The CoR opinion will set the CoR position on the joint Communication from the EC and the High representative to the EP, the Council, the EESC and the CoR: "A stronger EU engagement for a peaceful, sustainable and prosperous Arctic" adopted on 13 October 2021;
The Arctic is an area of growing strategic importance for the EU, in particular in view of the aggravation of climate change and increasing geopolitical tensions;
All regions are concerned as accelerated climate change in the Artic has impacts far beyond the Artic (impact on global climate change);
Challenges with regard to appropriately addressing the territorial, economic and social characteristics of the Artic have generated a growing demand for action at EU level. Collaboration, synergies and complementarity between existing programmes and other funding sources have to be strengthened by an integrated approach. Therefore, LRAs should be involved in the coordination of relevant programmes and projects as regards territorial cooperation (incl. stakeholder fora), transport links and sustainable economic development. Laying out the views of the CoR should therefore contribute to the success of future EU actions in this field.
Through its preparation (bilateral meetings with representatives of the EU institutions (European Commission (DG MARE and REGIO)), EEAS, European Parliament (EP rapporteur: MEP Fotyga, Chair of the EP Arctic group: MEP Paet) and public consultation of stakeholders, media coverage, etc), the opinion already drew the attention on the key challenges faced and solutions recommendend by cities and regions in the Arctic.
* The CoR rapporteur, Ms Vekhapera, participated on behalf of the CoR at the annual conference on the Arctic: Arctic Frontiers conference 2022 , on 9 May 2022 (https://eu.eventscloud.com/website/6764/side-events/)
MEP Fotyga (rapporteur for the EP report on the Arctic) participated at the discussion on the Arctic at the CoR plenary;
The CoR hosted the first EU-Sami Week on 20/22 June 2022;
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- strongly condemns the unprovoked, unjustified and unlawful Russian military invasion of Ukraine and underlines that Russian military activities have increased significantly in the Arctic. Stresses the role and potential of subnational cooperation frameworks at local and regional level, such as the Arctic Mayors Forum or the Northern Sparsely Populated Areas Network (NSPA), to promote stability and peaceful cooperation in the region, by delivering results on tangible projects;
- highlights that climate change in the Arctic is the main threat, to EU cities and regions, with a potentially very serious impact. Calls for this challenge to be addressed from a broad perspective as part of the region's socio-economic development. Long-term climate policies in the Arctic must be economically, socially and regionally just;
- stresses the role of Arctic cities in implementing sustainable development and adaptation to change. Calls on the European Commission to partner and closely work with Arctic cities, in particular the Arctic Mayors Forum, and to jointly design an Arctic Urban Agenda for sustainable, prosperous, attractive, and vibrant Arctic cities;
- notes that the Arctic can provide Europe with knowledge, products, resources and energy that are crucial to achieving the EU's climate goals. The EU's strong industries based on natural resources in the Arctic include energy production, tourism, mining, forestry, bio-economy and fisheries; the Arctic's strong ICT capacity supports the transition;
- notes that EU funding must be targeted to support and ensure sustainable investments in the Arctic. At the same time, it is important to strike a balance between the responsible development of natural resources and environmental protection, in order to make full use of the Arctic's potential as a driver of green growth and the digital transition in the EU. All activities in the Arctic must be based on nature's resilience, climate protection and the principles of sustainable development, as well as respect for the rights of the people and indigenous peoples living in the region;