The Arctic region was long perceived as a sparsely populated and remote periphery of little relevance to mainstream issues where human activities were regarded as sui generis. But more recently the region has come to the attention of politicians and scholars alike as it is assumed to bear considerable economic and political potential in the decades to come, including great possibilities and numerous challenges. Most striking is the growing importance of energy in the Arctic region as the area becomes more accessible for the exploitation of Arctic hydrocarbon resources but also new shipping and fishing opportunities emerge. The growing interest in the High North is not limited to the countries possessing territory in the area. Rather numerous actors on the international scene including states and private actors show increasingly keen interests in the High North. Alone for this reason, many argue that the European Union has to increase its policy efforts in the region, preferably through a common approach of its member states in order to exert the most influence possible in a multilateral approach in cooperation with other important actors. Against this background the idea of this paper is to give a thorough analysis of the position of the major actors concerning the challenges and possibilities in the Arctic region. Special attention will be paid to the European Union as an Arctic actor. More specifically, it will be analysed how the EU’s role as a newcomer to the Arctic ‘game’ looks like, how it positions itself within the existing actor and governance framework and which role it aims or strives for in relation to Arctic policy issues.