Last December, the European Commission was asked by the European Council to examine the merits of establishing an information centre on Arctic issues in the EU.

When the European Parliament had its Arctic debate in March this year, several of the MEPs supported the idea to establish such centre in Rovaniemi, the European Union’s northernmost University City.

Located on the Arctic Circle, Rovaniemi in northern Finland is famous for its multidisciplinary Arctic research. For instance, the University of the Arctic with its multi-national consortium of 121 post-secondary institutions was officially launched in Rovaniemi in 2001. Rovaniemi was also the first place to host a Ministerial conference with representatives of all Arctic nations in 1991. That meeting initiated the so-called Rovaniemi Process that led to the establishment of the Arctic Council in 1996.

When six of the most prominent Foreign Ministers from EU member states met in Saariselkä in northern Finland in March the location of EU’s coming Arctic Information Centre was also on the agenda. The European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton also gave public support to Rovaniemi during the Saariselkä talks.

In Rovaniemi, the Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland has stated that it can serve as the EU Arctic Information Centre and that it can coordinate the European network to be created. From before the Arctic Centre has been a key player also in several information projects within the Barents Cooperation with Norway, Sweden and Russia.

News source: Barents Observer (