Understanding the science of climate change, helping to develop strategies to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and safeguarding the Arctic environment are part of the EU’s wider efforts in relation to the Arctic.
The EU is committed to contributing to sustainable development in a balanced and integrated manner.
The EU engages in multilateral, regional and sub-regional cooperation on Arctic matters. Many Arctic matters relate to the Arctic as well as to lower latitudes.
Find out more about the Arctic.
EDU-ARCTIC focusses on using Arctic research as a vehicle to strengthen science education curricula all across Europe. It aims to encourage students aged 13 to 20 to pursue further education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), setting them on a path to perhaps one day work in one of these sectors.
The project will focus on developing, comparing and evaluating the effectiveness and environmental effects of different oil spill response methods in a cold climate. In addition to this we will be developing a system for the real-time observation of underwater oil spills and a strategic tool for choosing oil spill response methods.
EU-PolarNet is the world’s largest consortium of expertise and infrastructure for polar research. From 2015-2020, EU-PolarNet will develop and deliver a strategic framework and mechanisms to prioritise science, optimise the use of polar infrastructure, and broker new partnerships that will lead to the co-design of polar research projects that deliver tangible benefits for society.
The International Network for Terrestrial Research and Monitoring in the Arctic (INTERACT) aims to build capacity for identifying, understanding, predicting and responding to diverse environmental changes throughout the wide environmental and land-use envelopes of the Arctic. This is necessary because the Arctic is so vast and so sparsely populated that environmental observing capacity is limited compared to most other latitudes.
ICE-ARC will look into the current and future changes in Arctic sea ice – both from changing atmospheric and oceanic conditions. The project will also investigate the consequences of these changes both on the economics of the area and globally, and social aspects such as on indigenous peoples.
The Arctic "is not a frontier any longer, but a gateway for Europe and a crossroads between continents. It is a common good, and we have a common responsibility to preserve it – for its people and for the world," Mogherini said in her keynote address at the forum she co-hosted together with Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini and EU Commissioner for environment Karmenu Vella.
Viewed from the Arctic, the importance of the Paris agreement to combat climate change is clearly evident. With temperatures in the region rising fast, "in these lands, everyone knows that climate change is real", noted the High Representative. In view also of the security challenges melting polar ice creates around the world, the EU "will continue to support the Paris agreement and to work for its implementation – here in Europe and all around the world, building coalitions in support of global climate action."
Viewed from the Artic it is also clear that "economic development must go together with the preservation of the environment" and Mogherini welcomed how "innovative solutions are being tested [in the region] for cleaner energy, cold-climate technologies, but also for a more sustainable tourism."
The High Representative also noted that "innovation can be a matter of technologies, but also of governance" and pointed to international cooperation in the format of the Arctic Council and dialogue with indigenous people, private actors and civil society through the Arctic Stakeholder Forum as success stories.
Regional cooperation is more important than ever for the future of the region and the planet as a whole, and "must be preserved and expanded," Mogherini said. At the same time, "the European Union's Arctic policy has put dialogue with the indigenous people at its core", and the Arctic Stakeholder Forum is a means to ensure "the people of the Arctic have a say and contribute to shaping the next EU funding programmes".
A European Environment Agency (EEA) report, launched today at a high level EU Arctic event in Finland, looks at how the rest of Europe affects the Arctic environment and how changes in the region impact Europe in return. The report also points to several policy areas where the European Union and its Member States can play a positive role in the Arctic.
On 15 June, Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini and EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella had an open debate with representatives from governments, industry, research, indigenous and local community representatives on the challenges and opportunities facing the Arctic and on how international and local cooperation can boost sustainable and innovative development.
On 16 June, the event also included a high-level session of the Arctic Stakeholder Forum and the annual Indigenous Peoples Arctic Dialogue.
