The European Union and the Arctic: A Decade into Finding Its Arcticness
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Over the last ten years, the European Union (EU) has felt an Arctic allure, with its various institutions attempting to formulate a coherent policy approach for its ‘Northern Neighbourhood.’ However, the EU’s decade-long involvement in the Arctic can be characterized by ambivalence. On the one hand, the Union has an obvious presence in the north in terms of geography, legal competence, market access or its environmental footprint and contribution to Arctic science. On the other hand, three factors have made the EU’s efforts to become constructively involved in the Arctic both controversial and complex. These factors are its lack of direct access to the Arctic Ocean, its slightly paternalistic Arctic policy statements portraying the EU as part of the ‘solution’ to the region’s challenges without sufficiently taking into considerations Arctic sensitivities, and the sustained difficulty to find a convincing Arctic narrative that would attract broader attention throughout the Member States. This chapter will go to the bottom of the EU’s decade-long Arctic endeavour, analysing the Union’s search to find and understand its very own Arcticness.
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