The XVI Ministerial Meeting of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC), under the chairmanship of Russia, took place on 18-19 October 2017 in Arkhangelsk, Russia. The Foreign Ministers and Senior Representatives of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the European Union partici pated together with representatives of the Barents Regional Council, the Council of the Baltic Sea States, as well as Observer States, other regional bodies, and representatives of indigenous peoples.
At the Session, Sweden officially took over the BEAC Chairmanship for the next two years. The Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, passed on the chairmanship to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, Margot Wallström, by handing over a gavel – the symbol of the BEAC Chairmanship.
Furthermore, the Ministers and Senior Representatives adopted a Joint Declaration which, amongst others, welcomes concrete steps taken to enhance coherence and synergy of regional and cross-border cooperation between different forums, such as the Arctic Council, the Council of the Baltic Sea States, the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Northern Dimension, as well as the relevant financial programmes and calls for continued efforts to this end.
At the press conference, the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs also expressed the need to increase the level of trust in the Baltic Sea Region and supported the Swedish priorities during the BEAC Chairmanship – sustainable development, human rights and gender equality. Embedded in Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement, these priorities intertwine with the Swedish priorities for the CBSS and will hence facilitate synergies and exchange between the Sister Councils.