EU Arctic Policy

Ilulissat Icefjord, Greenland © European CommissionIlulissat Icefjord, Greenland © European Commission

The Arctic is an area of growing strategic importance. The European Union has an important role to play in supporting the successful Arctic co-operation and in helping to meet the challenges that now confront the region. The European Union is the world’s strongest proponent of greater international efforts to fight climate change. It has three (and with Iceland potentially four) Arctic Council states amongst its members. The European Union is also a major destination of resources and goods from the Arctic region. Many of its policies and regulations therefore have implications for Arctic stakeholders. The European Union wants to engage more with Arctic partners to increase its awareness of their concerns and to address common challenges in a collaborative manner.

The EU Arctic policy is built around three main policy objectives:

  • protecting and preserving the Arctic in unison with its population;
  • promoting the sustainable use of resources;
  • international cooperation.


As climate change and economic development accelerate in the Arctic region, the European Union intends to step up its engagement with its Arctic partners to jointly meet the challenge of safeguarding the environment while ensuring the sustainable development of the Arctic region.

The Commission and High Representative are proposing to focus further development of the EU’s policy towards the Arctic on three key areas:

  • Supporting research and channel knowledge to address the challenges of environmental and climate changes in the Arctic;
  • Acting with responsibility to contribute to ensuring economic development in the Arctic is based on sustainable use of resources and environmental expertise;
  • Intensifying its constructive engagement and dialogue with Arctic States, indigenous peoples and other partners.


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