Please find the draft agenda of the event here:
For more information, please contact: MARE-B1-EU-ARCTIC-EVENT@ec.europa.eu
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the Prime Minister of Estonia Taavi Rõivas and the Prime Minister of Finland Juha Sipilä have today witnessed the signing of a €187 million investment in the Balticconnector – the first gas pipeline connecting Finland and Estonia. This gas interconnector will end the energy isolation of Finland which is largely dependent on a single supplier. When the gas starts flowing by 2020, this project will unite the Eastern Baltic Sea region with the rest of the EU energy market.
President Juncker welcomed the investment: "Today's signature shows that the European Union delivers and unites. It is the result of close cooperation and a proof of true European solidarity. We are doing more than linking gas systems of two countries. We are bringing people and Member States in the region closer together by building a pipeline that unites European countries. As part of the Energy Union, we are building missing energy links, uniting markets, improving security of supply and ending the energy isolation of Member States."
Prime Minister of Estonia Taavi Rõivas said: "Balticconnector signifies a key development for Nordic-Baltic energy market integration, for region's security and diversity of supply and for consumer benefit. Regional co-operation and EU's contribution allows for a change from entirely closed to one of the most diversified and open regional energy markets in the Union with further prospects in upcoming years" and Prime Minister of Finland Juha Sipilä added: "Balticconnector is an important milestone in helping to complete EU wide energy market and improving the security of supply in Baltic Sea region".
As part of the EU's Energy Union strategy, the EU is committed to building missing energy infrastructure links and ensuring that every Member State has access to at least three different sources of gas. Integrating the Baltic Sea region with the rest of the EU is a priority for the Commission.
The Balticconnector pipeline will consist of three sections: 22 km Finnish onshore, 80 km offshore and 50 km Estonian onshore. It enables the transport of 7.2 million cubic metres of gas per day with flows running in both directions. Alongside the Gas Interconnector Poland–Lithuania (GIPL), it will contribute to increasing energy security and solidarity in the region.
Currently, Finland is largely dependent on gas flows from a single supplier. And until recently, the three Baltic States also had to rely on gas imports from a single gas source. When completed, the Balticconnector and the gas pipeline between Poland and Lithuania, will allow Finland and the Baltic States to diversify their gas sources and routes, safeguarding them against possible supply disruptions in the future.
Till 2020 a total of €5.35 billion will be invested in European priority projects under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). When completed, the projects will enhance security of supply and contribute to market integration. The grant was awarded under Connecting Europe and covers 75% of the construction costs, the maximum co-financing level permitted.
The European Union welcomes the agreement today in Kigali, Rwanda, on a global phase-down of climate-warming hydrofluorocarbon gases (HFCs). These manmade substances which are used mainly in refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, have a global warming effect up to 15,000 times greater than carbon dioxide and are the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions.
Today's agreement represents a significant step forward in implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change, which will legally enter into force next month.
EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: "This is a huge win for the climate. We have taken the first concrete step in delivering on the promises we made in Paris last December. The global phase-down we have agreed today could knock off up to half a degree of warming by the end of the century. I am proud of the role the European Union played in brokering this deal. We have shown through our own action on HFCs that this is a fast and cost-effective way to reduce emissions."
The 197 Parties to the Montreal Protocol have agreed to bring HFCs within the scope of the international treaty that has been so successful in phasing out ozone-depleting substances that were used in the same sectors. The Kigali amendment requires developed and developing countries to gradually limit their consumption and production of HFCs, with developed countries moving first.
The EU and its Member States have been long-time supporters of proposals for the global phase-down of HFCs. The European Union has shown global leadership through its own action. The EU's ground breaking legislation on fluorinated greenhouse gases adopted in 2014 demonstrated that an HFC phase-down was feasible. This set an EU-wide cap on consumption of HFCs in 2015, and a first reduction step this year.
The European Commission announced this week that it would provide EUR 3 million for early action on HFCs in Latin American and Caribbean countries. This is on top of EUR 8 million the Commission is already providing for similar projects in Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific. EU Member States currently provide approximately half of the total funding in the Multilateral Fund which helps developing countries comply with their obligations to protect the ozone layer under the Montreal Protocol.