An Arctic Strategy for the EU

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The Arctic is a region undergoing critical change, with a variety of actors involved in designing the emerging structures of formal and informal governance there. Climate change in the Arctic will have an environmental, economic and diplomatic impact on the world at large. As the world order is under mutation and the Arctic is emerging as a crucial theatre for international relations, the EU could play a key role in Arctic governance, but Arctic issues are widely misunderstood or ignored in Brussels. proposes to find realistic and legitimate ways for the EU to impact the course of global Arctic policymaking and engage with Arctic actors.


Research outline

WeBuildEurope’s EU Arctic research project aims to analyse existing relations in the Arctic and to identify instruments of influence and engagement for the EU in a region undergoing critical change. The EU is fully concerned with developments in the Arctic (Depledge 2015, Jokela 2015, 3941). Three of its member states, (Denmark, Sweden, Finland) and one associate state (Norway) are Arctic states, and many more member states have an observer status in the Arctic Council. All the aspects of Arctic politics – environment, fossil resources, shipping, security, geopolitics – will directly impact the EU’s strategic environment and policy options. It is thus vital that the EU and its member states understand their interests in the Arctic and be given the conceptual tools to approach and understand political developments in the region, so as to adopt a proactive rather than reactive position. The EU currently does not have a concrete and actionable strategy for the Arctic. In line with WeBuildEurope’s general approach, the present project aims to analyse and foster debate about these issues through a combination of traditional academic research and engagement with experts and civil society.

The research

The project is structured in several blocks. Block 1 – Situational analysis, aims to analyse the role of existing actors and the state of international relations in the Arctic, so as to prepare a reflection about the role of the EU in Arctic governance. We naturally focus on the eight Arctic States, but also on the non-Arctic states that play a major and visible role in Arctic governance, including China. We pay attention to the role of the Arctic Council, to the observer and aspiring observer states in the Arctic Council, and to the multitude of non-state actors who have an impact on Arctic affairs. Block 2 – EU Arctic identity, aims to identify what could be the EU’s interests and legitimacy in playing a greater role in Artic affairs, how the EU is perceived by other Arctic actors and what areas it should focus on. Block 3 – Policy, will propose actionable recommendations for the implementation of an EU Arctic strategy as identified in block 1 and 2.


Research team

Morgane Fert-Malka is responsible for this project and currently focuses on Russian Arctic policy. Morgane holds a Master of International Security from Sciences Po Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA), specialising in Russian affairs and Intelligence. She completed her Bachelor of Political Science at Sciences Po Paris, studied at the Copenhagen Business School, and is an alumnus of the Institut des Hautes Etudes de Défense Nationale (IHEDN). She previously worked at a futures studies think tank in Copenhagen and at the leading Public Affairs company in Scandinavia. She speaks French, English, German, Danish, Russian and Spanish. She also has experience in freelance journalism, and is a contributor to Russia Direct and Russia Beyond the Headlines. At, she is also in charge of partnerships, external relations and contact with the supervisory board.

Jean Christopher Mittelstaedt contributes with his expertise on China for the completion of block 1. Jean Christopher graduated with a Bachelor of Laws in International Politics from Peking University, Beijing, China. After obtaining a Master in Human Rights and Humanitarian Action from Sciences Po Paris, he now pursues a DPhil in Politics at the University of Oxford, where he focuses on Chinese ideology, the legislative process, and Partybuilding. He is the co-founder of as well as the founder of OB|OR Austria Consulting, which specializes in political and risk analysis for companies that invest within China and along the Silk road in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. He is a contributing member of the European-Chinese Law Association and the Austrian-Chinese Business Association.



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