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HomeDOCUMENTSCommittee Mission Reports2017DSCTC visit to Kirkenes, Norway - 10-12 May 2017

DSCTC visit to Kirkenes, Norway - 10-12 May 2017

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183 DSCTC 17 E - Mission Report

Immediately following the closure of the Joint Special Seminar in Svalbard on 10 May, a delegation from the Sub-Committee on Transatlantic Defence and Security Cooperation (DSCTC) traveled to Kirkenes, Norway. Kirkenes sits just 16 km from the nearest border crossing with Russia. Often touted as one of the few remaining areas wherein a consistent level of cooperation and interaction between Russia and a NATO member states still exists, the DSCTC delegation traveled to the Norway-Russia border to garner insight into the existing levels of political, economic, and social exchange between Norway and Russia.

Border control featured prominently on the daylong agenda for the group as they made their way from Kirkenes to two border stations controlled by the Norwegian military. Beyond the day-to-day duties of border management, the region is engaged in significant economic, social, and political cooperation: The area immediately surrounding the border has even been turned into a kind-of Schengen-free zone for local residents. The challenge the delegation learned, however, is how to maintain a good level of cooperation as the tenor of political life in Russia, which has already drastically effected Moscow’s broader international relations, begins to creep into the Russia-Norway relations in the High North.

Sverre Myrli, Vice-President of the NATO PA and former DSCTC Chairman, led the delegation throughout the programme. A total of 11 parliamentarians from 9 different NATO member and partner states composed the delegation. Their programme consisted of meetings with municipal leaders in Kirkenes as well as visits to the Jarford and Svanvik Military Border Stations and a visit to the Svanhovd Bioforsk (The Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research).