Alyson Bailes

In October 2013 the United Kingdom became the first sovereign state not included among the Arctic Council's members to publish an official Arctic strategy document. The paper discusses the human, environmental, and commercial aspects of Arctic management in turn, and places a strong emphasis throughout on British scientific contributions. It seems to be trying to stress relevant UK competences, and keep the door open for UK firms to get their fair share in development, while assuring the Arctic powers proper that London respects their rights and will behave as a 'model' Arctic Council observer. Compared with other Arctic strategies, the UK document is rather light on security-related analysis, climate concerns and commercial facts, taking in fact a rather laisser-faire position on economic development. It says little on the European Union's role. It remains to be seen whether this presentation of the UK position is complete and compelling enough to secure the desired national influence in Arctic affairs. Much may depend on how other AC observers behave and react.

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