Finland has a leading role to play in the Northern Dimension

Finland has a leading role to play in the Northern Dimension

The Northern Dimension is an instrument of cooperation between the European Union, the Russian Federation, Norway and Iceland. On Friday 18 October, the 20th anniversary of the Northern Dimension was celebrated at the House of Estates in a seminar organised by the Paasikivi Society and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

A large audience seated in the ornamental hall.
The Northern Dimension attracted a full house of attendees. ©Paasikivi-Seura/Katariina Enäjärvi-Miinin

The Northern Dimension became part of the European Union's external policy in 1999 on Finland’s initiative. The aim is to promote stability, wellbeing and sustainable development in Northern Europe from the Arctic to the Baltic Sea. Diverse cooperation has developed into four partnerships in the fields of the environment, health, transport and culture. The activities are complemented by the Northern Dimension Institute coordinating the cooperation of universities, the Northern Dimension Business Council and the Northern Dimension Parliamentary Forum.

The anniversary of the Northern Dimension was celebrated in the “One of the best kept secrets of the nation – Northern Dimension 2.0” seminar arranged at the House of the Estates. The seminar was opened by former Speaker of Parliament and Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen, who had a significant role in the birth of the Northern Dimension. Maimo Henriksson, Director General of the Department for Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Petteri Vuorimäki, Ambassador for the Arctic and Antarctic, led panel discussions on the successes, ongoing projects and future of the Northern Dimension. The wastewater projects to improve the state of the Baltic Sea in Northwest Russia and the nuclear safety projects in the Kola Peninsula were particularly commended. At the end of the seminar, a speech was given by Vice Chair of the Paasikivi Society, MP Erkki Tuomioja.

As far as the future of the Northern Dimension is concerned, Director General Henriksson attaches particular importance to commitment and visibility on the political level. “In order for Finland to be globally influential, the Northern Dimension policy needs national objectives and resources,” said MP Mari-Leena Talvitie in her speech. During its Presidency of the Council of the EU, Finland wants to draw attention to the importance of regional cooperation. Environmental cooperation and especially climate change mitigation, regional and cross-border cooperation are Finland's priorities. “Finland must not be afraid of taking on the role of a leader,” said Director General Henriksson.

The next event of the anniversary of the Northern Dimension will be the international invitation-only conference A Clean and Global North to be organised at Finlandia Hall in November.

See the recording of the seminar on the Paasikivi Society’s website: