The European Parliament newly adopted a Report on Sustainable EU Policy for the High North - The Gahler report. The report is the Parliaments response to the accelerating activities in the Arctic and demonstrates the European Unions increased interest in the region.
The Report emphasizes the European Unions role in the Arctic through its Arctic member states; Denmark, Sweden and Finland, but also recognizes the ongoing work in several other partnerships through the EU Northern Dimension, a common policy of the EU with Russia, Norway and Iceland, all of which are Arctic Council member states. It is especially interesting that the Report notices the Iceland's status as a candidate country for accession to the EU and underlines the need for a coordinated Arctic policy at EU level for that reason. The report represents Iceland as a strategic opportunity for the EU to assume a more active role and contribute to multilateral governance in the Arctic region; considering that Iceland' s accession to the EU would further consolidate the EU's presence in the Arctic Council.
The Report further recognizes the importance of new world transport routes through the Arctic Ocean, underlining the development of safety and security framework for the Arctic shipping and freedom of the seas and the right to free passage through international waterways for the EU and its Member States. Natural resources, Climate change and pollution, Sustainable socioeconomic development and institutional developments are also among the subjects of the Report, it acknowledging the importance of the establishment of an EU Arctic Information Centre as a forum of organizing permanent EU outreach to the major actors relevant to the Arctic and of channeling Arctic information and services towards the EU's Institutions and stakeholders.
To read the original Report, please go to the relevant section at the homepage of the European Parliament.
For further information on Arctic matters in the European Union, please see the The EU-ARCTIC-Forum January 2011 Newsletter. The EU-ARCTIC-Forum is the European Parliament's platform on issues concerning the Arctic providing exchange and input of information for the often fragmented discourse on the Arctic matters within the European context.