At the meeting of the Northern Dimension foreign ministers in Oslo, Foreign Ministry Secretary General Marten Kokk emphasised that Estonia sees important co-operation potential in the Northern Dimension Cultural Partnership that is to begin soon.
Kokk stressed that Estonia hopes that the Northern Dimension will develop into a vigorous and dynamic political and co-operation framework. "For example, two new partnerships of the Northern Dimension are about to kick off: the Transportation and Logistics Partnership and Cultural Partnership. Prioritising cultural exchange and export is one trend that will improve the competitiveness and visibility of the Northern Dimension region," said Kokk. "Cultural partnership gives an opportunity to develop the creative industries of the entire region. By addressing the issues of creative industries, we can help form an appropriate environment and cultural communication network that will facilitate the work of creative enterprises," he added, also mentioning Estonia-Russia co-operation in the organisation of the "Golden Mask" festival and inviting his colleagues to visit the European Capital of Culture Tallinn in 2011.
According to Secretary General Kokk, the Transportation and Logistics Partnership is significant for improving the transportation connections of the Baltic Sea and Barents regions. "Fixing transportation connections and using them effectively, as well as addressing the facilitation of border crossings, are important from the perspective of the entire region's development. Transportation and logistics co-operation will help first and foremost in advancing the economic development of the region," he said.
Secretary General Kokk stated that for the further development of the Northern Dimension, it is also important that all the nations in the region make a contribution to achieving common regional goals. "Therefore we support Belarus joining as an observer in Northern Dimension co-operation," Kokk noted.
The Northern Dimension is a primarily project-based EU foreign policy instrument for regional co-operation. The European Union, Norway, Iceland, and the Russian Federation all participate as equal partners. The Northern Dimension's everyday work also includes many other co-operation partner, like for the four so-called Nordic councils- the Council of Baltic Sea States, the Nordic Council of Ministers, the Arctic Council, and the Barents Euro-Arctic Council. The Northern Dimension is also an external dimension of the Baltic Sea Region Strategy.