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The EU's Arctic Vision

The Arctic faces serious, even existential, challenges – particularly climate change. The European Union stands ready to scale up and modernize its engagement to help ensure that collaborative approaches to addressing these issues prevail over potentially damaging strategic competition.

BRUSSELS – The Arctic is changing rapidly, owing to the impact of global warming, increasing competition for resources, and geopolitical rivalries. Regarding the region’s future, the European Union has both interests to uphold and a meaningful contribution to make. We intend to step up our engagement there through climate action, international cooperation, sustainable economic development, and putting people first.

The European Green Deal will make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, and our legally binding commitment to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by 55% by 2030 stands as a global benchmark. The Green Deal and the EU’s new approach to fostering a sustainable blue economy are at the heart of the Union’s Arctic strategy. Among our core proposals are a call for oil, gas, and coal to remain in the ground, including in Arctic regions, and the establishment of a permanent EU presence in Greenland.

This task could not be more urgent. Climate change is on everyone’s mind, but it is happening more than twice as fast in the Arctic as elsewhere. Some of the region’s coastal stretches will soon become ice-free during summers – and eventually during winters, too. Melting ice and thawing permafrost are releasing large amounts of methane, further accelerating global warming, while rising sea levels are increasingly threatening coastal communities around the world. The August 2021 report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stressed that human actions lie at the root of these developments.