EU parliamentarians back new EU Policy for the Arctic

Jan 31, 2017


Today parliamentarians in the European Parliament adopted a new integrated EU policy for the Arctic.

The Foreign Affairs committee together with the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety committee welcomed the Commission’s proposal to strengthen the Arctic policy in the areas of climate change, sustainable development and international cooperation on Arctic issues.

Given the EU’s important role in the Arctic, it suggests that the EU should have a permanent observer status in the Arctic Council. The EU shares historical, economic, trade and geographical links with the region and three Arctic states are members of the EU: Denmark, Sweden and Finland. Furthermore, the EU has long been active in the international cooperation, especially in the Northern Dimension policy shared with Russia, Norway, Iceland, Finland and Sweden in the Barents Euro-Arctic Council.

Following a stronger role in international cooperation, the new policy furthermore stresses the need for the EU to work to maintain a peaceful territory and avoid militarisation of the Arctic.

Lastly, the EU should enhance the preservation of the ecosystem capacity of the Arctic. Ongoing projects and funding are already in place in terms of research concerning the impact of climate change on the region’s ecosystem as well as studies on the evolution of the Arctic sea ice cover, glaciers and ice sheets.

Danish ECR Chair of the SINEEA (delegation to Switzerland, Iceland and Norway and European Economic Area) and member of the Standing Committee of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region (SCPAR), Jørn Dohrmann MEP, is very pleased that the new policy has been approved.

“I am pleased that we have created a solid and balanced base for Arctic engagement.

“We have adopted some important environmental concerns, while also providing the necessary space and understanding that it should be for indigenous people in the Arctic region itself to determine how they want their region to develop.

“We have also adopted a balanced position in relation to the security dimensions. Overall, it forms a sensible framework for the EU’s Arctic policy.”