February, 2006

On Thursday, the 23 of February, 2006 at 18:00 a panel discussion about European Identity in the Light of Recent Events in Denmark and the EU takes place at the premises of the Danish Cultural Institute, Riga, Marijas iela 13/3 (Berga Bazars).

Three scholars - Daniel Tarschys, former Secretary General of the  Council of Europe in Strasbourg , currently – Professor of the Stockholm University (Sweden), Lykke Friis, former chief for Danish Industry in European Politics, expert in international politics and economics, recently elected Pro-rector, University of Copenhagen (Denmark) and Zaneta Ozolina, Professor of the Political Science Department, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Latvia (Latvia) will look into recent events in Europe and try to find the answer to the question: Is there a common European identity, and can it encompass all the residents of the union?

The recent referendums in the Netherlands and France and the trouble caused by the Danish cartoons have raised questions such as: Does European Solidarity exist, or is the union existing only as long as there are common interests? Is there such a thing as ”European Core Values”? The EU motto is “United in diversity” – does it work in the real world? How do we deal with the many people, religions, and cultures within the union?

Panel discussion is to be held in English and Latvian with synchronous interpretation. All interested persons are asked to sign up by phone 7289994 and attend the discussion in time, since the number of seats is limited.

The panel discussion is jointly organised by the Danish Cultural Institute, Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Latvia and Latvian European Movement.


From April 20-25, 2006 leading Nordic and European performing artists and academics will meet at a Nordic symposium "Re.Searching" (Malmö, Sweden) to discuss and present methods, possibilities and new approaches within artistic practice and research. More than 50 artists, academics and scholars from the Nordic and Baltic countries are invited to participate in 4 parallel workshops and a seminar during 6 intensive days in Malmö.

"Re.Searching" presents leading Nordic artists/researchers and international keynote speakers as workshop leader and keynote speakers: Barbro Smeds (SE), Kjell Yngve Petersen (DK/UK), Pil Hansen (DK/CAN), Cecilia Lagerström (SE), Ritseart ten Cate (NL), Dr. Heidi Gildpin (USA) and Baz Kershaw (UK).

"Re.Searching" encourages performing arts professionals to attack, develop and share new knowledge about artistic methods, expressions and traditions.

"Re.Searching" is about producing and articulating new knowledge about the practice of theatre, dance and performance: knowledge and experience to be used for individual and collaborative work, production and creativity.
Artists from the field of performing arts in the Nordic and Baltic countries are invited to apply for the workshops.
Artists, academics and scholars are invited to apply for the seminar.
Final application date: February 24, 2006
More information: www.nordscen.org/researching 


An agreement to open a new Nordic Council of Ministers' Office in Kaliningrad was signed in Moscow on 22 December by the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Russian Federation. The Nordic Council of Ministers has had offices in the Baltic capitals since 1991 and in St. Petersburg since 1995. Co-operation with North-West Russia will now be taken a step further by greater involvement in Kaliningrad. 

In collaboration with local bodies, the office will co-ordinate and implement the Council of Ministers' Russia Programme in Kaliningrad - in particular in relation to the Nordic Council of Ministers' new guidelines and programme for co-operation with North-West Russia. The Nordic Council of Ministers' exchange and networking programme for civil servants, researchers, artists, politicians and business will be open to citizens of Kaliningrad.

Co-operation projects will be launched involving local parties in Kaliningrad and partners in the Nordic Region. The Council of Ministers also envisages closer political co-operation with the local administration in Kaliningrad. The Nordic Council of Ministers has made co-operation with North-West Russia and the Baltic countries one of its top priorities, a move reflected in the fact that it earmarks approximately 20% of the total annual budget for work in the area.

The latest initiatives involve co-operation with Belarus as well, e.g. the cross-border regional project Baltic Euro-Regional Network, which also includes border areas in Belarus, and a new project to fund the Belarusian University, European Humanities University (EHU), which was closed by the authorities in Minsk in July 2004 and has now moved to Vilnius in Lithuania.


The Nordic Council of Ministers and the EU Commission have signed an agreement at the very end of year 2005 to run a project to provide backing for the Belarusian university, European Humanities University (EHU). The last independent university in Belarus, EHU was closed by the authorities in Minsk in July 2004 and is now based in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania.

Per Unckel, the Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers, emphasized that backing for the university represents support for democracy and human rights in Belarus. Support for EHU is also part of a broader Nordic commitment to Belarus. Another example is the cross-border regional project Baltic Euro-Regional Network, which also covers border areas in Belarus. Both projects are close partnerships between the EU and the Nordic Council of Ministers.

The new funding for EHU will allow 350 students from Belarus to study a number of subjects and gain recognized European qualifications. The funding from the EU Commission is being channelled through its program European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights. The new three-year project has a budget of approximately DKK 20 million. As well as the EU and the Nordic Council of Ministers, Finland and Sweden are also providing bilateral aid to the project.