The EU and the Arctic: Breaking the Ice

21 May 2012 12:00
21 May 2012 14:00

The Institute for European Studies at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel kindly invites you to attend the upcoming Policy Forum on the 21st of May with:

  • Steffen Weber, Secretary-General of the EU Arctic Forum
  • Anastasiya Kozuboskaya-Pellé, Legal project manager for the Aurora Borealis - European Icebreaker Project
  • Ramon Van Barneveld, Policy Officer DG MARE
  • Prof. Dr. Erik Franckx, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Chair)

The European Union is inextricably linked to the Arctic region and despite its lack of an Arctic coastline it already has legitimate interest in the region. Three of its member states –Denmark, Finland and Sweden- with two of its direct economic partners –Norway and Iceland- are localised in the region. Moreover, through its Northern Dimension Policy, the Barents Euro-Arctic Council and strategic partnerships between the EU and Canada, the United States and Russia, a longstanding EU engagement in the Arctic has been established.

Lately the Arctic became a hot topic and the melting of the ice has created both opportunities and challenges for the region. The opening-up of the Arctic holds great economic potential through access to natural resources and new trade options via the northern shipping routes, while at the same time the Arctic is a fragile ecosystem and a driver of climate change.

In this respect, the European Parliament adopted in 2011 a resolution on a sustainable policy for the High North, acknowledging that the EU contributes substantially to climate change in the Arctic and therefore holds a special responsibility. The EU and its member states have been very actively involved in Arctic research. They are the main consumers of Arctic natural resources and have expressed a clear interest for the use of the new world trade routes. The resolution called upon the need to establish a coordinated EU policy for the Arctic and emphasizes the necessity of an open dialogue and active participation of those actors with a legitimate interest in the Arctic.

This event will focus on the future interests and the involvement of the EU in the Arctic. In particular, presentations will address the future role of the EU in the Arctic, the Aurora-Borealis EU Icebreaker project and the new Arctic Communication which is expected early May 2012.

Registration & Venue

Participation is free of charge and open to all but, due to space limitations, registration is required. To register, please send an e-mail to

The policy forum starts at 12:00 with a lunch reception and is followed by the presentation at 12:30

Institute for European Studies
Karel Van Miert Building
Conference Room Rome & Lisbon
Pleinlaan 5
1050 Brussels

Report PF EU and the Arctic.pdf76.88 KB