Skip to content
Main menu hidden.

Image: Mattias Pettersson

Published: 2021-02-11

EU Arctic Forum in the actual Arctic

FEATURE EU Arctic Forum 2019 started off in Aula Nordica at Umeå University. The day was filled with difficult and important discussions about the environment, the economy, and democracy.

Text: Jonas Lidström

The President of the Council of Ministers of the EU, Pekka Haavisto, the EU's Arctic Ambassador Marie-Anne Coninsx together with H.R.H. The Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden , the new Minister for Foreign Affairs and the President of the Saami Council Åsa Larsson Blind made the introductory speeches.

Moderator Katrina Sichel set a clear agenda from start:
- The main purpose of getting you all together is really to identify, and to assess recent developments in the Arctic. And of course, to pinpoint some of the main challenges ahead.

The Crown Princess Victoria inaugurated the forum by quoting a young reindeer herding Sami she recently spoke to:

- I used to be able to call my father, and ask him when there was something wrong with the reindeer that I did not understand. But what’s happening now is new to him. He can no longer give me advice.

Since October 2, 2019, Västerbotten is chair of the Barents Council, and her majesty declared:
-So it seems just right to gather here this morning in Umeå for the first EU Arctic Forum. To bring EU to the Arctic, and the Arctic to the EU. And to meet here at Umeå university, known for Arcum, it’s Arctic Research Center.

After the introductory speeches a panel discussion on ’International Cooperation in the Arctic’ with 8 Foreign Ministers from the Nordics, Europe and from India was held, followed by to more sessions regarding the ‘Sustainable Arctic’, and ‘Sustainable Investments in the Arctic’.

In addition to climate and indigenous issues, economic development was given a lot of attention during the day.

The two last panel sessions for the day were on the topic of ‘White, Green and Blue Arctic’ and ‘Connecting the Arctic’.

Umeå university was represented on the scene during the last panel session by the current Director at Arcum, Peter Sköld, who also is the chair of the Board of Governors of the University of the Arctic (UArctic).

The next day the EU Arctic Forum continued in down town Umeå with the Arctic Indigenous  Peoples’ dialogue.

Participants at EU Arctic Forum in Umeå 2019

Introductory speakers

  • H.R.H. The Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden
  • Magdalena ANDERSSON, Governor of Västerbotten County, Sweden
  • Åsa LARSSON-BLIND, President of the Saami Council
  • H.E. Ann LINDE, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sweden
  • H.E. Pekka HAAVISTO, Finland’s Presidency of the Council of Ministers of the European Union
  • H.E. Marie-Anne CONINSX, EU Ambassador at large for the Arctic
  • H.E. Karmenu VELLA, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, European Commission (message read by Antonina ROUSSEVA)

Panel session: International Cooperation in the Arctic

Moderator: Erika BJERSTRÖM, Swedish Television SVT


  • H.E. Pekka HAAVISTO, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Finland
  • H.E. Gudlaugur Thór THÓRDARSON, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Iceland
  • H.E. Ann LINDE, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sweden
  • H.E. Ine ERIKSEN SØREIDE, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Norway
  • H.E. Edgars RINKĒVIČS, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Latvia
  • H.E. Carmelo ABELA, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion, Malta
  • H.E. V. MURALEEDHARAN, Minister of State for External Affairs, India
  • H.E. Carsten GRØNBECH-JENSEN, State Secretary for European Affairs and the Arctic, Kingdom of Denmark

Panel session: Sustainable Arctic

Moderator: Erika BJERSTRÖM, Swedish Television SVT PANEL


  • Hans-Otto PÖRTNER, Vice-Chair, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  • Joyce MSUYA, Deputy Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
  • Peter WINSOR, Director, Arctic Programme, World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
  • Heidar GUDJONSSON, Chair, Arctic Economic Council (AEC)
  • Niklas NORDSTRÖM, Mayor of Luleå, Sweden

Panel session: Sustainable Investments in the Arctic

Moderator: Stephen HART, European Investment Bank


  • Martin KOCH, Policy Officer, European Commission (Directorate-General for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union): “EU Financing Sustainable Growth”
  • Sebastian Boel BYTH, Head of Section, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Denmark: “Business Finance in the Arctic”
  • Johannes LITH, Project Manager, Regional Council of Lapland: “Arctic Investment Platform”
  • Søren MORTENSEN, Senior Director, Nordic Investment Bank (NIB): “Arctic Financing Facility”

Panel session: White, Green and Blue Arctic

Moderator: Martin BREUM, Journalist 


  • Astrid SCHOMAKER, Director, European Commission (Directorate-General for Environment): “EU Circular Economy and Plastics Strategy”
  • Sir Robert WATSON, former Chair, Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services (IPBES): “Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services”
  • Anders TURESSON, Chair, Arctic Council Working Group AMAP: “Monitoring a changing Arctic”
  • John BELL, Director, European Commission (Directorate-General for Research and Development): “Research and Innovation for a Healthy Arctic”
  • Nicole BIEBOW, Head of International Cooperation, Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research: “EU PolarNet”

Panel session: Connecting the Arctic

Moderator: Martin BREUM, Journalist


  • Matthias PETSCHKE, Director, European Commission (Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs): “EU Space and Satellite Programme”
  • Jukka-Pekka JOENSUU, Executive Advisor, Cinia Ltd: “Arctic Sea Cable”
  • Kirsti MIJNHIJMER, Head of Secretariat, Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme
  • Chris MCDONALD, Policy Analyst, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
  • Peter SKÖLD, Chair, Board of Governors, The University of the Arctic

Arctic Indigenous Peoples’ dialogue

Introductory speekers

  • Andreas PAPACONSTANTINOU, Head of Unit, European Commission (Directorate-General Fisheries
and Maritime Affairs)
  • Jennie NILSSON, Minister for Rural Affairs, Sweden
  • Marie-Anne CONINSX, EU Ambassador at large for the Arctic
  • Per-Olof NUTTI, President of the Sami Parliament, Sweden


  • Chris MCDONALD, Policy Analyst, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD): “Linking Indigenous Communities with regional development”
  • David MAIR, Head of Unit, European Commission (Joint Research Centre, JRC): “Arctic: Traditional Knowledge, Livelihoods and Community Engagements”

Panel session: Learning from the Arctic?

Moderator: Chris MCDONALD, OECD


  • Åsa LARSSON-BLIND, President of the Saami Council
  • Mininnguaq KLEIST, Head of the Greenland Representation to the EU, Government of Greenland
  • Tove Søvndahl GANT, Policy Officer, External Action Service, Member of UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights as of 01/2020
  • Lars-Anders BAER, Chair, Barents Euro-Arctic Council Working Group of Indigenous Peoples
  • Anders OSKAL, Secretary General, Association of World Reindeer Herders

Watch the live stream from EU Arctic Forum on EU’s webpage