What about the Arctic? The European Union’s Geopolitical Quest for Northern Space

Geopolitics, published online 06.10.2019, 25 p. DOI: 10.1080/14650045.2019.1670643

Over the last decade(s), the European Union (EU) has established itself as geopolitical actor seeking to actively engage in the spatial ordering of its neighbourhoods. In order to better understand the existing geopolitical nature of the EU, this article addresses the question of the EU’s decade-long endeavour to construct legitimacy in its Northern Neighbourhood; an area often neglected in discussions about the EU’s geopolitical role. By examining its Arctic involvement between 2008 and 2018, this article enquires into the EU’s broader role as an international actor with an evolving geo- political identity. Over the last decades, the EU has exhibited geopolitical ambitions alongside its own conceptualisation of world order, rule of law and good governance. This article establishes a clearer picture on how the EU as an amalgamation of its various institutions has tried to impose these geopolitical ambitions on a neighbouring region that itself experiences a manifold change in the early twentieth-first century. It gets to the conceptual bottom of what exactly fashioned the European Union with geopolitical agency in the Arctic region – internally and externally. The article is based on a decade of research on the EU as an emerging Arctic actor.