The European Defence Agency, together with the Permanent Representation of Finland to the European Union today hosted a conference on the "Naval Challenges in the Arctic Region" highlighting the conclusions of a long term analysis conducted by the Wise Pen Team International.
Pilvi-Sisko Vierros-Villeneuve, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Finland to the European Union, opened the event by underlining the growing importance of the region due to changing circumstances. In her speech, she highlighted that diminishing ice would lead to more activity in the Artic. New resources and logistic opportunities were of interest; a European Union Maritime Security Strategy, currently in preparation, would be a key opportunity to address the EU’s support to the Arctic area.
Claude-France Arnould, Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency, recalled the growing importance of the Arctic for European security and economic interests, at the same time requiring close attention to be paid to environmental protection. “The opening of the Sea Lines of Communication, the North West and North East passages for example, have required the naval community to focus more on navigational safety, the need for maritime surveillance and maritime security in the Arctic region. One of EDA’s key tasks is to anticipate capability requirements and cooperation opportunities on this basis in the Arctic area, where a truly comprehensive approach will be required.”
Vice Admirals Fernando Del Pozo, Anthony Dymock, Lutz Feldt, Patrick Herbrard and Ferdinando Sanfelice di Monteforte of Wise Pen International presented their study on naval challenges in the Arctic region which concentrated on current strategies and practices; resources, challenges and capability needs; the EU and the Arctic, and gave some conclusions and recommendations. They argued that potential risks to maritime security could only be addressed collectively and internationally; they see the EU as being well placed in playing a key role. However, the group members also highlighted that raising the scientific knowledge baseline and generating a shared vision of how to harness the riches while preserving the environment was a prerequisite. Experts on the Arctic from Finland, Dr Juha-Matti Flinkman, and Sweden, Niklas Granholm, highlighted the need to develop cooperation in the Arctic area in a close cooperation between governmental authorities and scientific research, acknowledging the specific requirements of the delicate and evolving Arctic environment.