Internal Contradictions and External Anxieties: One ‘Coherent’ Arctic Policy for the European Union?

Tutkimustuotokset: Kirjoitus lehdessä tai erikoisnumeron toimittaminenArtikkeliTieteellinenvertaisarvioitu


The European Union’s overarching policy towards the Arctic is an umbrella policy of complementary and coordination nature composed of internal and external elements. The article examines this policy framework from the perspective of “coherence”. What could a coherent and integrated EU Arctic policy entail – as called for by the Council and the European Parliament? I problematize the notion of coherence and offer an understanding of coherence deemed workable in the context of a region-focused policy-making.
Building on a conceptual overview, different dimensions of coherence are discussed: internal (lack of contradictory objectives), institutional (coherence between EU institutions), vertical (between the EU and its member states) and external (interaction with other Arctic actors). A number of interrelated contradictions or dichotomies are identified with focus on: Circumpolar versus European Arctic, maritime and terrestrial, internal and external, environmental and developmental goals. There is also a tension between the eagerness to adjust to narratives prevalent in the Arctic – owing to anxiety of Arctic actors regarding the EU’s presence – and the need to respond to internal voices and retain EU values.
While coherence as an ideal goal is a necessary principle of policy-making, its practical application may be counterproductive to a cross-cutting policy field, unless the meaning of “coherence” is specified. I argue that the umbrella Arctic policy should be characterized by procedural rather than outcome coherence. That includes developing and maintaining: durable mechanisms for dialogue with Arctic partners, management of the impact of EU policies, ongoing identification of gaps, effective internal coordination mechanisms, and modes of continued involvement in Arctic governance structures. Arctic policy framework could provide input into general EU decision-making processes if inconsistencies are revealed. Institutional setting with a less dominant role of services focused on maritime and external aspects should be considered.
JulkaisuThe yearbook of polar law
TilaJulkaistu - 2015
OKM-julkaisutyyppiA1 Vertaisarvioitu alkuperäisartikkeli


  • Kansainvälinen politiikka


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