The Scramble for the Arctic? A Discourse Analysis of Norway and the EU's Strategies Towards the European Arctic

FNI Report 9/2009. Lysaker, FNI, 2009, 51 p.

This report examines the discourses on engagement in the European Arctic. Since 2006, both Norway and the EU have launched strategies directed toward engagement in the North. By means of discourse analysis, the report will investigate how the two actors have portrayed and discussed the European Arctic. Taking a social constructivist approach, it is assumed that regions are what we make them to be, and that discourse analysis can indicate the area of action for the region. Special attention will be paid to climate change, environmental issues and energy, as these issues play a prominent role in the Arctic. The region shows evident signs of climate change – but it also contains perhaps 25% of the world’s untapped energy resources. This creates tension between the wish to preserve the environment and the climate, and the business potential of the energy reservoirs. The European Arctic was of high geostrategic importance during the Cold War, and there is now talk of a possible renewal of that role. The report applies the theoretical approach developed by Buzan, W√¶ver and de Wilde (1998) about the widened security concept in examining whether the two actors’ discourses are framed within security terms and within a security framework.