Strengthening the Barents cooperation

The Kainuu region in Eastern Finland is known for its beautiful lakes, hills and vast uninhabited forest areas. Now it is also the chairman of the Barents Regional Council and wants to enhance the interaction of the cooperation participants.


RegionalChairmanship320px.jpgKainuu region in Finland took over the Barents Regional Council (BRC) chairmanship from the Arkhangelsk Oblast in Russia on October 2015. The priorities for the chairmanship for the period 2015–2017 are in economic cooperation, transport and logistics and culture and tourism.

One goal that has been set for the chairmanship is to promote interaction within the Barents region and the Arctic region and enhance the cooperation between people, different regional actors and different forums of collaboration.

Mr. Pentti Malinen, the Chair of the BRC, says that in that matter Kainuu wants to be practical and concrete in their goals:

-- We have set a special communications plan to enhance the use of new meeting and communications practices in Barents cooperation. This means for example videoconferences and using webpages and social media more actively in communication. It is also important to consider if we could reorganize working groups, regional committees and mandates so that the cooperation would be more effective and productive in the future.

– Networking inside the Barents region and contacting financiers and decision makers at the national level and in the EU is also important. During this year, we will invest especially in projects that can use the European Neighborhood Instrument.

Unique multidimensional forum

Pentti Malinen appreciates much the unique cooperation within the Barents region. The Barents cooperation on the personal, regional and ministerial levels works well even when there are global political tensions and that make the cooperation even more important.

– The question about how we can reinforce the economic growth of the region is a constant challenge for the Barents cooperation. Our vast natural resources and natural conditions are an excellent base to increase economic growth but at the same time the lack of capital is a challenge for growth.

As the chair the Kainuu region wants to inspire the different cooperation parties to be more active. Malinen hopes that the unique cooperation and the Barents region will get more publicity during the chairmanship.

– We hope that in the future the Barents region will be better known in the EU and at the national political level.


Interview by Johanna Westerlund

Photo: Pentti Malinen (left) from Kainuu region receiving the BRC chairman gavel from Alexey Kalinin from the Arkhangelsk Oblast


The Chairmanship of the Barents Regional Council (BRC) rotates biennially between its 13 member counties. The Regional Council convenes twice a year and the meetings are prepared by the Regional Committee which consists of civil servants from the member county administrations. The working groups of BRC together with the common working groups of BRC and the Barents Euro-Arctic Council will deepen and concretize the co-operation.

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Barents Euro-Arctic Council official website 2016