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 successful Arctic cooperation and helping to meet the challenges now facing the region. The EU is the world’s strongest proponent of greater international efforts to fight climate change. Moreover, it has 3 Arctic Council states amongst its members. The EU 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 EU wants to engage more with Arctic partners to increase its awareness of their concerns and to address shared challenges in a collaborative manner.

EU Arctic policy has 3 main policy objectives:

  • protecting and preserving the Arctic in cooperation with the people who live there
  • promoting 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 that development takes  place sustainably.

The European Commission and the High Representative propose that further development of  EU Arctic policy focus on 3 key areas:

  • supporting research and channelling knowledge to address environmental and climate change in the Arctic
  • acting responsibly to help ensure that economic development in the Arctic is based on sustainable use of resources and environmental expertise
  • stepping up constructive engagement and dialogue with Arctic states, indigenous peoples and other partners.

For further information, see: