The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, the minister for foreign affairs of Sweden, Ann Linde, and EU Commissioner Karmenu Vella co-hosted on 3 October the 2019 EU Arctic Forum, in Umeå, Sweden.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden Ann Linde, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini and European Commissioner Karmenu Vella released the following statement on the EU Arctic Forum held in Umeå (Sweden):

In view of the challenges facing the Arctic due to global warming, the EU is strongly committed to helping the region adapt to climate change, protecting the environment and developing its economy in a sustainable way. We are delivering on this commitment in three practical ways: by investing in research and development, by protecting local ecosystems and biodiversity, and where appropriate, by building better infrastructure to connect the region to the mainland, including broadband connection.

The EU recognizes the need to work closely with national, regional and local authorities in the European Arctic in this regard. The EU emphasizes its commitment to facilitate Arctic stakeholder engagement in the European Arctic region.

With three EU Member States and two European Economic Area members being Arctic states, the EU has a strategic role and interest in the Arctic remaining a “low-tension–high cooperation” area. The EU promotes sustainable economic development in the Arctic region, based on the best available science and taking into account the impact on fragile ecosystems as well as the living conditions of local populations, in particular, the indigenous peoples.

The EU is directly affected by climatic and environmental changes in the Arctic, which profoundly alters living conditions in the Arctic and globally. Last week’s Special Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on oceans and the cryosphere has strongly reinforced the message that we need to limit global warming to 1.5°C. The EU is committed to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and becoming a carbon-neutral economy by 2050.

The EU will continue to contribute to international and regional cooperation in the Arctic through enhanced work on climate action and environmental research, sustainable development, as well as concrete cooperation with Arctic states, institutions, indigenous peoples and local communities.