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The Barents Region by Vladislav Goldin
The Barents Region by Vladislav Goldin
The Barents Region by Vladislav Goldin
The Barents Region by Vladislav Goldin
The Barents Region by Vladislav Goldin
The Barents Region by Vladislav Goldin
The Barents Region by Vladislav Goldin
The Barents Region by Vladislav Goldin
The Barents Region by Vladislav Goldin
The Barents Region by Vladislav Goldin
The Barents Region by Vladislav Goldin
The Barents Region by Vladislav Goldin
The Barents Region by Vladislav Goldin
The Barents Region by Vladislav Goldin
The Barents Region by Vladislav Goldin
The Barents Region by Vladislav Goldin
The Barents Region by Vladislav Goldin
The Barents Region by Vladislav Goldin
The Barents Region by Vladislav Goldin
The Barents Region by Vladislav Goldin
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The Barents Region by Vladislav Goldin

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  • 1. THE BARENTS REGION IN THE EUROPEAN RETROSPECTIVE AND PERSPECTIVE Goldin, Vladislav, professor of the Northern (Arctic) Federal University (Arkhangelsk, Russia), honorary scientist of the Russian Federation
  • 2. The Barents Region as a phenomenon of the international relations and development in the new, post-Cold War, unified Europe, Europe of regions. The Barents process is an example of twenty years successful cooperation across the borders between East and West in the European North and its experience is useful not only for the Barents Region but for the whole Europe. The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (in 2008): “The further north, the closer relations between East-West”.
  • 3. More than hundred books (monographs and collections of articles) and thousands of articles on the Barents Region cooperation have been published and some of them issued in the last years: Barents Review 2010. Talking Barents. People, Borders and regional cooperation. Kirkenes, 2010; Fokin Iu.E., Smirnov A.I. Kirkenesskaia Deklaratsiia o sotrudnichestve v Barentsevom Evro/Arkticheskom regione: vzgliad iz Rossii 20 let spustia. Moscow, 2012; Barents Review 2012. Barents Borders. Delimitation and internationalization. Kirkenes, 2012: Landsem L.E.I. Barentsregionens tilblivelse – en studie av regionale initiative. Stamsund, 2013, etc.
  • 4. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: THE BARENTS REGION IN THE EUROPEAN RETROSPECTIVE The initiative of the Barents Region was an idea, mechanism and instrument to overcome a split of the North-European space, to eliminate there the heritage of the Cold War and to establish the atmosphere of trust between the new Russia and its neighbors, secure cooperation and sustainable development. The Barents initiative was a project in the new strategy of security and new security agenda, a part and example of the transformation process from “hard” security to “soft” security.
  • 5. The Barents process initiative was born in Norway and elaborated in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs headed by T. Stoltenberg. In the public lecture in November 2011 at the inauguration as an honorary doctor of the Northern (Arctic) Federal University (NArFU) he spoke: “When in 1992 I advanced a proposal of the Barents cooperation and the Barents Region the main goal was a desire to develop trans-regional cooperation here, in the North. When I was a Minister of Defense during the Cold War, it was a period of mistrust and absence of trans-regional ties. Since the period of the Cold War, this border was one of the most closed East-European borders. Taking the post of Minister of the Foreign Affairs in 1992 I saw a chance to make it a border of cooperation, to transfer a barrier into a bridge and to go from confrontation to collaboration”. The Barents Region today is an impressive example how at the place of one of the most militarized regions was possible to create a region of the fruitful peaceful cooperation in different fields.
  • 6. The Barents process was a part and consequence of rapid development of globalization and regionalization and new Big Europe formation. The constructing of the Barents Region was a response for the challenges and risks of peripherization and marginalization of this northernmost area of Europe. T. Stoltenberg thought about the future Barents Region as a part of the new Europe and recollected through years: “My dream was not only to encourage cooperation within the Barents Region. I saw the establishment of a Barents Region in a wider context. It was linked to the establishment of a Baltic cooperation – and also to the cooperation that eventually emerged at the Balkans. If you look at the map – the Barents, the Baltic, and the Balkans – these are border areas in Europe that for generations have been potential sources for conflicts, and in some cases it has lead to conflicts, violence and war. If we succeed with these cooperation projects … then we have turned these regions that were formerly characterized by high tension, to regions that are characterized by cooperation and stability”.
