Geopolitical dynamics in the Arctic. Understanding the role of the EU.


21 May 2024


13:00 - 17:00


Club Prince Albert, rue des Petits Carmes 20, 1000 Brussels

Type of Event


On invitation only


The Fridtjof Nansen Institute and EGMONT – Royal Institute for International Relations

The Arctic region is increasingly marked by geopolitical tensions. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022 has drastically altered the relationship with the West. Simultaneously, concerns arise regarding Chinas ‘neutral’ stance in the West-Russia axis and the broader implications for the US-China rivalry for the Arctic.

February 2022 has forced EU to consider geopolitical development. This applies to the Arctic region as well, where the EU traditionally has focused its engagement on soft policy issues and the regional governments mechanisms. With the return of geopolitical tensions in Europe, what role can EU play in the dynamics of Arctic geopolitics? And what are their ambitions?

Through two panel discussions, we will first provide an overview of the current geopolitical landscape in the region and its main actors before delving deeper into the present and future role of the EU in the Arctic.


13:00 – 13:30 Registration

13:30 – 13:40 Welcome + opening remarks

13:40 – 15:05 Panel 1: Status of Geopolitics and Cooperation in the Arctic – What has Changed?
Presenting an overview of the current geopolitical landscape in the Arctic. Examination of the main actors in Arctic geopolitics: Russia, the West/NATO, Nordic cooperation, the US, China, non-Arctic stakeholders, etc.

  • Chaired by: Andreas Østhagen (Senior Researcher, Fridtjof Nansen Institute)
    • Arild Moe (Research Professor, Fridtjof Nansen Institute)
    • Kurt Engelen (Military Attaché at the Belgian Perm Rep to the EU) tbc
    • Commander Caroline Hoefsmit (Lead Officer Arctic Hub, NATO)
    • Lise Wiederholt Christensen (PhD Researcher at the University of Copenhagen)


15:05 – 15:20 Coffee break

15:20 – 16:35 Panel 2: Understanding the Role of EU in the Geopolitical Landscape
Exploration of the EU’s involvement and influence in the Arctic, discussion on the ambitions and role and of the EU in Arctic geopolitics.

  • Chaired by: Karen van Loon (Researcher, Egmont Institute)
    • Marie-Anne Coninsx (Senior Associate Fellow, Egmont Institute)
    • Marko Makovec (EEAS, Deputy Managing Director for Europe and Central Asia)

o        Stefan Lundqvist (Pro-Dean, Swedish Defence University)

    • Andreas Raspotnik (Senior Researcher, Fridtjof Nansen Institute)


16:35 – 16:45 Closing remarks




(Photo credit:  Arctic, Pixabay)