MOSCOW, October 29 (Itar-Tass) - The Barents Euro-Arctic Regional Council (BEAC) on Tuesday approved Russia’s idea to set up an expert group to work out financial mechanisms to support the Council’s projects.
“With an aim to increase regional competitiveness and attract more investments, the Russian side suggested creating a BEAC financial mechanism to support the Council’s projects. The idea was approved at a summit in Kirkenes,” Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov told the 14th BEAC ministerial session in Troms, Norway.
The high-ranking Russian diplomat said that Russian experts would hopefully study and use the positive experience of how similar instruments functioned within the frameworks of the Council of Baltic Sea States and the Arctic Council.
“We also hope for fruitful participation of regional players in forming the financial mechanism and we expect the Barents Regional Council to coordinate the process,” Titov went on to say.
He suggested that an expert group should submit a report to a regular BEAC ministerial session in 2015. “All interim information should be submitted for consideration to the Committee of senior officials,” Ttitov added.
Russia’s first deputy foreign minister emphasized that sustainable development of the Arctic region would help to do away with the current perception that the Barents Euro-Arctic Region was Europe’s treasury of mineral resources.
“This is not the region’s only advantage. If we speak about the region’s future, we should see it as a ‘smart’ part of Europe, which consistently develops innovative and hi-tech interaction for the sake of the people, including the indigenous population, who reside in the region,” Titov said.
The Russian diplomat also voiced Russia’s suggestion to institute a Barents Award in the field of innovations and cancel all visas formalities for the purpose of developing the Arctic region. Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov said on Tuesday. He is attending the 14th ministerial session of the Barents Euro-Arctic Regional Council (BEAC) in Troms, Norway.
In his speech at the BEAC’s 14th ministerial session Titov stressed the need to develop the region’s scientific and technological potential, which is crucial for increasing the region’s competitiveness.
“In this connection, we suggest instituting a Barents Award in the field of innovations for advanced developments from which all the countries of the Barents Euro-Arctic Regional Council could benefit and which will make it possible to unite efforts to build up the innovative potential of our region. A Council’s working group for economic cooperation could develop the status of such an award and the criteria of selection of nominees,” Titov went on to say.
The Russian diplomat noted the expansion of human contacts should be one of the Council’s key tasks in the next two years.
“Russia and Norway made a vital step in that direction after they had signed an Agreement on facilitation of reciprocal trips by people residing in the border territories in 2010,” Titov said. “However, this is not enough. The interests of socio-economic development of the Barents region require transition to a visa-free travel and the creation of a common market of qualified workforce,” the Russian first deputy foreign minister added.
The Barents Euro-Arctic Regional Council was established to expand international and regional cooperation and develop people’s diplomacy in January 1993 when the first Kirkenes Declaration was signed. The Council comprises 13 regions and provinces located in the Council’s member states: Lapland, Kainuu and Pohjos-Pohjanmaa in Finland; Finnmark, Nordland and Troms in Norway; Norrbotten and Westerbotten in Sweden; the Arkhangelsk and Murmansk regions, the Republic of Karelia and Komi and the Nenets Autonomous District in Russia.