Small States in Europe: Challenges and Opportunities

Small States in Europe: Challenges and Opportunities

Small States in Europe: Challenges and Opportunities

Small States in Europe: Challenges and Opportunities

Synopsis

The effects of recent institutional change within the European Union on small states have often been overlooked. This book offers an accessible, coherent and informative analysis of contemporary and future foreign policy challenges facing small states in Europe. Leading experts analyze the experiences of a number of small states including the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Iceland, Austria and Switzerland. Each account, written to a common template, explores the challenges and opportunities faced by each state as a consequence of EU integration, and how their behaviour regarding EU integration has been characterized. In particular, the contributors emphasize the importance of power politics, institutional dynamics and lessons of the past. Innovative and sophisticated, the study draws on the relational understanding of small states to emphasize the implications of institutional change at the European level for the smaller states and to explain how the foreign and European policies of small states in the region are affected by the European Union.

Excerpt

Mario Hirsch

The contributions to this volume are the outcome of an international conference on ‘Small States Inside and Outside the European Union’, which took place on 16 and 17 May 2008 in Schengen, Luxembourg. This gathering, bringing together some 30 scholars from most small and smaller European states, was convened jointly by the Luxembourg Institute for European and International Studies (LIEIS) and the Institut Pierre Werner, Luxembourg (IPW).

The meeting place and its ‘genius loci’ is not only a symbol of one of the great achievements of European integration. Schengen, which is without any doubt the best-known village in the world, perfectly illustrates the very special status enjoyed by Luxembourg in Europe.

Napoleon said ‘a country’s foreign policy is dictated by its geography’. A small state with powerful neighbours, Luxembe of the Community machinery’s internal workings. This has enabled it to repeatedly leave its mark on the majority of projects advancing the integration process: it was a Luxembourg presidency that in 1985 oversaw the adoption of the Single European Act, the linchpin in the resurgence of the integration process in the 1980s, and, in 1991, it was another Luxembourg presidency that launched the intergovernmental conference that was later to be concluded in Maastricht.

Luxembourg statesmen like Pierre Werner, Gaston Thorn, Jacques Santer and Jean-Claude Juncker have played a decisive role in some of the more remarkable breakthroughs in the history of European integration. As early as 1970, Pierre Werner was the author of the ‘Werner Plan’ – the roadmap to the common currency. Both Gaston Thorn and Jacques Santer were presidents of the European Commission. Since the introduction of the euro currency, Jean-Claude Juncker has chaired the Eurogroup. The decisive influence exerted by these politicians in European affairs is not only a result of their strong personalities, but also of the longevity of Luxembourg politicians. The country enjoys a remarkable degree of political stability: coalition governments complete their term as a rule, and politicians stay in office longer than elsewhere. Jean-Claude Juncker has been minister in various capacities since 1982 and he is the longest serving prime minister in the . . .

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