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Sergey Lavrov: Practical task is to synergize efforts

LavrovInterview of Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation S.V.Lavrov to "Amber Bridge" Magazine on the multilateral cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region.

Mr. Minister, at a recent international conference held by the Amber Bridge Fund the Baltic region was characterized as exemplary and possessing cooperation experience that can be borrowed by other parts of Europe and the world. How do you assess international interaction in the Baltic Sea r egion and Northern Europe? Geopolitical changes in the last two decades did not bypass the Baltic Sea region. New cooperation opportunities which emerged after the end of ideological standoff were used efficiently by the countries of the region and definitely benefited the area.

Geopolitical changes of the last two decades has not bypassed the Baltic sea region. Opened after the completion of the period of ideological confrontation new opportunities for cooperation were used are located here States very effectively, went clearly for the benefit of the entire region.

Today, Baltika is one of the most prosperous, innovative and competitive regions in the world. About the level of its development is indicative of the region's GDP – according to the latest published data, the volume totaled in 2010, a little more than 1.3 trillion euros. For comparison, this corresponds to about 11% of the total GDP of the member countries of the European Union. Moreover, it is a capacious market-there are about 57 million people, 27 million of whom are economically active population. A significant proportion – 15% – is the Baltic sea in world traffic.

A significant contribution to raising the standard of living of the population in the North of Europe makes cooperation within regional structures. In Russia, it is assumed that the joint efforts of the countries of the region in countering modern challenges and threats and the search for effective solutions to respond to all urgent tasks contributes to the formation here of a space of stability, mutual trust and sustainable socio-economic development.

The interaction of Northern Europe can be compared with the mosaic thematic and regional fragments. We attribute this to the benefits of the regional model. Its supporting structures are four regional Council – the Council of Baltic sea States (CBSS), the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC), Arctic Council (AC) and the Council of Nordic Ministers (NCM). The activities of these organizations successfully complemented the work of other specialized organizations, unions and associations at various levels.

The diversity and originality "landscape" of cooperation in the North of Europe defines the importance of continuous improvement coordination, elimination of duplication between the major players in order to improve the efficiency and practical results. Much in this area have already been achieved. Annual meetings of representatives of regional councils, there is regular contact between workers and their expert groups, the secretariats of the councils.

However, it appears that it is time to move to a more perfect and qualitatively new stage of coordination. Multilateral formats of cooperation in the region are increasingly confronted with problems that are universal, and often global in nature. Development of joint or, as we say, "cross-cutting" projects may provide an even greater benefit, to provide better results, lead to synergy. Good proof of this was the success of the project INDIGEE to promote entrepreneurship among the indigenous peoples of the North, implemented jointly by the BEAC and the Nordic Council of Ministers.

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