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The Barents Euro-Arctic Region: On the Restructuring of Northernmost Europe

Pertti Joenniemi


The Barents Euro-Arctic Region (BEAR) represents an endeavor to radically alter the frame of interpretation applied in northernmost Europe. While the images employed during the Cold War years were statist and security oriented, depending on clear-cut divisions, the new ones refer to local needs, connectedness, and civilian interaction. The effort has been one of portraying the area as part of an integrated and region-centered Europe. Space has been provided for increasing heterogeneity. In addition, this effort has - with some initial success - added to the centrality of the region by opening up for transborder cooperation. Different actors increasingly meet to discuss a broad set of issues. The arrangement is light, innovative, often spontaneous, and in line with the way political space is increasingly unfolding in the post-Cold War Europe. It has added - by the utilization and pooling of various local-specific strengths - to the weight of the region in European constellations. In addition, it has contributed to dramatic changes in the political and economic landscape prevailing in the North and is "beginning to show teeth," as some scholars describe its early years.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229