The Arctic has been described as the last imaginary place. Certainly it is a place that deserves the attention of all peoples of the globe. What is happening there with ice melt has consequences for sea level and weather patterns all around the globe. Of course, we can worry about the habitat and survival of the beautiful ‘ice bears’ but there is potentially a lot more at stake for all of us. That is why we should be deeply interested in what is happening there.
Today I should have been speaking at a conference in Tromso in northern Norway on the subject of What does the EU want in the Arctic?
Arctic policy (or the lack of it) has been a passion of mine since I first attended a meeting of Arctic Parliamentarians in 2000. It is an issue that will continue to engage me. In the end it seemed unreasonable to go all that way for an afternoon seminar but I did prepare a paper which will be reproduced here in a new post this afternoon.
The message should be clear: the EU has a legitimate interest in the Arctic on behalf of its citizens and that should surprise no-one. It is a soft regulatory power that could be exercised with the Arctic nations to the benefit of our globe. We all loved David Attenbrough’s recent film series of the Polar world. Now we are aware, what are we going to do about it? Exploit or protect and, if so, how?