The atmospheric general circulation model EC-EARTH-IFS has been applied to investigate the influence of both a reduced and a removed Arctic sea ice cover on the Arctic energy budget and on the climate of the Northern mid-latitudes. Three 40-year simulations driven by original and modified ERA-40 sea surface temperatures and sea ice concentrations have been performed at T255L62 resolution, corresponding to 79 km horizontal resolution. Simulated changes between sensitivity and reference experiments are most pronounced over the Arctic itself where the reduced or removed sea ice leads to strongly increased upward heat and longwave radiation fluxes and precipitation in winter. In summer, the most pronounced change is the stronger absorption of shortwave radiation which is enhanced by optically thinner clouds. Averaged over the year and over the area north of 70° N, the negative energy imbalance at the top of the atmosphere decreases by about 10 W/m2 in both sensitivity experiments. The energy transport across 70° N is reduced. Changes are not restricted to the Arctic. Less extreme cold events and less precipitation are simulated in sub-Arctic and Northern mid-latitude regions in winter.