Germany may not have an Arctic coast or Arctic claims, but the country’s Federal Foreign Office will play host to an international conference on the High North from March 11-13. The conference, called “New Chances and New Responsibilities in the Arctic Region,” will be hosted with the cooperation of the Foreign Ministries of Denmark and Norway.
The conference will involve discussions on environmental policy, business, and international law. Above all, the aim of the proceedings will be to understand how Arctic and non-Arctic nations can work together to solve problems in the region.
The press release from the Federal Foreign Office states that German Federal Government possesses
“a strong interest in promoting structures in the Arctic Region that are based on international law, aim for sustainable and peaceful management of the region’s resources and preserve the ecosystem.”
Yet Germany also has an interest in maintaining good relations with Russia and Norway, two of its major gas suppliers. Preventing conflicts in the region would help to secure Germany’s gas supplies. Alas, perhaps behind the entirely valid premise of strengthening international law and preserving the environment lies a desire to ensure that the Arctic’s resources are exploited in a manner that best serves Germany’s interests.