Steffen Weber is Secretary General of the EU Arctic Forum. Cécile Pelaudeix is Research Associate at
PACTE-IEP Grenoble and a Research Fellow EU Arctic Forum. Iulian Romanyshyn is a Research Fellow EU
EU’s New Arctic Communication: Towards
Understanding of a Greater Role
Steffen Weber, Cécile Pelaudeix, and Iulian Romanyshyn
On 26 June 2012 the European Commission and the High Representative of the European Union
for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy issued a long-awaited Communication on the EU and the
Arctic region, initially due in June 2011. The joint Communication represents a follow-up to the first
Commission Communication published in 2008 and responds to the 2009 Council Conclusions on
Arctic issues, and the 2011 European Parliament resolution on a Sustainable EU policy for the High
North. The new Communication comes at an important point in time. Since 2008 all Arctic states
adopted or upgraded their respective Arctic strategies. Simultaneously, the Arctic Council will face in
May 2013 a decision on granting the EU and a number of other interested states an observer status.
Continuity or Change?
Using the terminology of the 2008 Communication, current joint Communication shall signify a
“second layer” of an Arctic policy for the EU, given that the other EU institutions have already
expressed their positions. The joint Communication presents an elaborated synthesis of EU’s
contribution to the Arctic since 2008 varying from funding research, fighting climate change,
supporting economic and cultural development of indigenous peoples, shipping, and maritime safety.
With regard to the ends of the policy, EU’s objectives towards the region remain unchanged in
relation to 2008 Communication. They include addressing the challenges of environmental and
climate changes in the Arctic; economic development based on sound environmental impact
assessment and sustainable use of resources; constructive engagement and dialogue with Arctic states