Cooperation in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region

Cooperation in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region was launched in 1993 in two fora: intergovernmental Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC) and interregional Barents Regional Council (BRC). The Barents cooperation has fostered a new sense of unity and closer contact among the people of the region which is an excellent basis for further progress. The overall objective of Barents cooperation has been sustainable development in all the different fields of cooperation.

Cooperation on governmental and regional level

The members of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council are Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and the European Commission. A shared interim Trio presidency between the three countries now follows after Finland held the chairmanship for the period of 2021-2023 and Russia withdraw from BEAC in September 2023.

Meeting of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council 2023, Joensuu. Photo: Janne Käyhkö

Sweden, Norway, and Finland currently hold a shared Trio Presidency of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council. Other members of the Council are Denmark, Iceland, and the European Commission where all EU countries are represented.

Thematic Working Groups

The two councils have established thematic Working Groups. The Working Groups constitute a cross-border platform for exchange for the civil servants and professionals of the respective field both on the national and regional level. The aim of the Working Groups is to concretize the cooperation in the different sectors where cooperation takes place.

Indigenous peoples role in the Barents Euro-Arctic Council

To secure indigenous peoples’ rights, foundation for trade, society, culture and language in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region, the indigenous Sami people and their representatives cooperate in the Working Group of Indigenous Peoples (WGIP). It has an advisory role in both the Barents Euro-Arctic Council and the Barents Regional Council which means that the WGIP Chair is a member of the Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) and the Barents Regional Committee, and that they are always represented at the Barents Euro-Arctic Council Ministerial Sessions and the Barents Regional Council meetings. WGIP's participation is also welcome in all Barents working groups.

The Summit of Barents Euro-Arctic Indigenous Sámi People - 2023

The International Barents Secretariat

In 2008, the International Barents Secretariat was established in Kirkenes. The secretariat supports the multilateral activities within the Barents Euro-Arctic Council and Barents Regional Council and secures the coherence and efficiency of the cooperation.

Barents Cooperation on YouTube


Photos on Flickr