilling in the Arctic region.
The environmental organisation WWF’s Russian arm has criticised the agreement, for according to the wild life activists the plan poses a threat to the northern preservation areas.
During his three-day visit to Western Russia, Stubb has already been to Vyborg and St. Petersburg.
Earlier this week he was present at the opening of a new visa application centre in St. Petersburg.
Today, Thursday, Stubb will travel to Petrozavodsk.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Receding ice may uncover Arctic riches (24.8.2010)
Finland and Sweden miffed at being excluded from Arctic meeting (31.3.2010)
Finland wants stronger role in Arctic region (29.4.2009)
The Northern Dimension initially got a chilly reception in Russia (30.5.2006)
Canadian study: Finns want more Arctic cooperation (25.1.2011)
Northern Dimension Business Council
Ministry for Foreign Affairs press release
European Union External Action: Northern Dimension