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Conference on The European Union, Canada, and the Arctic: International Policy on the Arctic

  • When: September 22, 2011 - September 23, 2011
  • Time: Multi-day (see above)
  • Location:

These interviews result from a two-day conference (Sept. 22-23): The European Union, Canada and the Arctic: International Policy on the Arctic, supported by Carleton University’s Centre for European Studies (European Union Centre of Excellence) and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.

Armand de Mestral, Canada-Europe Transatlantic Dialogue lead researcher, Law Professor at McGill University and former member of the Canadian Law of the Sea delegation, talks about international frustration over Canada’s 2010 unilateral decision to make compulsory the duty to notify Canadian authorities in advance of a ship’s entry into Canadian waters. He argues Canada had no choice but to take this decision, highlighting the lack of solid international standards on Arctic shipping. He also discusses how the European Unions’ eventual position—in favour or against Canada’s decision—could influence the issue.

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Cécile Pelaudeix, Research Associate in PACTE, at the Institute of Political Studies in Grenoble, France, talks about the differences between Canadian and EU Arctic policies. She argues Canadian policies are more focused on sovereignty issues, while that is less important for the EU. She also highlights some of the tensions between Canada and the EU as they relate to the Arctic and some policy options for resolving issues.

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David Long, Professor at Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs and CETD collaborator, argues theory is important in explaining current Arctic policies. He proposes a counterintuitive reasoning to explain prospects for conflict in the Arctic. He says a realist approach could suggest future conflict over the Arctic. However, he argues that the region may in fact not be significant enough to the international actors to warrant a violent response. He says institutionalists and constructivists find more basis for dispute in the Arctic due to overlapping institutional frameworks. He discusses the possible impact of his conclusions on current Arctic policies.

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Rob Huebert, Associate Director at the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies and Associate Professor in the Political Science Department at the University of Calgary, discusses the changes to the EU-Canada security relationship in the Arctic. He argues energy security will move the Arctic from an almost non-existent issue to one of central importance. In this context, he touches on current debates (such as NATO’s role in the Arctic and maritime navigation) and the potential for diplomatic disputes over these issues.

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Markus Kaim, Head of Research on international security at the German Institute of International and Security Affairs (Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik), Berlin, talks about Germany’s key areas of interest in the Arctic. He describes how Germany makes use of international organizations to have its voice heard in the Arctic, but argues that overall, the Arctic will have little importance in the future for German foreign policy.

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Sandra Cavalieri, Senior Fellow and Coordinator for the Arctic and Transatlantic programs at the Ecologic Institute in Berlin, discusses the importance of environmental protection in the Arctic and how efforts in this area compete with interests of resource exploitation. She stresses the importance of developing common guidelines that will allow states to act in an environmentally friendly way in the Arctic.

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