Joint statement of the European Parliament and of the Council of Europe: joint Arctic strategy of the EU
Material posted: Medvedev DmitryPublication date: 25-05-2016

As noted in the document, "peace and stability in the Arctic is important not only for the inhabitants of this region, but also for the EU and around the world." The European Union intends to carry out a key role in the strategic development of the Arctic.

Three member States of the EU (Denmark, Finland and Sweden) have the status of the Arctic Nations, with another two Nordic countries – Iceland and Norway are parties to the European economic area.

The importance of development cooperation in the Arctic region due to environmental threats, including climate change, as well as the fact that the EU is a major consumer of energy and fish products, which the Arctic countries are mined in the far North. Here, the authors write that "together with new opportunities of development for the region and local communities, and increase the risk of occurrence of contradictions, for example, associated with the struggle for resource extraction and intensification of economic activities".

In addition, as suggested in the EU, inadequate or the absence of an international legal base of regulation of economic and other activities in the Arctic ocean increases the risks and threats in the Arctic. In this regard, the EU considers the development and expansion of global governance of the oceans (including the Arctic ocean) strategically important area for international cooperation.

The paper formulated three key areas of EU policy in the Arctic.

Climate change and environmental security issues

As noted, the EU has made the greatest contribution to the study of the Arctic (in Arctic projects has already spent 200 million euros, in particular in the framework of the Horizon 2020 programme) and intends to maintain funding of research programmes (in 2016-2017 it is planned to spend about 40 million euros). However, despite the considerable efforts of researchers, the Arctic is still poorly known region.

A key project in this direction, the EU will become "EU-PolarNet initiative", which will be a platform for the coordination of 22 institutions of the countries of the European Union, thus uniting European experts and scientists investigating the Arctic. In addition, the project involves scientists from Russia, Canada and the United States.

In the coming years, "the European Commission will support the creation of integrated monitoring system for Svalbard for monitoring of geological changes, which accumulates the efforts of all scientists of Europe."

The EU also intends to support programs related to the monitoring and analysis of changes in aquatic ecosystems in the Arctic.

To support research and also to Fund programmes aimed at reducing emissions of greenhouse gases in the Arctic and in General the maintenance of ecosystems in the region, the EU intends to use the funds of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF).

Sustainable socio-economic development in the Arctic and adjacent territories

The document stresses that the Arctic region is characterized by weak infrastructure and an undeveloped transport system. The European part of the Arctic, being the most developed part, however, has a well-developed multimodal transport system "North-South", which is very important to access the resources of the Arctic ocean. The Northern territories of Norway, Sweden and Finland should be supported and integrated into TRANS-European transport system (TEN-T).

"Working closely with Iceland, Norway and Greenland, the EU has the opportunity to play a key role in the economy of the Arctic, stating the rules and regulations of the European economic area and use of financial instruments." As stated in the document, cooperation with these countries in the framework of the Council of the Barents \ Euro-Arctic region and "Northern dimension" is deemed successful.

Also an important cross-border cooperation programmes are Interreg North", "Botnia-Atlantica", "the Baltic Sea Region", "Kolarctic", etc.

One of the aims of Horizon 2020 was to assess the factors and conditions of stability of the Arctic region. As a result, the EU expects to have a scientific basis for the development of Arctic standards for economic activities in the region. The InnovFin project undertaken under Horizon 2020, can be used for financial and Advisory support in the Arctic, innovative and sustainable enterprises small and medium business.

With the aim of attracting investment in the Arctic part of Europe, the European Commission intends to organise an annual European Arctic stakeholder forum", which will be worked out directions and priorities of the investment policy of the EU and major European companies. To participate in the event will be invited Norway, Iceland and Greenland.

The EU intends to encourage the application of the Polar code, especially given the development of the Northern sea route.

Comprehensive international cooperation in the development of the far North

The European Union is focused on active cooperation with Arctic and non-Arctic powers on a bilateral basis and within the framework of major international organizations. The EU participates in Arctic projects of the UN regarding environmental issues and also interacts with the Arctic Council. The most important area of EU policy is the participation in creating the international rules of navigation and Maritime law, in particular in the work of the Task force of the Arctic Council on Marine cooperation in the Arctic.

The EU will continue to actively develop regional and Superonline cooperation in the framework of the Council of the Barents \ Euro-Arctic region, the project "Northern dimension and the Nordic Council.

Dmitry Medvedev

Tags: Europe , Arctic