The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness (CRE) has for a number of years opposed admitting the EU as an observer to the Arctic Council. CRE opposition is based primarily on the EU acceptance of the precautionary principle as an operating norm. CRE’s opposition has been in one way reinforced by a recent action of one group of EU legislators and in another way negated by the actions of another group of legislators.
More specifically, Reuters reports:
The motion to ban exploration in the Arctic was brought by Estonian liberal lawmaker Urmas Paet and Finnish center-right lawmaker Sirpa Pietikainen…Lawmakers voted 414-180 to reject the non-binding motion calling for the European Commission and member states to work with international forums towards a future total ban on the extraction of Arctic oil and gas.
Hopefully the debate within the EU regarding its future is resulting in the realization that Arctic resources can be developed in an environmentally sound and sustainable manner.
However as is often the case in dealing with the EU no battle is ever over.
The Marine Executive Reports:
The outcome, which is seen as a trial balloon on future E.U. regulation of the Arctic, was greeted with applause from the oil lobby.
But Bellona’s Sigurd Enge, challenged that, saying the language of the resolution and its emphasis on steering drilling away from areas vulnerable to ice buildup in the winter buttresses the cause for an all out oil ban.
“The wording is clear: the European Parliament wants a ban on oil drilling in the Arctic,” he said. “Bellona is pleased that E.U. politicians involved in the vulnerable Arctic and send strong signals to the Arctic states.”
How precisely that signal will be interpreted seems poised for argument.
The Pan Arctic Forum, in recognition of Finland’s upcoming chairmanship of the Arctic Council, has been reporting on its plans related to the Arctic. Given the current division of opinion on the precise meaning of the EU vote, at least in some quarters, CRE will address this matter with the Arctic Council and will report on its progress herein.
Read Reuters here.
EuroNews: “EU Parliament rejects total ban on Arctic oil drilling: European Parliament lawmakers voted against a non-binding motion to prohibit oil and gas exploration in the Arctic”
OilPrice: “European Parliament Rejects Motion To Totally Ban Arctic Drilling: The European Parliament rejected on Thursday a proposal to call upon the European Union to work for a total ban of oil and gas exploration in the Arctic.”
Euobserver: “MEPs reject ban on Arctic oil drilling”