The European Union Arctic Policy and National Interests of France and Germany: Internal and External Policy Coherence at Stake?
AbstractCoherence, a fundamental principle of European Union (EU) foreign policy remains a challenge for the EU. For example, the development of an EU Arctic policy raises both internal and external challenges as two non-Arctic member states, France and Germany, move to establish their own Arctic policies. Internally, EU inter-institutional coherence has also been difficult to achieve as shown by the first effort to draft an EU Arctic policy and by the EU regulation on trade in seal products. However, internal coherence has significantly improved since 2008, and the Parliament, Commission, and Council now maintain similar positions, yet the EU is still waiting for its admission to the Arctic Council. External coherence between EU member states on Arctic issues has proven to be more elusive. France is using high-level diplomacy to define its Arctic agenda, and is clearly challenging the EU consensus on co-operation as an unambitious policy. Germany is pointing at inefficiencies regarding the coordination of EU member states while taking a more collaborative approach with Arctic countries and maintaining close ties with the EU. Although EU Arctic policy is now entering a new phase of maturity, the EU will require better coordination and a clearer vision of its role in order to position itself as an effective foreign-policy stakeholder in the Arctic, in particular when new powerful actors like Asian states enter the geopolitics and geo-economics of the Arctic.
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