Cover of the research report.

New report about EU actions and their impact in the Arctic

10.6.2021 10:02

The newly published report presents an overview of EU policies, initiatives and projects that are of relevance for the Arctic. Both the Arctic-specific actions as well as the broad spectrum of EU general policies that have an influence on the region have been considered. The report has been written by a team of experts including several researchers from the Arctic Centre at the University of Lapland and led by Research Professor Timo Koivurova.

The authors have paid attention to the EU’s role as a major economy in the Arctic, market for Arctic resources, polluter and as technology and research powerhouse. As background, the Arctic environmental and economic footprint of the EU’s economy and population was assessed. The report contains altogether 35 policy options aimed at enhancing the EU’s Arctic policy impact. The study was commissioned by the European Commission, inter alia, to support the drafting of a new EU Arctic policy statement.

– In general, the EU’s readiness to assess its own impact on the Arctic is a very positive and responsible approach, says Koivurova. Actually, all major economies, both Arctic and non-Arctic, should be encouraged to conduct assessments of their Arctic footprint, he continues.

The EU’s environmental and economic footprint in the Arctic region is naturally high since among the major industrialised regions of the world it is located closest to the Arctic Circle. The report describes, among others, that the EU's clean air policy has helped to tackle black carbon pollution reaching the Arctic from the EU. The EU has been acknowledged for its overall climate action or response to plastic pollution, even though there is still space for higher level of ambition However, the EU has taken only a few Arctic-specific actions with regard to long-range pollution and biodiversity questions.

The EU is a key market for resources extracted in the Arctic and it contributes to developments in various Arctic economic sectors such as energy sector, mineral extraction industry, marine transport and fisheries. The authors of the report recommend the EU to take note of its influence on Arctic economy when making strategic decisions about energy resources, raw materials, maritime shipping or relevant international regulatory developments. 

– The wide scope of the report reflects the breadth of the EU’s interactions with Arctic regions as well as both the internal and external dimensions of the EU’s Arctic policy and influence. Therefore, the policies discussed range from environmental actions internally, in the Arctic and internationally, actions affecting the EU’s demand for Arctic resources, the funding of Arctic research, the dialogues with Arctic actors, to the EU’s cohesion and cross-border programmes operating in the Arctic, emphasizes Koivurova.

The extensive report will be presented in a seminar on 17 June 2021. The seminar will include the presentation of the study, commentaries from the Arctic as well as insights into the current stage of developing the new EU’s policy towards the Arctic, to which the report is to contribute. Registration to the seminar is open until Monday, the 14th of June. 

Seminar: The EU’s Arctic influence 17 June 2021, at 14:30-17:00 (CET)

Report: Overview of EU actions in the Arctic and their impact, Final Report, June 2021

The study was implemented as a part of a contract between the European Commission and the EPRD consortium.

More information:

Timo Koivurova, Research professor
Arctic Centre, University of Lapland
timo.koivurova(at), +358 (0) 40 551 9522

Adam Stepien, EU Arctic Policy Expert, 
Arctic Centre, University of Lapland
adam.stepien(at), +358 (0) 40 484 4298