Foreign Affairs Committee Chair stresses importance of the Arctic for Europe
Statement by the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, David McAllister, following a delegation visit of committee MEPs to Denmark, Greenland and Iceland on 21-24 September.
After meetings with members of the Danish parliament, Greenland’s Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Climate, of Education and Culture, of Industry and Natural resources, as well as with Icelandic officials dealing with Arctic matters, the Danish and Icelandic Arctic Ambassadors and various other stakeholders, David McAllister, Chair of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, stated:
“We were pleased to visit Denmark, Greenland, and Iceland at a very important juncture for the shaping of the EU’s future Arctic policy. The European Parliament has just voted on the new Overseas Countries and Territories association decision, which for the first time includes Greenland, and will soon vote on the new EU-Greenland sustainable fisheries partnership agreement (SFPA) as well as on the Foreign Affairs Committee report on „the Arctic: opportunities, concerns and security challenges“.
In parallel, a new joint communication is expected to be issued by the European Commission and the EU Commission’s Vice-President and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy in the autumn.
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of the Arctic for the environmental ecosystem of the world and for Europe in particular. Our mission reconfirmed the conviction that the current Arctic governance framework, which is based on international law, is still contributing significantly to the region’s well-being and stability. However, our visit showed that the unique complexity of the challenges the region is facing requires more engagement and solutions based on the knowledge and will of the inhabitants of the Arctic.
In this respect, I welcome the climate of shared ownership and collaboration witnessed at the Arctic Council’s latest Ministerial meeting.
The EU must continue contributing to this climate by encouraging sustainable development in the Arctic through all the platforms and bodies in which it participates. Moreover, it should develop an ambitious strategy taking into account the rapidly changing reality of the region and integrating the Arctic in all its policies and actions.
Our committee will keep the Arctic high on its agenda and ensure that in the future there will be both more EU in the Arctic and more Arctic in the EU“.
The delegation of Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs visited Denmark, Greenland and Iceland on 21-24 September to discuss international cooperation and challenges in the Arctic with political representatives and officials. Read more here.