Northern Sea Route: Finland focuses on environmental issues
© RIA Novosti. Mikhail Fomichev

Northern Sea Route: Finland focuses on environmental issues

Finland welcomes the use of the Northern Sea Route but the country's decisions on whether to use it will be determined by environmental issues, said Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto in an interview with RIA Novosti on the sidelines of the EU Arctic Forum in Sweden.

The minister said his country appreciated all initiatives to build more ties as it was of interest to Finland. However, he said, it was important to be mindful of sustainable development and combining both things would be the main challenge for the future. Only then should we think about economic benefits. The environment is the priority because it concerns the whole humankind, he said.  

The minister spoke about the importance of cooperation with Russia on issues relating to the Arctic.

According to the minister, cooperation with Russia in the Arctic, in the Arctic Council format, is very important and despite the current situation, there is very close cooperation between people living in the Barents Sea area, including cooperation with Russian cities and indigenous peoples.

The first EU Arctic Forum is taking place in the city of Umea in the north of Sweden on October 3 and 4. It is being attended by representatives of EU institutions, as well as representatives of northern countries which are EU members, European Economic Area member countries, regional and local authorities from eastern and northern Finland, northern Norway, northern and central Sweden, Sami organizations and representatives of Denmark, Latvia and other countries.