Based on a EU Parliament decision every EU institution is to develop its own Arctic direction. Starting with the 2008 Commission Communication "The European Union and the Arctic Region" the EU has published several documents relating to the Arctic. The next document is scheduled to be released in the summer of 2011, taking into account the report of the European Parliament. While not part of the EU political discourse, since the release of the 2008 Commission Communication, the Arctic has become a primary focus of EU policy.
In the new report, the EU's interests for the Arctic are constituted. In this respect, the report stresses the need for stability in the region, enabling sustainable development and sustainable management of the Arctic's natural resources. To this end, the report takes the interests and cultures of the Arctic's indigenous peoples into account. Furthermore, the protection of the Arctic environment and the changes occuring because of climate change are emphasised. Also, the sustainable exploitation of the hydrocarbon reserves as well as other natural resources in the Arctic have been identified as primary interest fields of the EU in the Arctic.
Contrary to the draft report, which primarily focused on the marine Arctic, the newly adopted report takes a more diverse approach. For example, it emphasises the role of the Barents Region in EU Arctic policy and stresses the involvement of the EU in the Barents cooperation, which was started in 1993 with the Kirkenes Declaration. In general, the report recognizes the geopolitical changes in the Arctic with the involvement of other actors such as China, Italy or South Korea.
The establishment of a EU Arctic Information Centre has become an important initiative for a new EU Arctic policy. The report recognizes the proposal by the University of Lapland to locate the Information Centre in Rovaniemi, supported by the Finnish government and members of the European Parliament.
The whole report can be accessed here.
European Parliament adopts Report on the Arctic
Mon, Jan 24, 2011
On Thursday January 20, the European Parliament has adopted its report "A Sustainable EU Policy for the High North". The report constitutes the first step to a EU Arctic Policy.