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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 21, 1999


U.S. -- EU Joint Statement on Northern Europe

December 17, 1999

The United States and the European Union recognize Northern Europe as a dynamically developing region. We reaffirm our shared commitment to promote security, stability, and economic prosperity in the region, particularly by strengthening cross-border cooperation.

During the Finnish Presidency, the United States and the European Union held intensive consultations on deepening our cooperation in Northern Europe. We affirm the importance of engaging the countries of the region (the Russian Federation, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Norway, and Iceland) and soliciting their ideas, participation, and collaboration in this effort.

We emphasize the need to draw maximum benefit from existing multilateral and regional fora such as the Arctic Council, the Barents Euro-Arctic Council, the Council of Baltic Sea States, and the Nordic Council. We recognize the importance of the Arctic Window of the EU's Northern Dimension in enhancing dialogue among the EU, the U.S., and the arctic nations. We intend to invite each other, as appropriate, to events with potential for enhancing cooperation in Northern Europe.

We affirm that priority areas for U.S.-EU cooperation include energy, environmental cooperation, nuclear safety, coordination with international financial institutions, development of civil society and democratic infrastructure, legal reform and cooperation on law enforcement, and health and infectious diseases.

We emphasize, in particular, the need to continue multilateral and bilateral cooperation to enhance the operational safety of nuclear power plants and to support the closure of unsafe reactors. We will intensify coordinated efforts in the field of radioactive waste and spent fuel management in Northern Europe. We also expect that the envisaged "Multilateral Nuclear and Environmental Program in the Russian Federation" (MNEPR) framework agreement could facilitate this cooperation and establish a legal framework for efficient project implementation.

The United States and the European Union will continue our dialogue on Northern Europe under the aegis of the New Transatlantic Agenda (NTA), in order to enhance the effectiveness of our efforts, by identifying joint or parallel activities within our respective frameworks, the Northern Dimension for the Policies of the EU and the Northern Europe Initiative of the U.S.

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