Norway and the EU

State Secretary Kim Traavik to Brussels – Focus on the High North of Europe

The Norwegian State Secretary Kim Traavik visited Brussels on 7. and 8. April. During his visit, Mr. Traavik had talks with several high-ranking officials in the Commission and the Council, as well as selected Members of the European Parliament.

08/04/2005 :: One of the most important issues raised by Mr. Traavik during these talks was the increasing importance of the most northern parts of Europe, not only to countries of the region, such as Norway and the Russian Federation, but to Europe as a whole and, consequently, the European Union and its institutions. Traavik exemplified this by referring to the very likely existence of large quantities of fossil energy in the area, the questions regarding natural resources management and the many different environmental issues that are relevant to this area.

As goes with the energy sector, the assumption of many experts is that up 25% of the undiscovered oil and gas reserves in the world are to be found in the areas of the high north, mostly off-shore, and in environmentally very vulnerable areas. This opens up a whole range of important perspectives for the future energy supply of Member States of the European Union.

The protection of the environment is another very important issue, with possible implications that goes way beyond the region itself, Mr. Traavik pointed out. Firstly, these areas are the breeding space of very many important fish stocks, daily to be found at dinner tables throughout Europe. Another important issue is the large quantity of nuclear material and waste that is stored in the area, most of it under very bad und unsupervised conditions. Thirdly, the High North is one of the areas on the globe where the effect of man made climate change is most visible, giving scientists and politicians real examples and consequences to show for in the on going debate.

The Norwegian government is expected to put forward a white paper on its policy regarding the High North area in the near future. 

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State Secretary Kim TraavikPhoto: Høyre