Civil service representatives of the European Commission, the European External Action Service and the European Parliament met on Friday 22 January 2016 with Arctic indigenous peoples organisations in Brussels to discuss issues of common concern and seek areas for practical cooperation. Items on the agenda included climate change, following the successful international climate talks in Paris in December 2015, as well as funding sustainable development in the Arctic.
The EU's policy on the Arctic places a strong emphasis on the role and involvement of the indigenous peoples of the Arctic. More specifically, it states that the EU will look at appropriate ways of ensuring that the representatives of Arctic indigenous peoples are informed and consulted on the EU policies that affect them, and are given appropriate platforms to present their particular concerns to EU institutions.
Meeting participants included representatives from the Inuit Circumpolar Council, the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry, the Saami Council, the Aleut International Association and the Arctic Indigenous Peoples’ Secretariat, as well as representatives of Arctic states and the Nordic Council of Ministers. An updated integrated Arctic policy for the European Union is currently being prepared for release in spring 2016. The work is coordinated by High Representative Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Karmenu Vella, responsible for Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs.
A report of the meeting will be published on the Maritime Forum.