(BarentsObserver, 19 May 2009) -- Swedish Television estimates that Norrbotten, the northernmost county in Sweden, pays the European Union more than the double of what it receives back in funding and allocations. Since 1995 and throughout the program period to 2013, Norrbotten will have received approximately 4.9 billion SEK from EU. At the same time, the inhabitants in the region will pay 12.8 billion in membership fees, the Norrbotten regional branch of the Swedish Television reports. Since Sweden has paid 464 billion SEK to EU in membership fees in the period from 1995, every Swedish citizen has paid over 51,000 SEK to EU. With 250,000 inhabitants in Norrbotten, this means that the region has paid 12.8 billion SEK in membership fees to EU, which is more than the double of what the region has received in different allocations and project funding. Norrbotten County Governor Per-Ola Eriksson says EU membership is worth the money: "It gives us access to a larger area and makes us part of a larger community. When Norrbotten pays taxes to the Swedish state, we do not get back every krone. Likewise, we are not repaid money we allocate to FN and other international organizations." The question about membership fees and to what degree money is being returned to member countries’ regions can become an important issue for voters in the upcoming elections to the European Parliament June 4-7th.
Posted 19 May 2009; 12:24:25 PM. Permalink
(Itar-Tass, 19 May 2009) -- BARVIKHA - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev calls on Norway for a coordinated stand on Arctic development. At the meeting in his out-of-town residence with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Soltenberg, he noted that Russia and Norway “are northern, Arctic countries, and the development of the region as a whole depends on their taking a close, coordinated stand on matters of Arctic development. ... I believe this is one of the most important trends of cooperation,” the Russian president said. He noted that on the whole relations between Russia and Norway had been developing “quite well” of late. “There has been a substantive growth of trade turnover recently,” Medvedev added. “This year does not promise to be very easy, but our colleagues are working, and a regular session of the intergovernmental commission was held recently. I do hope that this will allow us to reach new economic milestones, despite the current economic difficulties,” the Russian president said. He noted that economic matters would be discussed during the talks. “I hope that your visit will be useful and productive; I mean a number of important documents will be signed during the visit, new results will be achieved that will strengthen friendly interaction between our countries,” Medvedev said. According to the information of the Russian side, trade turnover between Russia and Norway decreased by 36.4 percent in January-February 2009 as compared with the same period in 2008, making up 237 million dollars. Russia’s export dropped by 54 percent, making up 96 million dollars, while import decreased by 13 percent, amounting to 141 million dollars. Some 120 enterprises with the participation of Norwegian capital are registered in Russia, its volume being nearly 1.5 billion dollars. Norwegian capital is developed mainly in Russia’s north-western regions, particularly in the Murmansk, Arkhangelsk, and Leningrad regions, with industry, wholesale trade, services, telecommunications and the mass media being the priority areas.
Posted 19 May 2009; 11:58:19 AM. Permalink