The EU has
aspirations to gain influence across the Arctic region. Already, three EU
countries, Finland, Sweden and Denmark sit on the Arctic Council, alongside
Russia, the United States, Canada and Iceland. But the EU has no seat. The
council is growing in importance because of the possibilities of the polar thaw
creating new shipping lanes through Canada in a Northwest Passage.
also the question of mineral resources in the Arctic, and the question of
defence installations. Iceland has Keflavik airport, which until the Americans
pulled out in 2006, was a key Nato airbase. Indeed, immediately after the
financial crash last year, the Russian government stepped in with a loan to the
Icelandic government of £3.5bn. Observers reckoned that Russia was trying to
get friendly enough to negotiate access to Keflavik.
elite would find it intolerable for all this Arctic negotiation to be going on
without them. Judging by their past form, if Iceland joined the EU, they would
start demanding a seat on the Arctic Council. They would argue that with four
EU countries on the council, Brussels should have a voice.