The European Union’s “integrated policy for the Arctic”, stemming from the Joint Communication of 27 April 2016, can productively interact with Nordic cooperation frameworks in order to support developments in Arctic Europe. The study Arctic Europe: Bringing together the EU Arctic Policy and Nordic cooperation, carried out by researchers from the Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland, concludes that the 2016 Joint Communication creates opportunities for formulating a common trans-national strategy for Arctic Europe.
In particular, region’s potential in bioeconomy and Arctic technological innovation is highlighted. These opportunities would be enhanced by stronger alignment and synergies between the EU’s Arctic policy actions and the work taking place within the international and cross-border Nordic cooperation platforms. It is important to emphasize the relevance of development in Arctic Europe for the whole EU. Targeted investments in the region have potential to benefit Nordic as well as European economic actors.
Common themes of Nordic cooperation and the EU’s Arctic policy include: Arctic bioeconomy, innovative cold climate technologies, digitization, and facilitating circular economy solutions suitable for sparsely populated areas. The EU’s support for developments in these sectors appears more feasible than for extractive industries, despite the fact that the latter receive most attention of both analysts and policy-makers. Furthermore, EU-Nordic cooperation as regards tackling border obstacles should continue, with special attention given to enhancing trans-border activities of the Sámi. The latter spaces for collaboration are not part of the EU’s Arctic policy but they constitute important EU contributions to stronger integration of Arctic Europe as a distinct, successful region.
The 2016 Joint Communication has launched – in the format of the EU-Arctic Stakeholder Forum – a process aimed at identifying key investment and research priorities, primarily for the European Arctic. The Forum could be used as a catalyst in the formulation of common strategy for Arctic Europe. Such a strategy could be based on the logic of smart specialization. In order to support drafting of project proposals that address common priorities, a special seed money facility could be established. Common EU-Nordic Arctic conferences could enhance long-term cooperation between various funding programmes operating in the region.
Arctic Europe is an integral and indispensable part of the socio-economic landscape of the EU. In-vestments in the region can benefit whole Europe. Region has potential to facilitate innovative solutions fueling European green growth. It can be the first stage for European companies’ expansion to other parts of the circumpolar Arctic. Europe’s northernmost regions can increasingly act as living labs for new technologies and new governance solutions. Arctic Europe remains an important part of Europe’s cultural and natural landscape and a source of natural resources for the European economy. The success of Arctic Europe will enhance its role as the EU’s gateway to Russia and the Arctic.
The study was produced within the project Finland's Arctic Council chairmanship in the times of increasing uncertainty (Suomen puheenjohtajuus arktisessa neuvostossa kasvaneen epävarmuuden aikakaudella). The project is carried out as part of the implementation of the 2016 Government analysis, assessment and research activities. It is implemented jointly by the Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland, the Finnish Institute of International Affairs and the Marine Research Centre of the Finnish Environment Institute.
Report (in English)
For more information on the Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities, see tietokayttoon.fi
Adam Stepien, researcher at the Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland, +358 40 484 4298, astepien(at)ulapland.fi and prof. Timo Koivurova, director of the Arctic Centre of the University of Lapland, +358 40 551 9522, timo.koivurova(at)ulapland.fi
Government Communications Department 10.2.2017 12.28
Press release 63/2017