Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said activities in the Arctic should be watched closely by the European Union (EU) and that Estonia supports the ambitions of the EU to become an observer at the Arctic Council.
Reinsalu made the comments about the Arctic policy of the European Union on the second day of the informal meeting of EU foreign ministers held in Helsinki.
"Geopolitical developments in the Arctic have an impact on Europe as a whole," said Reinsalu. "Russian and Chinese activities in this region must be closely monitored, both in terms of militarisation and the probable use of the North Sea route for economic purposes."
Reinsalu said the EU must start giving more attention to issues related to the Arctic.
Estonia also supports the efforts of the EU to become an observer in the Arctic Council. "Environmental protection, sustainable development of indigenous communities, scientific research and security are important to Estonia," added Reinsalu. "The Arctic is becoming an increasingly attractive region as a result of climate change and it's about time the European Union, which keeps increasing its focus on climate challenges, developed a long-term strategy for the protection of the Arctic region."
Cooperation with Western Balkan countries will also be discussed today at Gymnich, which takes place within the scope of the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Editor: Helen Wright