Prime and Foreign ministers from Russia, Norway, Sweden and Finland meet in Kirkenes, Norway, today at the Barents Summit 2013 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Barents intergovernmental and interregional cooperation on sustainable development in the region.
Hosting the meeting, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg greets Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen, Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, Danish Foreign Minister Villy Soevndal, Vice President of the European Commission Siim Kallas, as well as representatives of observer states and other stakeholders in the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC). All in all, an estimated 250 people take part in the meeting.
The Barents Summit opened yesterday with an outdoor concert preceding a big reception at the venue of the Summit, the Thon Hotel Kirkenes. Today, the Summit culminates in a ministerial panel discussion and the release of an updated version of the 1993 Kirkenes Declaration, the founding document of BEAC.
Three Arctic countries ministers will meet in Tromsoe, Norway, today to officially open the new Arctic Council Secretariat: Norwegian and Swedish Foreign Affairs Ministers Espen Barth Eide and Carl Bildt, respectively, and Leona Aglukkaq who is Canadian Minister of Health and newly appointed Minister of the Arctic Council.
The Tromsoe visit marks the culmination of Ms. Aglukkaq’s tour of the Nordic countries initiated last week with her visit to Iceland on Tuesday, followed by visits to Denmark, Finland and Sweden.
Ms. Aglukkaq is introducing herself as the head of the incoming Canadian Chairmanship and outlining the policy that Canada will strive to implement during its 2 year-term.