Cooperation in the Barents Euro-Arctic Council continues without Russia
Russia announced its decision to withdraw from the Barents Euro-Arctic Council on 18 September. The Barents cooperation will now continue between Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and the European Union, as it has continued since the Barents partners condemned Russia’s illegal war of aggression against Ukraine in March 2022.
Russia announced its decision to withdraw from the Barents Euro-Arctic Council on 18 September. The Barents cooperation will now continue between Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and the European Union.
Finland has held the chairmanship of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council since October 2021. According to the rotation system, the chairmanship was supposed to transfer to Russia in October 2023. Finland’s position has been that the chairmanship cannot be transferred to a country that is engaged in an illegal war of aggression.
In March 2022, activities involving Russia were suspended in the Barents Euro-Arctic Council. The cooperation continued in “Friends of the Presidency” format, which included all other members of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council. At regional level, North Karelia has led the Barents cooperation since March 2022, and it will begin its two-year Presidency of the Barents Regional Council in October 2023.
The Barents Euro-Arctic Council
The Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC) was established at Norway’s initiative by the Kirkenes Declaration in 1993. Practical Barents cooperation is carried out in sectoral working groups, which include the Working Group of Indigenous Peoples that has a special advisory role.
The Barents cooperation takes a regional and practical approach to the wider Arctic cooperation. With the Barents cooperation, Finland has achieved concrete results in many areas that contribute to sustainable development, including people-to-people contacts and improved connectivity.