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date: 10 July 2020

Summary and Keywords

The EU’s Arctic policy process represents and exemplifies a process of foreign-policy formation where forces from the Union’s internal dimension, involving tensions between member-state and community-level interests, have interplayed with influences from external actors and impacts from the system level in global politics. Going back to challenges with its relationship to Greenland, following the Kingdom of Denmark joining the EU in 1973, the Union’s Arctic relations have often been complex and challenging. The difficulties have ranged from the need to acquire better knowledge of the geographic and cultural properties of the Arctic, understanding the role of indigenous lifestyles and cultures; to comprehending the dynamics within and the roles of key regimes in the region, such as United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the Arctic Council. After a decade of gradual policy development, it appears that the EU, with the European Parliament’s resolution of March 16, 2017, on an “Integrated European Union Policy for the Arctic,” has achieved striking a more appropriate balance between the role as passive observer and as proactive actor in the High North.

Keywords: European Union, European Union politics, Arctic policy, European foreign policy (EFP), polar politics, High North

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