The European Union has often been described as an external Arctic actor. However, the EU has a strong Arctic foothold and multiple links to the Arctic region, on geographical, legal, economic, environmental, research and regional development-related levels. The EU’s Arctic credentials emphasise that the EU is part of the Arctic, linked to the Arctic, affects and is affected by the Arctic. In fact, these linkages act as proof of a particular EU Arctic identity, underlining that the Union’s stakes in the region do not only fall on calculations of geographical presence. Eventually, the EU constitutes one distinct ‘Arctic reality’.
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