NOT SO NORMATIVE? The European Commission and the ever-changing Arctic region.

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: Climate change has drastically changed the prospects of obtaining resources in the Arctic that where long deemed unobtainable due to the harsh climate in the region. The European Union has gradually evolved its Arctic policy in recent years due to these severe alterations, in which the European Commission has been the most active in pursuing that policy. This thesis analysed the gradual change in perception that the European Commission had on Arctic governance, security and commercial interests. In order to assess this change in perception, the theories of Liberalism and Realism were operationalised together with a dimensional model type analysis. The material that was analysed in this thesis were the three main European Arctic policy documents released in 2008, 2012 and 2016. The contents of the policies where analysed according to the model types, Realism and Liberalism, and subsequently placed on a dimensional scale in order to determine the gradual change. The results indicate that there has been a gradual change in perception of Arctic security and commercial interests, but not when it concerns regional governance. The European Commission, according to its Arctic policy, perceives Arctic affairs both according to realism and liberalism depending on policy area as well as year of publication.

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