Northern Dimension

Northern Dimension map

The Northern Dimension Policy of the European Union answers to the EU’s intensive cross-border relations with Russia in the Baltic Sea and Arctic Sea regions.

The Northern Dimension Policy was elaborated in 1999 with the participation of Norway, Iceland, EU Member States and the Russian Federation. Canada and the US are observers.

With the enlargement of the Union on 1st May 2004, the importance of the Northern Dimension has increased considerably: eight EU Member States (Denmark, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Sweden) now surround the Baltic Sea, and the EU’s shared border with Russia has lengthened significantly.

With Russia, the Northern Dimension is implemented within the framework of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. Geographically the Northern Dimension focuses increasingly on northwest Russia, Kaliningrad, the Baltic and the Barents Seas, the Arctic and Sub-Arctic areas.

The Northern Dimension is intended to promote security and stability in the region and help avoid the emergence of new dividing lines in Europe following EU enlargement.

It aims to address the special regional development challenges of northern Europe. These include cold climatic conditions, long distances, wide disparities in standards of living, environmental challenges, including problems with nuclear waste and waste water management, and insufficient transport and border crossing facilities.

The Northern Dimension is also intended to take advantage of the rich potential of the region, for example in terms of natural resources, economic dynamism, and a rich cultural heritage.

The key priority themes for dialogue and cooperation are:

  • Economy, business and infrastructure
  • Human resources, education, culture, scientific research and health
  • Environment, nuclear safety, and natural resources
  • Cross-border cooperation and regional development
  • Justice, Liberty and Security

A particular emphasis is placed on subsidiarity, and on ensuring the active participation of all stakeholders in the North, including regional organizations, local and regional authorities, the academic and business communities, and civil society.

The reinforced Northern dimension policy

The renewed Northern Dimension Policy was launched at the Helsinki Summit in November 2006, which helped intensify substantially the cooperation between participating countries. The two main characteristics of the renewed policy are: the co-ownership of EU, Iceland, Norway and Russia; and the strong link between the Northern Dimension Policy and the four EU/Russia Common Spaces agreed in 2004 and specified in the Road Maps adopted in 2005

The new Northern Dimension Political Declaration and Northern Dimension Policy Framework Document were adopted at Helsinki. To boost project implementation several partnerships were created, including the  Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership (NDEP); the Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Wellbeing (NDPHS); and the Northern Dimension Partnership on Transport and Logistics.

The Northern Dimension cooperation with Northern regional/financial organisations

Port of Kaliningrad

A number of regional organisations have a particularly important role to play in the Northern Dimension, the main ones being :

The international financial institutions (IFIs), as well as the private sector, also have an important role to play in the running of the Northern Dimension, including notably:

More information:


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