Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2010-03-10-Speech-3-334"

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"Madam President, I welcome this debate and I am pleased that Baroness Ashton is here and taking part in the debate. You spoke of how this is about protecting the region and the resident population. That is certainly true. When it comes to the indigenous peoples of this region, though, in particular, it is about more than protection that we grant from outside; it is about respect for their right to self-determination. This has to be a very important principle in Arctic policy. As concerns the protection of nature in this region, it should be pointed out that there are, of course, an especially high number of sensitive areas. I am aware that many of you participating in this debate reject the idea of a moratorium. Perhaps, Baroness Ashton, that was at the back of your mind when you said that ‘the Arctic region is radically different from the Antarctic’, but even when rejecting a moratorium, the question must be answered – and in practical, not just lyrical, terms – of how the areas of particular sensitivity in this region can be effectively protected under the precautionary principle. We cannot allow the situation to develop to the point where, in the interests of short-sighted economics, the battle cry of ‘we need the gas, we need the fish’ ultimately overrides all precautionary principles. I would also like to tie in to what Mr Gahler had to say. Mr Gahler, you spoke about the potential for conflict. This is undoubtedly true. We can also already see that, internationally, these discussions are not characterised solely by a will to find common ground, or else Canada and Russia, for example, would not have attempted to block the EU’s observer status in the Arctic Council. The Arctic Council, of course, is itself a soft-law organisation with no fixed budget or staff. It will not do as a governance structure. However, we must take care, when considering new governance structures – and I understood this to be your position, High Representative – to move forwards in an inclusive manner, and to acknowledge that other organisations, too, want to be involved here."@en1

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