Tuesday

16th Jan 2018

Focus

China beats EU to Arctic Council membership

  • An oil spill in the Arctic would take decades to recover from, says the WWF (Photo: Gus MacLeod)

The Arctic Council at its biannual meeting on Wednesday (15 May) in Sweden allowed in six new observer states, but deferred the EU's application until a later date.

China, along with India, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Singapore, are now part of a select club of countries that oversee the exploitation and conservation of a changing landscape in the polar cap.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

“It strengthens the position of the Arctic Council on the global scene,” said Sweden’s foreign minister Carl Bildt.

The six new observers join six previous non-Arctic countries with observer status - France, Germany, the Netherlands,

Poland, Spain and the UK.

The fully fledged members with a vote on the council are Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States, with Canada taking over the council chairmanship from Sweden on Wednesday.

The entire region is drawing intense interest as ice packs melt, opening up new shipping routes and access to abundant supplies of oil and gas.

The Council in a signed declaration said it would aim to protect the environment and indigenous populations but also noted “the central role of business in the development of the Arctic.”

Canada’s Leona Aglukkaq, a conservative health minister, is on the Council’s chair.

She said it will focus on “creating economic development” during its two year role.

As for the new observer states, Aglukkaq said she welcomed their interests in development, shipping, and trade.

The pro-environment group WWF says the Arctic holds the world’s largest remaining untapped gas reserves and some of its largest undeveloped oil reserves. The group says the rush to tap the resource imperils the fragile environment and eco-system.

Meanwhile, the EU snub finds it origin in an outstanding dispute between Canada and the EU over seal fur trade, reports the BBC.

Canadian Inuit and the fur trade industry challenged the three-year ban but lost the case in April in the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in a joint statement with European Commissioner of maritime affairs Maria Damanaki said the “EU will now work expeditiously with them [Canada] to address the outstanding issue of their concern.”

Aglukkaq is against the seal fur ban and has described the problem as being “huge,” reports Canada’s Globe and Mail.

EU court upholds seal fur ban

The EU ban on seal fur will remain intact after the bloc's highest court threw out a legal challenge by the Canadian Inuit and the country's fur trade.

Russia re-submits Arctic claims to UN

Russia Tuesday announced it had submitted a revised application to the UN seeking the expansion of its Arctic shelf border, rich in oil and other natural resources.

Magazine

Arctic region to see greater focus in EU aid

The recent groundbreaking trip by a container ship from China to Rotterdam was yet another reminder that the Arctic region is slowly being opened up.

In Iceland: Europe woos Arctic allies

The EU is requesting a status of observer at the Arctic Council, a regional forum in which Asian countries are already active.

Analysis

Macron's Chinese 'game of influence'

On his recent visit to China, the French president tried to take advantage of Beijing's 'divide and rule' EU approach and become the country's main interlocutor with Europe - while also calling for more EU coordination.

Supported by

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  2. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  3. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  4. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  5. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit
  6. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted
  7. European Jewish CongressChair of EU Parliament Working Group on Antisemitism Condemns Wave of Attacks
  8. Counter BalanceA New Study Challenges the Infrastructure Mega Corridors Agenda
  9. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  10. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% Plastics Recycling Rate Attainable by 2025 New Study Shows
  11. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  12. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology

Latest News

  1. Post-Brexit trade roll-over not automatic, EU paper says
  2. Oettinger pushes plastic tax but colleagues express doubts
  3. MEPs target exports of cyber surveillance tech
  4. Kosovo killing halts EU talks in Brussels
  5. ECB withheld information on 'flawed' bank supervision
  6. Fewer MEPs than visitors turn up for Estonian PM
  7. EU names China and Russia as top hackers
  8. Ten Commandments to overcome the EU's many crises