Small States in the European Union: Coping with Structural Disadvantages

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Small States in the European Union: Coping with Structural Disadvantages

This allows to link your profile to this item. While Norway hardly wavered with the economic crash of , Iceland suffered abject failure in the attempt to diversify its narrow economic base by building up banking services — a classic small-state ploy. Nordic cooperation is formalised in the Nordic Council, a parliamentary cooperation body supplemented since by the Nordic Council of Ministers NCM. Greenland Nowhere is this plainer than in the United Nations, where the Nordic states overcome their small size by taking joint positions and initiatives, and supporting each other in bids for elections of non-permanent Security Council members.

Since the s the Nordic Heads of Government have pre-consulted before major EU meetings, either streamlining their views or finding non-damaging ways to agree to differ. The Nordics have concocted joint inputs to high-profile EU policies, such as the Nordic Battle Group though excluding Denmark for EU military missions, and more recently, a proposed joint rescue module for civil emergencies. The Haga system has by now reviewed many specific issues and operational areas, albeit with sparse visible results. Cultural differences over central-local burden-sharing, over how far to trust the military, and over public-private relations, further complicate the picture.

Controversy during the referendum debate hinged on the conditions on which this might happen and especially, whether Scotland would have a residual right to membership as a former part of the UK or would need to apply afresh.

Security in a Small Nation

Table 3. Hypothetical shelter solutions for Scotland after independence. This leaves room for widely diverging hypotheses, as was seen in the referendum campaign. To an outside observer, however, it seems hard to build realistic scenarios where London would wish or be able to treat Scotland in a zero-sum, purely hostile and vengeful way — at least on strategic points — when facing a peaceful split. After all, Scotland would remain physically attached to the rUK, as its strategic hinterland and main buffer against the traditional line of perceived threat from Russia.

It would fall to London to try to reassure NATO about the impact of the split on defence readiness in, and contributions from, the British Isles. No other organisation offers the collective military strength to deter possible assailants from any quarter , while also following democratic practices that give a voice to its smallest members.

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Some Scots may appreciate being part of a trans-Atlantic political community based on democratic values. Others might simply find it a reassuring element of continuity. Small members that deviate from this pattern normally have special reasons for threat-consciousness, such as Estonia, on the Russian border. In the independence debate, the SNP said they would wish Scotland to join in such tasks when backed by a clear international-legal mandate — i.

Small States in the European Union

Iceland joined this position in the s. Viewed logically, NATO should care about maintaining an effective UK deterrent, and about handling the delicate London-Edinburgh negotiations sensibly, rather than about exactly where the British assets ended up.

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It does not want to lose access to Scottish facilities and have a strategic black hole north of the rUK. Edinburgh would come under equally strong US pressure to cooperate and would have good cause to do so. Scottish cultural and societal links with North America are strong, as in Ireland. The SNP has stated that an independent Scotland would wish to retain the Queen as monarch to keep close societal links with the UK and the pound sterling as currency implying backing from the Bank of England , so an independent Scotland is highly likely to, at least, seek such shelter at a minimum.

Scotland, however, has already experienced and on balance profited from it for forty years see Table 2. Anti-EU feeling is less dominant than in the UK. Brussels may even seem a more palatable source of authority than London. If Scotland had to make a new membership application as many including the President of the European Commission believe, 51 could it stay outside the Schengen system and maintain a ceiling on its budget contribution as earlier negotiated for the UK?

Only joining the Euro would change that, and the SNP have no such plans at present — though the calculus might change after Brexit. Granted EU membership, Scotland would have far fewer representatives and votes and a much smaller voice at the EU table than the UK has at present. But that would be offset by the freedom to promote its own distinct European interests — which Scottish representatives, unlike genuinely new entrants, could do with skills honed for decades.

Further, all are deeply involved in the European integration process as full members or as part of the Common Market through the EEA. Greenland and the Faroe Islands, though not formally in the EU, have fisheries agreements with Brussels and draw indirect economic benefits through Denmark. All derive soft security benefits — not currently available elsewhere — from European cooperation in fields such as environmental and energy security, disease control and migration management: all of which would be equally pressing concerns for Scotland. The SNP for its part has explicitly stated that it wishes to follow the Nordic model and its norms and values.

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They could provide political inspiration and cover for distinctive characteristics the Scots might want to stress in fields like peace promotion, arms control, humanitarian initiatives and the anti-nuclear stance as well as social-liberal values at home. Concrete economic, soft security, and societal benefits could be sought through closer Scottish-Nordic cooperation, including common approaches to the growing Arctic challenge.

Nordic political and public attitudes would surely be sympathetic, but the precedent involved in granting NC membership might give pause since the Baltic States were earlier denied it. They have found many-sided shelters while maintaining strong national idiosyncrasies. An equally wide range of Nordic national solutions applies to relations with the EU. In each other, the Nordic states find many types of shelter, primarily societal.

As any other small entity, a Scotland moving towards independence would need to weigh carefully the benefits and costs of these shelter options and how they compare to the benefits and costs of its current arrangements within the UK. In doing so it would need to dismiss at the outset any notion that Nordic neighbours could either provide an alternative for any key dimension of shelter, or invent solutions offering escape from the sometime very tough choices to be made and prices to be paid.

Alesina, A. Bailes, Alyson J. Donald, D. Hassan and R. Ilett Edinburgh: Luath Press Ltd, , pp. Handel, Michael I. Hanlon, P. Ikenberry, G. Katzenstein, P. Hassan, and R. Keohane, Robert O.

Klus, A. Liska, G. Lundestad, G. Murkens, Jo E.

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  7. Ojanen, H. Osgood, R. Rokkan, S. They were internally well suited for democratic regimes but externally helpless and constantly threatened by extinction. More pluralistic approaches to power offer greater possibilities for positively evaluating small states.

    The literature incorporates several currents that do not always interact: developed versus underdeveloped, European versus non-, economics versus security. The realities of both small states and power are more complex. The notion that power and influence in world politics are fundamentally based on the possession of certain material resources has deep roots and still exercises great sway. Resource-based definitions of power facilitate quantification and prediction. For some theorists, primarily realists, the possession of resources is power. Morgenthau and Mearsheimer both employ this approach to power, though neither ignores that the ultimate purpose of power is to change the behavior of other actors Mearsheimer , 57—76; Morgenthau and Thompson , — Great powers struggle in wars against small ones, as well as against non-state actors Mack ; Maoz ; Sullivan Power resources are rarely fungible Baldwin , Even when power is treated as the sum of material capabilities, small states are not helpless, particularly in economic terms.

    Small states may produce crucial commodities, which can serve as an important base of power for even very small states. The relationship between power and structures is important in rationalist, critical, and constructivist schools of IR. In a neorealist world, the opportunities for small states would be limited Ingebritsen , 26— Following Waltz , much work argued that anarchy created a dire situation for small states Hey a , 6. Employing an essentially realist concept of power, Vital concluded that, given external constraints and threats, small states could rarely be truly independent.

    International structures made it too perilous; passivity or alliance was the likelier—and safer—route. From this vantage, different structures of polarity pressure small states in different ways.

    In a bipolar world, the weight of small states means little to either bloc. Incentives to bandwagon will be increased, and possibilities to gain influence by shifting sides will be reduced. This view was not unanimously held.