Russia, a member of the Council, recommended that the Czech request be postponed. According to sources from the Czech diplomatic community, this came as a surprise, because after a sharp deterioration in relations between Prague and Moscow, a direct Russian veto was expected.
At the beginning of the year, there was optimism about this in the Tarnin Palace. After a series of negotiations with members of the Arctic Council (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Canada, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States of America), the Czech diplomat came to the impression that there was no obstacle to the approval of her request. It might have been so if there had not been a quarrel between the Czechs and Russia.
Symmetric link? This was the case
The Arctic Council is a group of nations whose territories extend into the Arctic. So far, it has been spoken of as a relatively harmonious bond, whose members do not push each other, but pull more or less one rope to achieve a common goal. This is the development and coordination of scientific cooperation and, in particular, joint efforts to slow climate change.
The situation in the Arctic Council has changed recently. The gradual disappearance of the ice sheet leads to the availability of already suspected or designated deposits of nickel, copper, coal, gold, uranium, tungsten, diamond, natural gas and oil. Additionally, the melting of glaciers promises new sea routes that can be used year-round. Economic interests take precedence over scientific interests. Territorial claims are discussed, the right to extract minerals, and problems of a strategic military nature have already arisen, which are often associated with economic problems.
The Czechs have no ambition to send drilling rigs or bucket rigs to the Arctic, but their interest in participating in the work of the Arctic Council stems mainly from the original scientific activities carried out there in which our country has been participating since the 1960s.
Since 2015, the Czech Republic has a field station and research vessel in Svalbard. In recent years, scientists from the University of Southern Bohemia in esk Budjovice and Masaryk University in Brno have been mainly involved in scientific projects.
Decades of research
For decades, Czech scientists have been very active not only in direct research into the Arctic, but also in the advisory bodies of a number of institutions involved in polar research.
Observer status in the Council is a very prestigious international status, which has so far only been granted to thirteen countries, including China, India and European countries, including Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Spain. From the Central European region, only Poland got the status.
The results of the May meeting in Reykjavík delayed the prospect of Czech Republic participating in the group of observers by at least two years. This is the number of times a ministerial conference is held, which has the sole authority to expand the number of observer states.
|:: An intergovernmental organization focusing on the Arctic|
|:: It was established in 1996|
|:: In the presidency, the states rotate after two years|
|:: Only states whose territories extend to the Arctic may become members|