  • 7. J. Holst, who succeeded Stoltenberg as Foreign Minister of Norway in April 1993, stated that the Kirkenes Declaration had laid the foundations for “a meeting place”, for “regional cooperation with a European perspective”. In April 1993 at the first scientific conference (after the creation of the Barents Region) of the Russian and Norwegian politicians and researchers (in Arkhangelsk, devoted to the cooperation in education and science) Holst pointed out the specific place and significance of the North in the geo-cultural space of Europe, as a keeper of the old cultural values, as a border between religions and cultures. The EU commission became the member of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council and thus the EU started to take its steps to the North several years before the Northern Dimension initiative and policy appeared.
  • 8. The conceptualization of the Barents Region: was it an “artificial”, “engineered” region or “natural”, historical one? Its primary idea appeared as a functional geopolitical entity but soon transformed taking into consideration the historical background. T. Stoltenberg spoke in the same speech in Arkhangelsk, NArFU, in November 2011: “The Pomors and the times of Pomors were an important source of inspiration for us. In other words, a history was an example for us and we desired to learn on the examples of history. We desired to develop the old historical ties between the peoples of North-West Russia with the peoples of the northern regions of Finland, Norway and Sweden”. Through the years, many politicians and researchers admit that the modern Barents Region bases upon the foundation of longterm (for centuries and even thousands of years) peaceful relations and economic ties between the people lived on these territories.
  • 9. Achievements, problems and prospects of the Barents cooperation Releasing of the military and military-political tension and strengthening of the political stability is an obvious result of the Barents process, despite officially the Barents Region has not covered military policy affairs. The most militarized region of Europe with strategic military interests and dangers in the past it is a region without conflicts and dangerous military-political counterbalance, with a developing system of trust, multilateral military cooperation and joint exercises nowadays. Disappearance of the “image of enemy” and formation the atmosphere of trust and cooperation in different spheres is the main achievement of the Barents process.
  • 10. Impressive changes have been taken place in education, science and research in the Barents Region. From the first contacts, establishing ties and formation the joint programs and networks in education and science the member-countries and regions came to formation of the scientific-educational space of the Barents Region, which proved to be one of the most advanced and fruitful in the European higher educational space and European research area. Prominent results of cooperation in the cultural life, intensive cultural interaction can be served as a basis for the further movement to the cultural identity in the Barents Region.
  • 11. During the 1990s a visit to other country or region of the BEAR was an event (especially for the Russian citizens), later on, it became a usual practice and step by step the people became to feel themselves as the citizens of the Barents Region. Lightening of the visa regime and even possibility for the people living near the border to visit territory across the border without the visa, rapidly growing number of border crossings through Norwegian-Russian and Finnish-Russian stations is very important for the strengthening cooperation and mutual trust. People-to-people cooperation and interaction (in different forms and ages) is a prominent achievement, important phenomenon and a core of the Barents process.
  • 12. Positive experience of putting on the agenda and solving the indigenous people problems, securing their survival is a unique one for the whole Europe and other European border regions. Human dimension of the BEAR is a reality of contemporary situation.
  • 13. During the process of planning of the Barents process in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the beginning of the 1990s there were the ideas that the cooperation possibly could involve the Barents Sea and create the Barents Sea Region. However, at that time there were many obstacles (old disputed zone in the Barents Sea, high militarization, etc.), which made it impossible to include the Barents Sea in cooperation. After the Russian-Norwegian Treaty (2010) on Maritime Delimitation and Cooperation in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean new opportunities for cooperation appeared – not only through land border, but also through sea border, exploration of the joint oil and gas deposits. The Norwegian-Russian collaboration in exploration of the offshore hydrocarbon resources in the Barents Sea as well as the growing importance of all kinds of marine resources and environment here would stimulate the cooperation between the countries and the economic development in the Barents Region. It’s important also for the whole Europe and especially for providing its oil and gas demands and energy security.
