Maritime Affairs

Council endorses the Commission's Arctic Policy

Council endorses the Commission's Arctic Policy

Council endorses the Commission's Arctic Policy


On Thursday 31 January, the Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union gave its full support to the joint Communication on developing an EU policy for the Arctic adopted in June 2012 by the European Commission and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

It contains a set of tangible actions that contribute to research and sustainable development in the region and promote environmentally friendly technologies that could be used for sustainable shipping and mining.

Climate change in the Arctic is advancing dramatically, with change visible on a yearly basis, impacting significantly on its ecosystem and the livelihood of its inhabitants. The combination of rapidly retreating sea ice and technological progress is opening up new economic opportunities in the region such as shipping, mining, energy extraction and fishing. While beneficial for the global economy, these activities also call for a prudent and sustainable approach: further repercussions for the fragile Arctic can be expected if top environmental standards are not met.

During the Council, Maria Damanaki, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, underlined the importance of taking into account the views of the Arctic’s inhabitants on these matters. For this reason she soon intends to organise a meeting in Brussels with the representatives of the Arctic’s indigenous peoples. The Council also supported the Commission's application on behalf of the EU for permanent observer status on the Arctic Council.

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