OSLO, September 6 (Itar-Tass) - Worsening relations between Russia and the West will lead to higher unemployment in northern Norway, the business Dagens Naeringsliv edition cited Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg on Saturday as saying.
The premier arrived at the Arctic site of Tromso for a Conservative Party conference from Newport (Wales) where she participated in the NATO summit.
The situation in Ukraine, which was in the focus of the summit, concerns Norwegian people, particularly in northern regions, as tension in relations between Western countries and Russia has a negative effect on Norway’s economic interests, she said.
Norway borders Russia. The two countries have old traditions of cooperation. The strategy adopted in 2006 for development of northern Norwegian regions was based on cooperation with Russia as Norway’s partner.
The current situation will definitely have an impact on Norway’s business and its energy sector, she said, adding that after Norway joined the West’s sanctions against Russia, it already had an effect on the unemployment rate in the north, and if new sanctions were imposed, the negative effect would grow.
When Russia in response imposed a ban on agricultural imports from European countries, including Norway, the country in a moment lost one of the main markets for Norwegian fish.
Norway would not like to contribute to the worsening of relations between the countries, but would like to maintain constructive and predictable relations with Russia, she said.
Norway intended to continue cooperation, including in management of fish resources, the premier added.
Russia and Norway has been developing cooperation between their northern regions for more than 20 years. In 1993, the Barents Euro-Arctic Region organization was established, uniting northern regions of Norway, Russia, Finland and Sweden. Its 20th anniversary in the summer of 2013 was marked with the signing of a declaration and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Norway.
The countries implement many cultural, scientific and business projects within the BEAR organization. Norway alone financed and implemented more than 4,000 projects jointly with Russia in the past 20 years.
The head of Norway’s BEAR secretariat told Itar-Tass the organization had not received signals from the government to stop some projects or reduce financing, but he was concerned over the situation that could negate successes achieved over the years.