In October 2008, the European Parliament (EP), recalling the growing geopolitical and strategic importance of the Arctic region, issued a „Resolution on Arctic Governance“ to present its concerns for climate change effects on the environmental, social and geopolitical landscape of the Arctic and the consequences of Arctic changes for the EU. The EP indeed considered that it was time for the EU to undertake actions to address the environmental and social problems related to the rapidly changing Arctic, but also to include on the agenda energy and security policies.

The EP, referring to the forthcoming Communication from the Commission expected in the autumn of 2008, hoped that it would have laid the foundations for a meaningful EU Arctic policy and called to address at least, the following issues:

(a) the state of play in relation to climate change, and adaptation to it, in the region;

(b) policy options that respect the indigenous populations and their livelihoods;

(c) the need to cooperate with our Arctic neighbours on cross-border issues, in particular maritime safety; and

(d) options for a future cross-border political or legal structure that could provide for the environmental protection and sustainable orderly development of the region or mediate political disagreement over resources and navigable waterways in the High North

The document contains also a controversial suggestion for the Commission to purse the “opening of international negotiations designed to lead to the adoption of an international treaty for the protection of the Arctic [... ] [which] could at least cover the unpopulated and unclaimed area at the centre of the Arctic” . Although various legal scholars have similarly advocated the need for a legally binding and comprehensive regime for the Arctic Ocean, the EP proposal, was considered clearly in contrast with the Ilullissat Declaration by the Arctic five which “see no need to develop a new comprehensive international legal regime”, and it is often erroneously quoted as a misunderstanding of Arctic States’ jurisdictions. The EP proposal did not find any support, not even among the other EU institutions, and has been currently set aside.

Read the EP Resolution on Arctic Governance

[EP: European Parliament resolutions are acts with no binding value, aiming at giving political impetus to the legislative or political process ](Airoldi, 2010)

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