  • 14. The Barents Region has huge industrial potential and good prospects of its development in different spheres, but it must not hamper the vulnerable environment. A protection of the environment from the start has been and still is one of the priorities of the Barents Region development. Solving of the vital environmental problems, big investments in this sphere, great changes in the ecological consciousness, formation of the environmental dimension of the Region – one more important achievement of the Barents cooperation. But new challenges and risks will be connected with the future “great exploration” of the North, extraction of the offshore hydrocarbon resources in the Barents Sea. The environmental organizations must take part in discussions and decision-making on key industrial developments. In any case, the local population of the Barents Region and Russian North, in particular, must not suffer from the appearance of international oil and gas corporations here but benefit from industrial development in the region with real and considerable investments made in regional and local socialeconomic and innovative development.
  • 15. In the October (1987) Gorbachev’s speech in Murmansk the idea about transforming the Northern Sea Route into the international transport artery was proclaimed. However, until nowadays, this project is still at the start. The extensive exploitation of the Northern Sea Route as alternative to the southern routes and real transforming it into the international transport artery would stimulate the Barents and Arctic cooperation and would be profitable for the most part of Europe.
  • 16. International tourism development in the BEAR (with coordination of the most interesting routes, improvement of the infrastructure, etc.) can become a rapidly developing joint branch of the new economy of the region and can be positive in many relations for Europe.
  • 17. The prospects of the Barents Region would depend greatly on Russia, as the most part of the BEAR territory and population is the Russian one, and the most part of resources (mineral first of all) concentrated on the Russian territory. What will be the future of Russia and results of the proclaimed modernization of the country and the Russian North in particular, as well as the realization of the Arctic strategy? What will be the future of the Russian European North in connection with the Big oil and gas exploitation? Will it be a raw appendix of Russia (Russian Centre) and the Barents Region as usual? Will it be a survival or real development of the Russian part of the BEAR? Can its innovative development, knowledge society and economy based on knowledge (become a reality in future? In particular, the Northern (Arctic) Federal University was created for it. What will be the situation with the level and quality of life of the citizens of the Russian North? - All these questions and answers on them will predetermine not only the future of the Russian European North but also the perspectives of the Barents Region as a whole. Crucial gap in the economic and social levels of development, quality of life between the western and the eastern (Russian) parts of the Barents Region has been and still is a serious barrier for the fruitful collaboration here as well as between Russia and Europe.
  • 18. Intensive trans-border and cross-border cooperation in different forms in the Barents Region is not only a practice, but also a sphere of science, complex and integrative research – boderology. The Barents Institute was created in Kirkenes in 2006 for the realization of the boderology projects and studies. Is it possible to make the Barents Institute more effective and transform into intellectual and analytical centre of the BEAR process development, analyzing and accumulating its experience, comparing the results of its development with the other international border regions of Europe (and world)?
  • 19. Functioning of the 2-levels construction of the Barents Region governance (Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC) and Barents Regional Council (BRC) and some other elements of its infrastructure – the Norwegian Barents Secretariat and some other member-countries Barents secretariats; the Barents Regional Committee; the International Barents Secretariat; the Barents Parliamentary Conference; the Barents Indigenous Peoples Congress; the Information Barents centers; working groups of BEAC and BRC; the Barents programs, etc. and their experience is of great importance for the other European border regions. Some of these institutions (i.e., the International Barents Secretariat) can work more effectively and play more active role in the further internationalization of the Barents process, in particular, as a part of European and Arctic processes. Well-developed and effective structures of the Barents Region will promote to the development of the Barents process itself and its growing role in the cross-border cooperation in a Wider Europe.
  • 20. Thank you for the attention!

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