The European Union Parliament has passed a resolution which calls for increased protection in the high Arctic from development activities.
It also calls for a network of Arctic conservation areas and protection fo the international sea area around the North Pole beyond the economic zones of Arctic nations.
The resolution calls on the European Commission, the EU’s External Action Services and EU governments to take measures to protect the Arctic from damage from commercial exploitation.
The EU action takes discussion of development in the far north in a different direction than that of Arctic Council members, Norway, Denmark, Canada, and Russia which have resisted calls for permanent halt to development of the Arctic. The US as well is interested in Arctic development, as our other countries such as China and Japan, which are global fishing nations.
Greenpeace Canada Arctic campaigner, Farrah Kahn said in a march 12 press release, “As the European Union sets an impressive precedent for Arctic protection, Canada continues to push forward its pro-business and pro-oil agenda as Chair of the Arctic Council. To successfully prevent devastating oil spills and the depletion of fish stocks that could destroy the livelihoods of millions, measures such as those proposed by the European Parliament need to be reflected in Canadian law as well as the laws of all Arctic states,”
Responding to an increased use of the Arctic’s natural resources, the resolution stresses that any exploration must respect the local population – both indigenous and not – and take full environmental responsibility, and calls for binding agreement on pollution prevention at the Arctic Council, an international forum that Greenpeace has accused of being too close to the oil industry.
It also recommends that tankers not ship heavy crude through Arctic waters and calls on EU member states to reduce dependence on fossil fuels in an effort to reduce global warming.
In 2013 Finland called for the creation of a sanctuary around the North Pole