in: The Arctic Institute's EU-Arctic Series (2023)
Due to the climate crisis, reducing greenhouse gas emissions is more urgent than ever, and Russia’s war against Ukraine is putting even more pressure on the energy market. The green transition is on everyone’s lips and often framed as the solution for tackling planetary crises. The EU’s Green Deal as a growth and decarbonisation strategy aims to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent. However, the shift to renewable energies and green technology depends on access to land and resources. Where are these resources coming from, and where are the land areas needed for these developments? To push for domestic production, these resources partly come from Sápmi, the homeland of the Sámi people spanning across parts of Finland, Norway, Sweden and Russia. The recent developments illustrated by the cases of Fovsen (Fosen Peninsula, Norwegian side of Sápmi) and Giron (Kiruna, Swedish side of Sápmi) show how an EU agenda shapes local conditions and challenges the rights of the Sámi people, the only Indigenous People within the EU. Currently, there is no EU internal Indigenous Peoples Policy that addresses the rightsholder perspective in EU policy-making. Particularly due to the influence of the Green Deal and its policies, we see an increased need to investigate in more detail how Indigenous Peoples’ rights can be better ensured in an EU internal setting to prevent unjust and, thus, unsustainable policies.