Wednesday, June 12, 2024
 
 

EU hesitation puts Arctic plans on ice

Nature vs. development, climate change on Lapland agenda

- Advertisement -

BRUSSELS – The European Union needs to play an active role in the Arctic instead of simply observing the developments in the region, European Committee of Regions President Markku Markkula from Finland told New Europe.

EU-member Finland will assume the two-year rotating chairmanship position of the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental forum addressing sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic, in May 2017. The transition in leadership will occur during the Council’s biennial ministerial meeting to be held in Fairbanks, Alaska. The US assumed chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2015.

“We’ll go to the Arctic Circle in Lapland because Finland will be this spring the Arctic Council presidency country. We’re having our economy policy conference there in November. We want to see that from the EU prospective; how to convince the EU officials to take that much, much more seriously,” Markkula said in an interview, following a European Committee of the Regions plenary session at the Parliament in Brussels on February 8.

Rapporteur Pauliina Haijanen, who is also from Finland, presented the Union Policy for the Arctic at the plenary.

The eight-country Arctic Council comprises of the United States, Canada, Russia, Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, along with 12 additional observer countries that include China and India. In addition, six organisations representing Arctic indigenous communities and other Arctic inhabitants are permanent participants.

“Why we are just kind of observing the developments instead of seeing the natural resources?” Markkula asked. “We need to protect the nature and take that dimension strongly. But we also need to be part of the business development there, especially if climate change goes on as it. I have my summer cottage a bit further to the north from that. The climate has changed already a lot,” he told New Europe.

In Dublin, 100 experts from 50 countries met this week to draft the outline of the next Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on climate change and related issues due out 2019. “Two, three years ago we had the warmest part in Europe in Lapland at the end of May,” Markkula said.

He noted that during its Arctic Council Presidency, Finland would push for utilising measuring systems from the European Space Agency, Copernicus and Galileo to monitor a whole spectrum of activities in the Arctic.

Lapland is the northernmost region of Finland and the EU having total land area of 98,984 square kilometres and 181,815 inhabitants. Lapland aims at becoming the leading Arctic region in the sustainable utilisation of its vast natural resources, including energy.

Meanwhile, Haijanen told New Europe by phone from Finland on February 15 that the EU could play an active role in the Arctic. She said that during the Arctic Council two-year chairmanship in May, “We can highlight our role in the Arctic policy”.

She said climate change could also open opportunities for the development of the region. “The first point is defining the area so that it’s not just in the Polar Circle, but it’s important that we can make this area wider. The biggest challenge is sustainable socio-economic development. Natural resources are key aspect of economic growth. We have to increase prosperity in the Arctic region,” Haijanen said, adding that it is important to improve traffic and telecommunications throughout the region.

follow on twitter @energyinsider

- Advertisement -

Subscribe to our newsletter

Co-founder / Director of Energy & Climate Policy and Security at NE Global Media

Latest

EU-Central Asia discuss security challenges, joint cooperation

The European Union and the five Central Asian Deputy...

Manila rejects Beijing’s South China Sea demands as “absurd”

The Philippine Coast Guard accused its Chinese counterpart on...

World Oceans Day calls for action to protect coastal communities and marine ecosystems

UN World Oceans Day, which is officially on June...

U.S.-Kazakhstan Enhanced Strategic Partnership Dialogue deepens political and economic ties

The sixth annual United States-Kazakhstan Enhanced Strategic Partnership Dialogue...

Don't miss

EU-Central Asia discuss security challenges, joint cooperation

The European Union and the five Central Asian Deputy...

Manila rejects Beijing’s South China Sea demands as “absurd”

The Philippine Coast Guard accused its Chinese counterpart on...

World Oceans Day calls for action to protect coastal communities and marine ecosystems

UN World Oceans Day, which is officially on June...

U.S.-Kazakhstan Enhanced Strategic Partnership Dialogue deepens political and economic ties

The sixth annual United States-Kazakhstan Enhanced Strategic Partnership Dialogue...

Interview: EU and Turkmenistan are getting closer

NE Global sat down exclusively with Sapar Palvanov, Ambassador...

World Oceans Day calls for action to protect coastal communities and marine ecosystems

UN World Oceans Day, which is officially on June 8, was celebrated on June 7 at UN Headquarters in New York, focusing on protecting...

U.S.-Kazakhstan Enhanced Strategic Partnership Dialogue deepens political and economic ties

The sixth annual United States-Kazakhstan Enhanced Strategic Partnership Dialogue (ESPD) was held in Washington D.C. on May 31.The U.S.-Kazakhstan Enhanced Strategic Partnership Dialogue was...

Interview: EU and Turkmenistan are getting closer

NE Global sat down exclusively with Sapar Palvanov, Ambassador of Turkmenistan to the Kingdom of Belgium, also accredited as the head of the Mission...

Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan open path for integrating energy systems with the EU

On May 1, during the Tashkent International Investment Forum in Tashkent, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan signed a memorandum of cooperation on merging the energy...

Washington orders new sanctions against Russia’s Wagner Group in Africa

 On May 30, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) ordered new sanctions measures to counter Russia’s destabilizing activities in...

Xi challenges a divided Europe

After the May 5-9 visit of President Xi Jinping to Europe most of the political analysts in Brussels who argued that the Chinese President's...

COP29 in Azerbaijan to focus on peace, climate finance, green issues

During this year’s United Nations climate conference COP29, host-country Azerbaijan will strive to act as a bridge-builder between all members of the international community,...

Outline for Luzon Economic Corridor takes shape

While most headlines from the Indo-Pacific Business Forum held on May 21 in Taguig, just outside Manila, focused on the latest official data concerning...