Northern Dimension

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What is the Northern Dimension (ND)?

The Northern Dimension is a joint policy between EU, Russia, Norway and Iceland. The ND Policy was initiated in 1999 and renewed in 2006. The policy aims at providing a framework to:

  • promote dialogue and concrete cooperation
  • strengthen stability, well-being and intensified economic cooperation
  • promote economic integration, competitiveness and sustainable development in Northern Europe.

In addition to the four ND Partners namely EU, Russia, Norway and Iceland, also participating are:

  • EU Members States in national capacity
  • Regional Councils, e.g. the Arctic Council (AC), the Barents Euro-arctic Council (BEAC), the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) and the Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM)
  • International Financial Institutions (IFIs), e.g. European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) and the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO) as well as other financial institutions
  • universities and research centers and business community
  • Canada and the United States as observers
  • Belarus participates in practical cooperation.

Geographic coverage

The policy covers a broad geographic area, from the European Arctic and Sub-Arctic to the southern shores of the Baltic Sea, countries in the vicinity and from north-west Russia in the east, to Iceland and Greenland in the west.

Renewed commitment

The renewed ND policy was launched at the Helsinki Summit in November 2006, which adopted a ND Political Declaration pdf - 18 KB [18 KB] and ND Policy Framework Document pdf - 68 KB [68 KB] . The renewed policy introduces a link between the ND and the EU-Russia common spaces.

Practical cooperation takes place within the Northern Dimension Partnerships

To facilitate ND project implementation, four Partnerships have been established to deal with the following thematic issues:

  • environment (NDEP)
  • public health and social well-being (NDPHS)
  • transport and logistics (NDPTL)
  • culture (NDPC).

An ND Institute (NDI) and ND Business Council (NDBC) have been established to involve academia and business community into ND cooperation.


ND cooperation is based on the principle of co-financing. Over the years, the EU has contributed close to €100m to support the ND aims, out of which the biggest share, €84m has been allocated to the ND Environmental Partnership's Support Fund (NDEP Support Fund). The total value of the NDEP Support Fund exceeds €330m, EU and Russia being the major donors.

In addition, EU has supported the other Partnerships' project activities. EU Member States and other partners, including Russia, have also provided considerable co-funding to the cooperation.

EU has also used other financial instruments and programmes to support project cooperation in the region, contributing to the aims of ND Policy, notably the Baltic Sea Programme and ENPI Cross-border cooperation programmes.