In response to the new European Commission joint communication to the European Parliament and the Council on an integrated European Union policy for the Arctic, Alexander Shestakov, Director of WWF’s Global Arctic Programme, had this to say:
“The new policy has some positive points, such as its support of a marine protected areas network for the Arctic, and a fisheries moratorium for the High Arctic that is already agreed by the Arctic Ocean states. We also welcome the EU’s ongoing financial support of research and monitoring in the Arctic.
We are disappointed that the policy did not go further on some other issues. The Policy is generally weak on regulating industrial activities in the Arctic, for instance, it fails to adequately deal with risks from oil and gas in the Arctic including the growing call for a ban on polluting heavy fuel oils for Arctic shipping. Also, despite good intentions in the policy regarding investment in the Arctic, it lacks actions that would ensure any such investment is restricted to sustainable activities. We hope that the EU sees this policy as a starting point for its increasing support of Arctic issues, and not as an end point.”