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Northern Dimension

Diana Wallis is the Vice-President responsible for the Northern Dimension, which includes the Nordic Council, the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference and the Parliamentary Conference of the Arctic Region. In a resolution on Arctic governance adopted in plenary on 9 October 2008 she proposed a Charter of Arctic Governance to cover issues such as migrating fish stocks, marine resources, energy resources, research and transport. The resolution also asked for more active EU involvement in the Arctic Council. This parliamentary stance prompted the Commission to issue a communication the following month which was an important first step towards a stand-alone EU Arctic policy.

"The Arctic represents a unique combination of countries with huge opportunities to work together, although I am concerned that with its wealth of energy resources the region might become an energy "hotspot". The Commission needs to be braver and bolder in developing policies in this area."

In a further development which is still to be voted in plenary, Ms. Wallis is calling on Council and Commission to initiate international negotiations for the adoption of an international treaty for the protection of the Arctic. This should be in line with the existing Antarctic Treaty in order to make the Arctic a zone of peace and cooperation, reserved solely for peaceful activities and free of disputes over sovereignty.

"I have always thought that the EU, with its history of multilateralism, was well placed to bring something to the debate about future governance in the Arctic. Given the rapid changes in the Arctic, it seems to me increasingly important that parliamentarians of these countries have a role. Otherwise there is a trend that issues in this region become ones of sovereignty and result in bilateral dialogue at best."

October 2008 Parliament resolution on "Arctic governance"

Commission communication of 20 November on the Arctic

greenland

Diana on an expedition through the icefjords off the coast of Greenland, September 2008.

Click here to see the Northern Dimension Conference Statement of 1 March 2007