Lavrov travels to Brussels for ministerial meeting of Northern Dimension

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will take part in the third ministerial meeting of the Northern Dimension comprising Russia, EU, Iceland and Norway in Brussels on Monday.

Earlier the Russian Foreign Ministry announced that the meeting is expected to mull topical aspects of cooperation in northern Europe and consider the state of affairs in the Northern Dimension, and the partnerships in environmental protection, transport and logistics, health protection and social well-being, and culture functioning in its framework.

"Russia's involvement in the Northern Dimension not only promotes further strengthening of multifaceted cooperation in the north of Europe, but also promotes the comprehensive development of northwest Russia, namely through the advancement of energy efficiency in the framework of the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership," the ministry said.

It named among the key achievements of this partnership the opening of the northern carrier drain in St. Petersburg and the upcoming launch of a system of purification installations in Kaliningrad.

The ministry noted that the Environmental Partnership is implementing projects with a total cost exceeding 3 billion euros.

"Russia is the main donor of the non-nuclear window of the partnership special fund - by 2016 its contributions will reach 60 million euros," it said.

It said that regional cooperation is also promoted by the development of all-European transport and logistical networks under the aegis of the relevant partnership of the Northern Dimension.

The Foreign Ministry pointed out to the operations of the Partnership in Public Health and Social Wellbeing, the aim of which is not only to promote the system of health protection in the Northern Dimension area, but implement concrete projects in the sphere, including research projects.

The ministers also intend to discuss the operations of the Business Council and Institute of the Northern Dimension.

"As for the Northern Dimension Institute, we note that work is now under way to intensify the involvement of Russian institutions of higher learning in this network structure (uniting 26 universities in 10 countries), in particular, the possibility of assuming the duties of coordinator is being examined. The subject of the upcoming session of the Northern Dimension parliamentary forum in spring may also be raised," the ministry said.

The Northern Dimension was launched at a top-level meeting in Helsinki in 2006. The key documents defining the operations of the format were signed then - the framework document and the political declaration of the Northern Dimension.

"The name of the policy is sometimes described as updated Northern Dimension because in 1997-2005 the Northern Dimension existed as a EU policy aimed primarily at developing transborder cooperation of member-states with the purpose of preparing them for admission to the EU," the Foreign Ministry noted. At the time Russia was not officially party to the Northern Dimension.

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