The now former-Arctic Council chair Carl Bildt explained during the ministerial meeting that although the EU’s application had been received “affirmatively” the Council will defer the final decision until some of the “concerns of Council members” have been addressed.
While answering questions after the meeting, Leona Aglukkaq, the new Canadian chair, confirmed that it was Canada that had had misgivings about bestowing the EU with observer status.
“One of the criteria that observers must meet is respect for the traditional ways of life of the indigenous people in the North,” she told reporters.
Seal hunting has been a way of life for the Inuit of the Canadian Arctic for millennia. In more recent years, the commercial sale of sealskins and other seal products have become a valuable source of income for some Inuit.
But the hunt has also come under fire from animal rights activists and, in 2009, the EU banned the sale of most seal products.
The issue came to a head in Canada recently when some politicians in Nunuvut, one of Canada’s northern territories, began speaking out against the EU’s application. The controversy gained steam with a petition called “No Seal No Deal” that began circulating last month. The online version of this petition now has over 500 signatures.
But both sides say they are committed to resolving the dispute.
Officials from the EU released a statement today, which read, in part:
“The EU welcomes the Arctic Council’s decision on the EU’s application for permanent observership…. Further to previous exchanges with the Canadian authorities the EU will now work expeditiously with them to address the outstanding issue of their concern.”
Aglukkaq agreed: “as the Arctic Council operates on consensus,” she told reporters, “I will be working with the EU to address some of those concerns.”
Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the Northern Fleet’s “Admiral Kuznetsov”, has finished repairs and is ready to leave the port of Murmansk. According to a Russian news agency, the vessel will sail to Syria.
A century and a half ago, Norway was home to roughly three thousand brown bears, the majority of bears in all of Scandinavia. By 1930, the bears were virtually extinct. Decades of aggressive management tactics and bounties had wiped out one of the area’s most iconic species.
Microplastics, the tiny plastic particles that are accumulating in marine waters and big lakes around the world, are now showing up in the Arctic waters south and southwest of Svalbard, Norway, a new study says.
REYKJAVIK: The climatic changes taking place in the Arctic are a call to action for the world. We must answer with more international cooperation and more research, says Tore Hattrem, State Secretary of Norway’s Foreign Ministry.
“Partnership should and shall shape the development of the Arctic, therefore cooperation is the starting point for our Arctic policy,” Vladimir Barbin, Senior Arctic Official and representative to the Arctic Council, said at the Arctic Circle 2015 assembly.
August 9th, the Barents Region celebrated the UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The day was commemorated in several parts of the region, including Karasjok in Northern Norway and Teriberka in Northwestern Russia.
Norway’s Foreign Minister Børge Brende has asked Russia for an explanation to the high number of asylum seekers coming to Norway via Russia. Syrian refugees that have lived in Russia for a long time, will be stopped on the border and sent back.