Össur Skarphéðinsson, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, emphasised that Arctic affairs should have more prominence within the Northern Dimension at the initiative's meeting in Brussels. He stated that the Arctic region was attracting international attention and this fact needed to be reflected in the work of the Northern Dimension.
The Northern Dimension is a forum for cooperation between Iceland, Russia, Norway and the European Union that meets bi-annually at ministerial level. Numerous foreign ministers of the EU took part in the meeting.
Minister Skarphéðinsson stated that matters of the environment and pollution-prevention, public health, culture and shipping were related to the work of the Northern Dimension and are applicable to the Arctic region. It was possible to focus more on these subjects without effecting the work of the Arctic Council. He emphasized that the work of the Northern Dimension in Arctic affairs, the so-called Arctic Window, should be one of the main issues of the initiative along with projects in the Baltics and north-west Russia.
Skarphéðinsson stated that for three participating countries in the Northern Dimension; Iceland, Norway and Russia, their future incomes would originate to some extent from the Arctic region, with increased activity in the area as well as oil extraction and shipping. The foreign minister said that he spoke as a representative of the west within the Northern Dimension and referred to the increasing interest in cooperation with Iceland and Greenland in Arctic affairs.