The Arctic: MEPs Call for Peace and Reduction of Tensions in the Region
Parliament calls for constructive international cooperation in the Arctic, while warning of emerging threats to stability in the region.
• The Arctic must remain a region of peace and low tensions
• The need to address the worrying effects of Arctic climate change
• The accumulation of Russian military forces in the Arctic is not justified
In a new report on geopolitical and security challenges in the Arctic adopted Wednesday, MEPs say Arctic states and the international community must preserve the Arctic as a zone of peace, low tensions and constructive co-operation. The EU is committed to the long-term sustainable and peaceful development of the region, they stressed.
In addition, the text emphasizes that the current model of Arctic governance, based on international law, has benefited all Arctic states and ensured stability in the region.
Climate change and indigenous peoples
MEPs call on all countries and the EU concerned to respond to the deeply worrying effects of Arctic climate change by adhering to the objectives of the Paris Agreement.
The culture of the indigenous population in the region must also be preserved, MEPs note. All activities, including the use of natural resources, must respect the rights of these minorities and benefit them and other local people.
Russian and Chinese activities in the Arctic
In addition, the report expresses serious concern about the gradual accumulation of Russian military forces in the Arctic, which MEPs consider unjustified, as it goes far beyond legitimate defense objectives. Any co-operation with Russia in the region must be in line with the principle of EU "selective co-operation" with the country, MEPs insist. It should not jeopardize sanctions and restrictive measures adopted in response to the Russian government's actions in other parts of the world, they added.
MEPs are also deeply concerned about China's large-scale projects in the Arctic. The EU must closely monitor China's attempts to integrate the Arctic Northern Sea Route into its One Belt, One Road initiative, they say, as it hampers the goal of protecting the Arctic from global geopolitics.
The text approved by 506 votes to 36, with 140 abstentions, will be available here (06.10.2021).
"I would welcome an updated EU policy on the Arctic, which should continue to focus on issues related to local communities and, in particular, indigenous peoples. In our report, we also said that the EU's Arctic Strategy must reflect the new security situation in the region, growing geopolitical tensions and new regional players such as China. We must be aware that we are not alone in the Arctic; together with our close allies - the United States, Canada, Norway and Iceland, we can build a prosperous and peaceful future," said rapporteur Anna Fotiga (EQF, Poland) after the vote.
Ahead of the plenary vote, a delegation of MEPs from the Foreign Affairs Committee visited Denmark, Greenland and Iceland on 21-24 September to discuss international co-operation and the Arctic challenges with politicians and officials.
/Press Release European Parliament
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