Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 434

434 Arctic Yearbook 2015 interrelated sectors (e.g. fisheries and maritime transport) or a policy rooted in general EU policy frameworks (e.g. the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy or the Integrated Maritime Policy) (see e.g., Meijers & Stead 2004; van Hoof et al. 2012). In the case of a crosscutting issue like the Arctic, various components of a possible Arctic policy (fisheries, research, climate change, maritime transport, etc.) are bound together by a specific geographical label. In order to be something more than merely a label - to be more than just a sum of these different components and have added value – the EU’s final Arctic policy product would thus need to have even a minimal degree of coherence and integration. A genuine overarching “policy” needs to make even a modest difference: either in the region or within the general EU policy framework. In our understanding two issues make this quest for coherence a critical, but at the same time perhaps an insurmountable challenge:   the diversity of issues brought together under the Arctic policy umbrella; and a marginal position of Arctic issues within the EU policy system as such. Over the years, an increasing number of issues started to fall under the umbrella of an emerging EU Arctic policy. While 2008 documents focused on research, fisheries, marine environment, shipping and hydrocarbon extraction, from 2011 and 2012 the Arctic label was stuck to regional development in Fennoscandia, mining, reindeer herding or the Sámi issues. Currently – based on the content of recent consultations on streamlining EU Arctic funding – terrestrial transport, infrastructure and numerous EU funding programmes are being added to the list. The objectives or instruments of an overarching Arctic policy would have to be fairly abstract and vague in order to encompass such a diversity of components (and in addition would have to correspond to actions and positions taken by the Arctic states themselves). And indeed, so far the objectives proposed in the 2008 and 2012 communications were anything but concrete and workable (see e.g., Keil & Raspotnik 2012). In 2012, the objectives virtually degraded to three buzzwords – knowledge, responsibility and engagement – which turned out to be little more than headlines for various disconnected, mostly already on-going, activities (Airoldi 2014). Would it be at all possible, instead of these general objectives, to propose a short list of concrete, new actions or to find a single organizing idea (May et al. 2005) for the Union’s Arctic policy? Accordingly, climate change could be positioned as such a top priority. However up to now, it somehow has not caught broader attention to really make it an Arctic policy driving force, i.e. a glue that could bind together diverse issues labelled as “Arctic.” Yet, would the various interest groups within the EU actually allow the response to climate change to be prioritized over other problems and objectives? And even if climate change was to become the key organizing priority, another problem remains, namely the peripherality of Arctic issues as a concern for the EU. The Arctic appears to be fairly marginal from the point of view of a policymaker regulating for a half a billion citizens. In that regard – as already noted by Powell (2011) – the very (analytical) starting point sounds rather simple but seems to be impossible to answer: What does the Arctic say about the (future) extent of Europe? Moreov \