The European Union, an Arctic Actor? Strategy, interest and challenges

Lead Author Alison, Thieffry
Institution Contact Laval University 810 rue des zouaves, app. 1 Québec, Qc, G1R 2P5 Canada
Theme Theme 2: Vulnerability of Arctic Societies
Session Name 2.5 Geopolitics and Security of the Arctic
Presentation Type Poster
Abstract text In recent decades, the Arctic has been the center of many scientific, media, politic studies and debates. With the ice melting, new economic and maritime perspectives emerge, mainly in the sector of navigation and exploitation of natural resources, bringing the arctic states and many other countries around the world to make it a priority in their external actions agenda. The interest of the international community has materialized mainly from the 1990s - including the creation of the Arctic Council in 1996, which includes Russia, Canada, the United States, Iceland, Norway but also some European countries such as Sweden, Finland and Denmark. However, the European Union has shown a more proactive position since 2008. In recent years, Brussels has mobilized a lot to learn about the area and the number of meetings and conferences on Arctic issues has increased considerably. Within the EU instances, this has resulted in a desire to focus the debate on regional governance toward the Arctic affairs and with pressure coming from the Parliament, manifested especially through various resolutions and a vote in favor of the creation of an Arctic Treaty. Pressure was also issued on the Council side, especially under the Finnish Presidency in 2006 and the Swedish one in 2009. Finally, the publication of the first Communication on a European Arctic policy from the Commission formalized this more determined position on Arctic issues.

Furthermore, this research aims to study the evolution and the development of an European Arctic policy and the reasons and interests that underlie it. It will also analyse the main obstacles encountered by the EU in this process and evaluate its relationship with the various Arctic states. Finally, an update of the current situation will be made to understand the various opportunities and challenges it may encounter in this new role as an Arctic player.