A new battle – economic and political for the moment – is emerging on one of the most hostile geographical stages on the planet, the Arctic. The main players are the three superpowers, the United States, Russia and China, but the increasing rivalry for access to and control over the vast resources in the region and its use as a prime trading route holds major implications for a large part of the world, especially the European Union, with member states in the Arctic region and a clear interest in the area’s development. West African and certain Latin American countries will also be impacted by the new shipping route.
In Brussels, concern over the Arctic has already placed its strategic significance on a level with other regions, such as the Middle East. In addition to the economic factors, the focus of this concern, as underlined by the Finnish presidency of the Council of the EU during the second half of 2019, is the potential implications of global climate change for European security strategies. Temperature rises are shrinking the polar ice cap and opening up the navigable waters within the Arctic Polar Circle and off the coasts of Canada, the United States, Russia and north-west Europe, including Greenland.( Collapse )