The European Commission and the European External Action Service have jointly launched a public consultation on the way forward for the European Union’s Arctic policy.
The consultation will enable a broad reflection of the EU’s Arctic policy in the face of new challenges and opportunities, including the EU’s ambitions under the European Green Deal. The consultation seeks input on the strengths and shortfalls of the existing policy, with a view to possibly preparing an updated approach.
High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell said, “The Arctic is a rapidly evolving frontier in international relations. Climate change is dramatically transforming the region and increasing its geopolitical importance, with a number of players seeing new strategic and economic opportunities in the High North. We must ensure that the Arctic remains a zone of low tension and peaceful cooperation, where issues are solved through constructive dialogue. The European Union must be fully equipped to manage the new dynamics effectively, in line with our interests and values.”
Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries stated, “What happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic. It concerns us all. The EU must be at the forefront with a clear and coherent Arctic policy to tackle the challenges in the years ahead. Drawing on a wide spectrum of expertise and opinions through this consultation will help us in preparing a strong strategy for the region.”
The consultation will help to re-examine the role of the EU in Arctic affairs; revise the three priorities of the current Joint Communication on An integrated European Union policy for the Arctic, and the actions thereunder; and identify possible new policy areas to be developed.
The World Ocean Council (WOC) is a working partner of the Horizon 2020 ARICE (Arctic Research Icebreaker Consortium), EU-PolarNet and Blue-Action projects working to facilitate regular and sustained interaction between the Arctic science community and industry, and ensuring the private sector is engaged and heard as a key stakeholder. We encourage industry representatives (in particular private sector members of the WOC) to seize the opportunity to offer feedback as part of the newly launched public consultation.