On Wednesday 27 April, the European Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) released its latest joint communication outlining an integrated EU policy for the Arctic.
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Kermenu Vella formally announced the release of the new communication at a press event.
Following up on Arctic communications in 2008 and 2012, and in response to requests in 2014 from the European Council and the European Parliament to develop a more coherent framework for EU action and funding programmes in the Arctic, the latest joint communication from the European Commission and the European External Action Service lays out an integrated EU response to the challenges the Arctic is currently facing.
The new integrated EU policy for the Arctic contains a 39-point action plan, and rests on three main pillars:
1) The environment and climate change dimension
2) The economic development and social dimension
3) The foreign policy and security dimension
In the days following its release, a number of experts commented on the joint communication, including Karin Lochte, the Director of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar Research in an inverview in Horizon Magazine.
Andreas Raspotnik from the Arctic Institute and Adam Stępień from the Arctic Centre at the University of Lapland offered a three-part commentary on the communication in High North News (Part 1: Is the EU eventually “integrating” the Arctic? Part 2: Making a difference: the European Arctic and better coordination Part 3: What about Arctic Cooperation? A small EU fish in a big Arctic pond)