European lawmakers voted against a non-binding motion to prohibit oil and gas exploration in the Arctic.
Although a symbolic vote, the motion’s rejection is seen as a barometer for future moves by Brussels to regulate and to protect environmentally the region.
The vote 414 against 180 succeeded to endorse a plan to ban drilling in the Arctic’s waters and called for a closer collaboration between European Commission and member states to work on worldwide base to determine the future extraction of Arctic oil and gas.
At the same time, EU Parliament was concerned by Norway’s plans to drill and extract a high amount of oil and gas in the Barents Sea, however Norway made assurances that the drilling will be far from Arctic area which is endangered by sea ice during winter.
Lawmakers from Estonia and Finland voted in favour of banning exploration in Arctic, stating that extraction should be a decision of the sovereign states.
Last year, Norway awarded 13 drilling licenses to oil companies in the Arctic. It was the first time since 1994 that it had opened previously unexplored Arctic regions for the oil and gas industry.