The High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the European Commission have adopted a policy proposal that will guide the actions of the European Union in the Arctic region.
The European Union will step up its existing action and engagement in the region with 39 actions focussing on climate change, environmental protection, sustainable development and international cooperation. The particular importance of research, science and innovation is reflected across these priority areas.
Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, said: “A safe, sustainable and prosperous Arctic not only serves the 4 million people living there, our European Union and the rest of the world. It is a region of immense environmental, social, and economic importance to us all. The steps taken today underline our commitment to the region, its States and its peoples, and to ensuring that the region remains an example of constructive international cooperation. Because the Arctic is also crucial in terms of regional and global security, and a strategic component of our foreign policy.”
Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, said: "We impact on the Arctic and the Arctic impacts on us. Global weather patterns, our oceans, ecosystems and local biodiversity – the Arctic influences them all. While increasing human development is inevitable, it is in our hands to do it in a sustainable way. We have to do this in full respect of the livelihoods of those who live in the region and by protecting its most valuable resource: the environment."
The Joint Communication takes into account existing EU legislation, including the commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as ongoing and forthcoming EU activities and projects. It also builds on and complements the Arctic policies of the EU Member States. The proposed actions will now be discussed with the EU Member States in the Council and the European Parliament.