2016 April 27 16:49
Today, the European Commission presented its new Arctic Strategy. The Communication covers a wide field of issues from environmental protection to international cooperation. The Danish Shipowners' Association believes that the EU in its Arctic policy should first and foremost support the work of the Arctic Council and the IMO.
High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini launched today a new EU integrated policy for the Arctic. The document contains a number of initiatives to protect the Arctic climate and environment as well as promote sustainable development in the Arctic region. In addition, the strategy focuses on strengthening international cooperation on Arctic issues.
Simon C. Bergulf, Director EU Affairs for the Danish Shipowners' Association, welcomes the strategy but calls on the EU to support initiatives in the Arctic Council and in the UN maritime organization, IMO.
"The EU's Arctic strategy is an interesting and broad initiative which reflects a greater European focus on this important region. The EU must, however, be careful not to take too many parallel initiatives in the Arctic, which will compete with existing and successful forums, such as the Arctic Council. ”says Simon C. Bergulf.
The EU Arctic strategy includes a lot of initiatives for an active role of the EU in the region. The Communication calls for, among other things, measures to address black carbon and methane emissions, but also to guarantee safe and secure maritime activities in the Arctic. The focus is among other on the security threats linked with using the North East Passage and the complex search and rescue operations in the region. Furthermore, the strategy encourages the creation of a European Arctic Forum.
Simon C. Bergulf points out that Arctic policy and legislation should, as far as possible, be formulated at international level and on the basis of the cooperation between the Arctic states. The EU's role should therefore primarily be to support this international approach.
"The IMO and the Arctic Council have shown their ability to discuss the many complex issues faced in the Arctic. It should, therefore, be ensured that international regulations have priority over regional rules, which could not be enforced as effectively. The EU should instead focus on the areas where it can really add value. E.g.by supporting research and development as well as investments in various forms of infrastructure in the Arctic," he says.