Safeguarding Arctic resources

Despite Greenland’s recent vote for greater self-rule, the EU has an important role to play in preserving the Arctic.

A few days after presenting its communication on the Arctic region, the European Commission’s attempts at forging a coherent Arctic policy received an important knock. On 25 November 2008, Greenland voted in favour of further self-rule away from Denmark with 75% voting ‘Yes’ in a poll that had a 72% turnout. This vote is significant as the EU’s influence in the Arctic is in many ways contingent upon Denmark’s diminishing link to Greenland, one of the few Arctic coastal states within the North Pole (together with Canada, Russia, Norway and the US). Further independence for Greenland, so far the only entity to have seceded from the EU, will undoubtedly have a negative impact on the European Union’s influence in the Arctic.

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