The European Commission laid the cornerstone for a fully-fledged Arctic policy in its Communication "The European Union and the Arctic Region" of November 2008. The Commission's paper lists three main goals: Protecting and preserving the Arctic in unison with its population, promoting sustainable use of resources and contributing to enhanced Arctic multilateral governance.
In 2012 the European Union presented an Arctic strategy for the comprehensive exploration and careful, sustainable development of the region based on three key principles: knowledge, responsibility and engagement. The EU believes that developments in the Arctic make efforts to fight global climate change even more urgent and are increasingly of importance to the European Union strategically, economically and environmentally. The EU wants to make a positive contribution to cooperation between Arctic countries, taking account of the needs of the indigenous and local communities living in the region.
Arctic research and the use of available EU funds aim at promoting as much sustainable development as possible in the region for the benefit of the local and indigenous communities. There are also plans for promoting and developing environmentally friendly technologies for extractive industries.
Germany's Arctic Policy
The increasing political and economic significance of the Arctic region has led the Federal Government to examine Germany's Arctic policy in depth. As a result of this intensive process, it adopted guidelines for Germany’s Arctic policy in the summer of 2013. For the first time, a common understanding of Germany's goals in the Arctic was developed, an understanding integrated with the EU's policies on the region.