TALLINN – The European Parliament's foreign affairs committee approved the report on Arctic developments and security risks, and Estonian MEP Urmas Paet, who is the shadow rapporteur of the Arctic report, emphasized that global warming is having a rapid and serious impact on the Arctic.
"Better access to mineral resources and new shipping routes attract countries from all over the world," Paet said. "As the geopolitical importance of the Arctic is on the rise, the European Union must also update its Arctic policy. All the more so as there are Arctic countries also in the EU. With this report, the European Parliament is giving its guidelines to the European Commission," the MEP added.
According to Paet, it is important that Europe's Arctic policy takes into account the new security situation. "It is an issue that we have tried to overlook a bit so far, but now things are changing," he added.
The Arctic has so far been a peaceful area of international cooperation. "At the same time, the actions of two authoritarian states -- China and Russia -- there cause wariness. Russia is militarizing its Arctic regions, and China has begun efforts to strengthen its position in the Arctic with a view to becoming a polar force," Paet said.
"Therefore, Europe cannot simply hope for the natural continuation of the current peaceful situation, but we must take all these developments into account," Paet said, adding that the EU's goal must remain to maintain a peaceful and environmentally friendly Arctic and to respond adequately to environmental changes.