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Taking Norway’s Arctic Strategy to the EU

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– We stand here together because foreign policy and domestic and regional policies are more and more intertwined in the Arctic, said Trond Gabrielsen at the beginning of the presentation at Norway House.

– Sustainable economic activity is possible in the Arctic – a region characterized by international cooperation. The EU is an important partner for Norway in the North, concluded Norwegian representatives Trond Gabrielsen and Vincent Fleischer during event at Norway House in Brussels.

Trond Gabrielsen from Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Vincent Fleischer from the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation, shared the stage when presenting the new Arctic Strategy on January 18th.

– The Arctic is Norway’s most important foreign policy interest area. At the same time, our aim is to develop Northern Norway as one of the most innovative and sustainable regions, said Trond Gabrielsen.

Arctic priorities

Norway’s new Arctic Strategy was presented on April 21st last year. It lays out the following five key priorities:

  • International cooperation
  • Business development
  • Knowledge development
  • Infrastructure
  • Environmental protection/emergency preparedness
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– Innovation is needed because new practices and new knowledge is absolutely necessary to develop the Arctic, and sustainability is needed because the Arctic is vulnerable in terms of environment and climate, said Vincent Fleischer.

– Innovation is needed because new practices and new knowledge is absolutely necessary to develop the Arctic, and sustainability is needed because the Arctic is vulnerable in terms of environment and climate. It is also vulnerable in terms of social considerations such as unbalances in gender and age. Development of the Arctic must therefore include social, economic and environmental sustainability, said Vincent Fleischer.

Read in full: Norway’s Arctic Strategy

Fleischer also highlighted the need for both regional and international cooperation in the Arctic.

– One of the main messages from our Arctic Strategy is that the future development in the North must build on a strong and systematic dialogue between the national and regional level. We therefore particularly support the bottom-up process in the Arctic Stakeholder Forum (ASF), concluded Fleischer.

Meeting EU representatives

The seminar on January 18th was opened by Norway's ambassador to the EU, Oda Helen Sletnes, and attended by more than 50 people from a variety of institutions and organizations.

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Among them were representatives from the network of Northern Sparsely Populated Areas (NSPA), who presented their proposals for EU investments in the Arctic.

After the event, Norwegian representatives met with the Commission Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) to discuss key points in the development of the Arctic.

Read more: EU Arctic policy

On January 19th, Norway will participate in the ASF presentation of the “Summary report of the Arctic Stakeholder Forum consultation to identify key investment priorities in the Arctic and ways to better streamline future EU funding programs for the region”.

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The report is based on key investment priorities identified by EU institutions, European Arctic Member States, regional and local authorities, and indigenous peoples. It is meant as input for the EU’s new Multiannual financial framework post 2020.

From the 21st to the 26th of January, the Arctic Frontiers Policy will be held in Tromsø. It will have five main sessions with the following tentative working titles: State of the Arctic, Technology and connectivity, Resilient Arctic societies and business development, Healthy and productive oceans, Industry and environment.