On May 12, 2015, representatives of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Parliament of Iceland visited the Council to discuss with a panel of experts, representing the Council and other institutions, emerging security threats in the Arctic, or High North.

The Foreign Affairs Committee serves as an advisory body to the government on all major foreign policy issues and is responsible for relations with foreign states and international organizations, defense and security, trade, the affairs of the European Economic Area, international development, as well as general foreign and international affairs. The delegation of ten members of parliament included the Committee’s Chairman, Mr. Birgir Ármannsson of the Independence Party, 1st Vice Chairman, Mr. Ásmundur Einar Dadason of the Progressive party, and 2nd Vice Chairman, Mr. Vilhjálmur Bjarnason of the Independence Party.

The meeting comes at a transformative time in Arctic history, as receding ice opens the region up to increased economic and political competition and the United States begins its chairmanship of the Arctic Council. This strategy session provided an opportunity to discuss events in the High North against the backdrop of increased tensions between Russia and the West as NATO works to enhance its readiness and collective defense capabilities across the Alliance, while Russia looks to bolster its presence in the region through its new Arctic Joint Strategic Command. Given its important strategic location in the North Atlantic, Iceland represents a key partner for the United States and an important voice within NATO and the broader transatlantic community to lead discussions on and develop cogent transatlantic policies toward the evolving economic, political, and security dimensions in the Arctic.