The New Northern Dimension: From Regional Co-operation to High Politics

Seminar on 2 June 2008
Säätytalo, Helsinki

Organised in co-operation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway
and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland

The seminar will give insights into the regional cooperation onside of the Northern Dimension framework that is a regional expression of the EU-Russia relations four common spaces and where the equal partnership principle is applied in the first time in Russia-EU relations. It is also noteworthy that Northern Dimension is not only for Russia-EU relations but also Norway and Iceland are equal partners in it. Norway plays very important role in the Europe-Russia relations.   

Report of corresponding research project Energising the New Northern Dimension (PDF)

Invitation (PDF)



Tea and coffee served




Key note speech

Teija Tiilikainen, Secretary of State, MFA Finland


Roundtable I: “Relations with Russia in the European North - what works?”

The importance of regional cooperation is growing. EU is already an entity of 27 states and there is still possibility of enlargement in the future. It has neighbors which have great importance for the EU. In the European North the most significant neighbors are Norway and Russia. In this panel the relations between different states and Russia will be looked into. To what extent the relations are similar and where do the differences lie?

Chair: Pami Aalto, Professor, University of Tampere
Russia-Norway Relation: Some Practical Cooperation
Helge Blakkisrud, Head of Department for Russian and Eurasian Studies,
Norwegian Institute of International Affairs

Will Russia Open, Does Finland Benefit from It?
 Pekka Sutela, Head of BOFIT, Institute for Economics in Transition BOFIT,
 Bank of Finland

The Political Level Relations between the EU and Russia –
the View from  
Kadri Liik, Director, International Centre for Defence Studies

Russian Relations with Sweden
Ingmar Oldberg, Deputy Research Director,
Swedish Defence Research Agency

Juri Osintsev, Deputy Chairman of the Committee of the Council of Federation Concerning Local Authorities and Municipalities,
Russian Federation

Vitali Artamonov
, Advisor of Mihail Nikolajev, Vice Chairman of the Council of Russian Federation





Roundtable II: “Partnerships of the Northern Dimension -
putting words into practice”

The Northern Dimension partnership programmes on Environment and on Health and Social Well-being have shown both the strengths and weaknesses of the framework. Transport and logistics will be a new partnership, but what is the role of energy? Can energy be a partnership in the ND? In this panel will be taken a look into the work and lessons learned as well as best practices as guidelines for the future. Practical cooperation should be a strength but is it that? How does Russia view the partnerships? Are there overlaps and competition between projects and partnerships?

Chair: Helge Blakkisrud, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs

Environmental partnership
Nina Tynkkynen, FinnishInstitute of International Affairs

Social and health partnership
Aadne Aasland, Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research

Logistics and transport partnership
Katri Pynnöniemi, Finnish Institute for International Affairs

Energy partnership
Indra Overland, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
Pami Aalto, University of Tampere

Irina Busygina
, MGIMO; Moscow



Coffee break


Roundtable III: “ EU-Russia and the Northern Dimension” – policy panel

Russia is arguably the most significant partner and challenge for the EU’s external relations in the East. What is the situation between the EU and Russia today? What can the ND framework do? What are the expectations? How does Norway see the EU’s role and Russia’s role in the ND? Will the equality principle work? What will be the relationship between the EU’s new Baltic Sea strategy and the ND – complementary or competing?

Chair: Hanna Smith, Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki

Marja-Leena Vuorenpää, Counsellor,
Unit for the Northern Dimension, MFA Finland

Robert Kvile, MFA Norway (TBC)

Andrey Avetisyan, Deputy Director, MID Russia

Viljar Lubi, Director, General Affairs Division, EU Department, MFA Estonia

Anders Ljunggren, Minister, Swedish Embassy, Helsinki, MFA Sweden

Comments: Michael Emerson,
The Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), Brussels