Arctic Yearbook 2012
Thawing Ice and French Foreign Policy: A Preliminary Assessment
Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris (IEP, or Science po Paris) and
has an academic background. Both Pottier and Mayet were appointed special advisors to
polar ambassador Michel Rocard in 2009. It should also be mentioned that Rocard has been
the honorary president of CP since 2007.
These individuals are considered a “knowledgeable Arctic elite,”
potentially supported and
consulted by governmental institutions (i.e. committee on foreign affairs and the Senate).
They are also the official voice of France on Arctic affairs in the world (i.e. foreign
government conferences, news interviews, publications, high level meetings, keynote
speakers, Arctic Council ministerial meetings, and other public or private events). In
addition, these actors are recognized in academia and the media and, arguably, have
impeding discursive powers to shape the way France perceives the Arctic as a place and
space and how the area(s) should be considered as a foreign policy priority for the country.
While we are unable to provide any formal link between the MAF, policymakers and CP, it is
possible to observe certain proximity between the French government and this NGO
through Michel Rocard. The themes elaborated by CP are also similar to those emerged
from Gaudin’s reports. CP programs such as “The Call of the Poles”
and “A Flag for the
aim to foster awareness and promote multinational information sharing on climate
change impacts on the Arctic, other components can be seen as soft power strategies or
arrangements since they support larger and stronger political implications by France in the
Arctic. Advocating for a remodeled governance structure for the Arctic is one of these
examples, consistent with the
Grenelle de l’Environement
commitment on an Arctic
treaty (Sénat, 2009). It is therefore hypothesized in this preliminary assessment that
information generated by the experts at CP can be useful for foreign policymakers in Paris.
But no formal association can be proved at this time and no significant policy shift has been
detected thus far.
France, the EU and the Arctic
In 2007, CP created a working group on Arctic governance called
Groupe d’étude sur
la gouvernance Arctique,
Working Group on Arctic Governance
). It was created with the intention
to “reflect on the legitimacy and the form for a future international regulation framework for
The GEGA working group elaborated a treaty project for the protection of the