Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission visited Rovaniemi and the Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland on Tuesday 6th March. She travelled together with Erkki Tuomioja, Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs.
|Ashton and Tuomioja attended to an invitation seminar at the Arctic Centre discussing the plan to establish the EU Arctic Information Centre as a network of institutions with a hub in Rovaniemi. Their comments to the plan were very positive.
“And I wanted to say at the beginning that this is a very important place because it's also the birth place of both the Northern dimension and the Arctic Council. And I will be completely upfront in saying I can think of nowhere better for the Arctic Information Centre to be but here”, Ashton said in the seminar.
“I am in favor of it being in Rovaniemi but I don’t have the decision in my fingertips”, answered Ashton when media asked if the EU Arctic Information Centre is going further.
“It is my third visit here to this city (Rovaniemi). I know how much it is a center of and combination of things – tourism, culture and the university which has an extraordinary high reputation. I think it would be extremely good if we were able to support that. So I would be going back to push for that”, she continued.
“EU is preparing to establish an Arctic Information Centre in Rovaniemi. To reach that a decision prepared according to the Commission rules is still required. In Rovaniemi there was a confident mood that the decision will be ready soon and the comments given by Ashton did not weaken this confidence, to say the least”, wrote minister Tuomioja in his blog after the visit.
Ashton talked also with the leaders of Sami parliaments of Finland, Norway and Sweden. She continued her Arctic trip to Kiruna (Sweden), Tromsö (Norway) and Svalbard.
Director of the Arctic Centre Paula Kankaanpää, Lady Catherine Ashton, Minister for Foreign Affairs
Erkki Tuomioja and Ambassador Hannu Halinen. Photo: Marjo Laukkanen
More information on EU Arctic Information Centre
EU Commission audiovisual services video material
Remarks by High Representative Catherine Ashton at the Arctic Information Centre
Professor Paula Kankaanpää, Director of the Arctic Centre, paula.kankaanpaa(at)ulapland.fi, tel. +358 40 777 78 25