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“The EU is serious about the Artic”

Catherine Ashton this week presented the new EU strategy on the Arctic. Photo: europa.eu

We have an important role to play in the Arctic, EU leaders stressed when presenting their new strategy for the region this week.

The strategy document is presented two months after EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton travelled the High North and met with the foreign ministers of Finland, Sweden and Norway.

In a press release from the Commission, Ashton underlines that  “with the actions presented today, we want to show the world that the EU is serious about its commitments towards the Arctic region”.

The new strategy includes 28 action points, among them a proposed €80 billion Arctic research package and new contributions to search and rescue in the Arctic through the launch of next-generation observation satellites.

The document, which is presented under the headline “Knowledge, responsibility, engagement”, also highlights the need to promote and develop environmentally friendly technologies that could be “used by extractive industries in the Arctic”, as well as an objective to enhance bilateral dialogue on Arctic issues with Canada, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation and the United States. The EU also intends to step up its bid to become permanent observer status in the Arctic Council.

The new strategy document is based on the EU Communication on the Arctic, a document presented in 2008.