Minister Väyrynen: Let us submit an arctic report to Parliament and set up a consultative committee of Arctic affairs

In his newest video blog, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Paavo Väyrynen brings up the issue of enhancing the Finnish Arctic policy. The Minister’s comment can be viewed in its entirety on the Ministry for Foreign Affairs website. The key contents of the comment are summarised in the following statement by the Minister.

“I have just arrived from the meeting of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee. The committee wanted to hear me about my trip to Arkhangelsk last week and about the Arctic region cooperation in general, as the Parliament is in the process of organising an international affairs forum about the cooperation.

I visited Arkhangelsk accompanied by a business delegation. Initially, I intended to combine this trip with my visit to Murmansk last year, but because the Governor of the region changed, the visit was postponed to this autumn.

Both of these regions have promising potential for developing exports and economic cooperation. Both play a central role in exploitation of the oil and gas resources of the Barents Sea region. In Arkhangelsk, there would seem to be cooperation opportunities available especially in shipbuilding industry and the forest sector.

Traditionally, Finland has had a strong hold of and strategy for Arctic cooperation. We were among the key parties involved in the establishment of the Arctic Council and the Barents Euro-Arctic council and Finland has continued its active participation on both forums. We have also determinedly advocated the cooperation in northern regions in our bilateral relations.

In the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, we discussed how Arctic issues should be processed in the future. Alongside the operation of the forum of Arctic affairs of the Finnish Parliament, we could also ponder the possibility of submitting a report on the issue to Parliament.

Setting up a special advisory committee to address Arctic issues is of particular importance. We used to have an Advisory Committee of Polar Affairs, which has no longer been active for one reason or another. Now we need a stronger organ, which can coordinate Finland’s activities in the Arctic regions. In addition to the central government, it would be important to get the regional representatives, the Sami Parliament and private actors involved in the process.”

Additional information: Press Attaché to the Minister Annika Saarikko, tel. +358 400 739 824

northern dimension