Thursday

17th Aug 2017

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 and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  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.

China's 16+1 foray into Central and Eastern Europe

Half a decade after it was launched, the network of cooperation between China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries has brought uneven economical and political fruits so far.

EU-China united on climate, divided on trade

Within 24 hours of Trump announcing that the US will pull out of the Paris climate accord, EU and Chinese leaders presented a united front on fighting climate change. But divergence on trade plagues the new alliance.

China's 16+1 foray into Central and Eastern Europe

Half a decade after it was launched, the network of cooperation between China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries has brought uneven economical and political fruits so far.

In cooperation with

News in Brief

  1. Russian power most feared in Europe
  2. UK unemployment lowest since 1975
  3. Europe facing 'explosive cocktail' in its backyard, report warns
  4. Danish police to investigate misuse of EU fishing rules
  5. German constitutional court questions ECB's €2tn spending
  6. Low support for Norway's labour party ahead of elections
  7. Slovakia's future is with core EU, says PM
  8. Italy relieved as migration drops to lowest level since 2014

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  2. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  3. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  4. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  5. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  6. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  7. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  8. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  9. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  10. ECPAFood Waste in the Field Can Double Without Crop Protection. #WithOrWithout #Pesticides
  11. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  12. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey