The EU is in danger of being “run over” by Russia and China in the Arctic, the EPP group has warned.
“The EU must get much more involved in the Arctic. If we want to mitigate climate change, foster sustainable development and keep the Arctic a peaceful region, we cannot stand idly by anymore”, said Arba Kokalari MEP.
Her remarks came ahead of this week’s plenary debate on the EU strategy towards the Arctic and prior to the adoption by the European Commission of a Communication on the same topic.
“The Arctic is changing due to climate change and increased geopolitical tensions. Melting ices, new transportation routes, a more confrontational Russia and an increased interest from countries like China affect us in Europe. We must step up our engagement in our northern neighbourhood, just as we do with our neighbourhood in the east and south”, she stressed.
“It’s important that the EU defends international law, especially freedom of navigation, and is supportive of the current governance framework. The EU should be more active in forums like the Arctic Council and work strategically together with like-minded partners”, explained Kokalari.
According to Kokalari, who negotiated Parliament’s Report on the Arctic on behalf of the EPP Group, ”the EU has a big toolbox to use in terms of investments, research, maritime safety and security, raw materials, infrastructure projects, local know-how, the European Green Deal and our common foreign policy. We should include an Arctic dimension in our day-to-day work.”