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Co-operation with North-West Russia resumes

The Nordic Council of Ministers has resumed co-operation with North-West Russia. The general aims and objectives remain the same but the work will be organised differently.

Merete Bendiksen/

Co-operation between the Nordic Region and North-West Russia has been on the backburner since January 2015 when the Ministry of Justice in Moscow categorised the Nordic Council of Ministers’ offices in St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad as “foreign agents”. The ministers for Nordic co-operation took the decision to resume relations on 3 February. The level of activity in the St.Petersburg office will remain minimal and it will not be involved in official co-operation.

In autumn 2015, the Council of Ministers set up a working party made up of experts in Russian affairs to look into the options for co-operation. It has now concluded that there is still scope for co-operation, in the first instance on education and research, journalism and relations between parliamentarians. Efforts will also be made to get new projects of the ground that provide support to civil society and human rights in Russia, the marketing of Nordic values and support for co-operation on the environment, energy, the climate, planning and health.

The new co-operation programme is flexible and open in terms of partners, project length and who will administer projects. The new programme and structure will be evaluated in 2017.

The level of ambition for the co-operation remains high and a significant budget has been earmarked for it.

“Co-operation with North-West Russia remains highly important. The new programme is a tangible sign of just how important,” says the Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers, Dagfinn Høybråten.

The appropriate Russian authorities have been informed of the Council of Ministers’ plans.


Kenneth Broman
Phone +45 24 69 94 03