The focus of this article is on the regulatory relationship between the EU and the Arctic. Following a brief review of the recent Arctic policy documents from a shipping perspective, the following section assesses the applicability of the EU's current maritime safety and environmental legislation to shipping activities in the Arctic. Since it is concluded that current EU shipping legislation does not make much of an impact in the Arctic, the following section explores the legal challenges standing in the way of a more active regulatory approach of the EU towards Arctic shipping. The jurisdictional limitations imposed by existing rights and duties in the law of the sea are reviewed, with a view to exploring to what extent there is legal scope for a more active role for the EU in this area. It is concluded that there is such scope, even if there is little to suggest that an EU-based regulatory approach for the Arctic is currently required. Yet, as is noted in the concluding section, the lack of a clear indication of the EU's goals or ambitions for Arctic shipping limits the Union's possibilities for playing a more active role in this area, both within and outside regulation, and both at regional level as well as globally.