EU Engagement in the Arctic: Challenges to Achieving Ambitions in an Area outside Its Jurisdiction

[Published 09 April 2024]

Scientific Publications

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The European Union (EU) has underscored its will to heighten its engagement in the Arctic region. Beyond traditional areas of interest – such as tackling climate change, supporting research and developing cooperations – critical resources and security emerged as new topics in the EU’s most recent policy documents. These have become even more critical since February 2022 following Russia’s all-out war against Ukraine. The Circumpolar North is the subject of many challenges caused by climate change and its fragile biodiversity, which, combined with the region’s importance for scientific research, access to natural resources, tourist activities, and military security, places it in a geopolitically strategic position. By focusing on EU ambitions in the Arctic, this article analyses the EU’s potential to implement policies and set consequential trends in an area of political interest outside its jurisdiction. It concludes that core political priorities and sector-specific regulations that directly guide the behaviour of EU members may have more influence than Arctic policy statements.

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