EU is paying attention to Arctic security matters

It was a peaceful place once upon a times.

It was a peaceful place once upon a times.

EUISS has just published a report entitled Arctic Security Matters concluding that the EU, “as a distinctly ‘soft’ security actor”, could play a useful role “in attempts to build up mutual trust and to give assurances that military assets in the Arctic create stability”. The bottom lime is “While much of this positive assessment of the role that the EU may be able to play in the Arctic is largely dependent on future environmental, economic and political developments occurring beyond the boundaries of the Arctic region, political will, translated into strategic action, is now needed to secure the foundations of Arctic cooperation laid down during previous decades.”

In my contribution, I argue that “Russia’s course towards militarisation of inter-state relations in the Arctic region presents a difficult problem for the EU, which has to rely on ‘soft power’ instruments in building its profile as an ‘Arctic actor’. At the same time, the EU has assumed a central role in the complex confrontation with Moscow as the sanctions regime – in combination with lower oil prices – is having an increasingly painful impact on the targeted sectors of the Russian economy. Seeing the EU as a key antagonist, Moscow has effectively prevented it from gaining observer status in the Arctic Council – and will expect this institution to take an anti-Russian stance as the chairmanship passes from Canada to the US.”

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