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The Second Northern Dimension Action Plan 2004-2006
The Second Northern Dimension Action Plan, 2004-2006
.

The present document follows the First Action Plan for the Northern Dimension1, adopted by the European Council in Feira in June 2000, and expiring at the end of 2003. The main text
sets out general principles and methodology, key objectives and priorities, and the mechanisms by which the implementation of Northern Dimension activities will be kept
under review. The detailed activities which Northern Dimension partners will pursue in addressing each of these priorities are set out in annex 1.

In preparing the Second Northern Dimension Action Plan, the Commission has based its work
on the conclusions of the Ministerial Conference on the Northern Dimension held in
Luxembourg on 21 October 2002, and particularly on the Guidelines for a new Action Plan2,
adopted by this Conference and endorsed by the EU General Affairs and External Relations
Council on 22 October 2002. This Second Action Plan represents the joint efforts of a wide
range of Northern Dimension partners, and the Commission has drawn on a consultation
process bringing together inputs from EU Member States and partner countries, from the
European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee, from regional
bodies and associated organisations.
Reflecting these joint efforts, the Second Action Plan emphasises complementarity,
subsidiarity and synergy among all Northern Dimension partners. The effectiveness of this
interaction will be crucial to the achievement of our common objectives, and to the success of
the Northern Dimension in the coming years.
1. THE NORTHERN DIMENSION VISION
Four years since its launching at the Helsinki European Council in December 1999, the
Northern Dimension is today a visible demonstration of effective regional cooperation,
contributing to the overall welfare of the European Union and neighbouring areas.
The Northern Dimension provides a common framework for the promotion of policy dialogue
and concrete cooperation. The Northern Dimension concept covers a broad and diverse
geographic area, stretching from the Arctic and sub-Arctic to the southern shores of the
Baltic, and from North-West Russia in the East to Iceland and Greenland in the west. Its
added value lies in the synergy and coherence that it creates across the activities implemented
by all partners.
The Northern Dimension is an EU-led initiative. Its success depends on the active
participation of all actors involved, whether at the national, regional or local level, among the
business community, or among civil society generally. The key purpose of the present Action
Plan is therefore to provide a clear operational framework for all Northern Dimension stakeholders,
setting out strategic objectives, priorities and concrete activities. These need to be
carried forward in a co-operative spirit based on inclusive participation, subsidiarity and
complementarity, with an effective division of labour and overall co-ordination and
monitoring.
1 Action Plan for the Northern Dimension with external and cross-border policies of the European Union
2000 – 2003, 9401/00, 14 June 2000; available at:
http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/north_dim/ndap/06_00_en.pdf.
2 Guidelines for a new Action Plan – Presidency Conclusions on the Future of the Northern Dimension
Policies of the European Union, Luxembourg, 21 October 2002; available at:
http://europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/north_dim/doc/guidelines02.pdf.
3
Strong foundations for this work have already been laid with the First Action Plan, where the
European Commission played a pivotal role in its implementation, and where EU Member
States, partner countries, regional bodies, civil society, the business world and research
institutions each carried forward important activities contributing to the overall goals of the
Action Plan.
Looking forward, the Northern Dimension will take on an enhanced importance in the context
of EU enlargement; the successful conclusion of the Accession Negotiations and the signature
of the Accession Treaty with 10 Acceding Countries, including those directly involved in the
Northern Dimension, takes the Northern Dimension into a new phase. This has been
highlighted in the Commission’s recent Communication on "Wider Europe --
Neighbourhood"3, and the Northern Dimension will have an important contribution to make
in carrying forward the Union"s new neighbourhood policy, building on shared interests and a
common agenda between the enlarged Union and its neighbours.
The European Commission will continue to provide support for Northern Dimension
activities through existing Community programmes, and will continue to work to enhance the
coherence and inter-operability of the different Community instruments available for this
purpose. The strength of the Northern Dimension will lie in the combined impact of the
activities of all partners, including EU Member States and partner countries, international
financial institutions, regional bodies and the private sector. The financing and co-ordination
approach used in the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership is a useful model for
other important Northern Dimension sectors, when a sufficient commitment of all
stakeholders is assured.
The flow of information on Northern Dimension activities and achievements among partners
will help to avoid duplication and overlap, identify gaps, and share best practices. The
Commission is ready to compile and circulate this information among all interested
stakeholders, but an effective information exchange will depend on the contributions of all
partners.
 



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