Conference Agenda

Panel 612: Small States and Security in Europe: Between National and International Policy-Making I
Tuesday, 03/Sep/2019:
2:55pm - 4:25pm

Session Chair: Jan Niklas Rolf, Rhine-Waal University
Location: Room 12.32


Small States and Security in Europe: Between National and International Policy-Making I

Chair(s): Jan Niklas Rolf (Rhein-Waal University of Applied Sciences)

Discussant(s): Geoffrey Edwards (University of Cambridge)

Small states have been studied for a long time in international relations. In the specific European context, small states have thrived benefiting from the relative stability and institutional frameworks of the EU and NATO. The objective of the two panels (of which this is the second) is to bring together scholars working on small states in European security and discuss how national and international policy-making is interconnected and influence each other. The papers will address the issue from various theoretical and methodological perspectives, using different empirical cases.


Presentations of the Symposium


Ireland and EU Security: From Neutrality to a Meso-strategic Approach

Kenneth McDonagh
Dublin City University

Ireland’s traditional policy of combining military non-alignment and active engagement in international institutions has rested on being able to maintain a degree of constructive ambiguity between a domestically significant attachment to the concept of neutrality and the practicalities of membership of the EU and UN. Over the past two decades, the EU’s growing role in the arena of security has been an increasing area of political debate and, in relation to votes on the Nice and Lisbon Treaties, resistance. As the EU has moved forward with initiatives like PESCO, the European Defence Agency and making EU funds available for defence research and development, it is clear the EU is moving beyond a narrow focus on crisis response capabilities towards a broader set of defence roles even if these will fall short of the type of collective defence represented by NATO. For small neutral member states like Ireland, this development presents a particular problem. Under CSDP, Ireland has been an enthusiastic participant in military and civilian missions as these fell broadly in-line with the concept of ‘active neutrality’. However, the latest steps towards more structured cooperation have reignited Irish domestic political opposition to the perceived chipping away of Ireland’s traditional security. This paper aims to examine how the symbolic politics of neutrality have emerged as a key vector of political opposition to EU integration and the limits on a continued policy of constructive ambiguity that has allowed Ireland to be both deeply integrated in the EU but maintain a formal policy of military non-alignment. In doing so it will demonstrate how the intersection of domestic and international factors are forcing Ireland to choose between a domestically potent marker of identity (neutrality) and the pragmatic desire to be seen as a ‘good’ member state.


The Role of Small (Member) States in EU Policy Responses to the Migration and Refugee Crisis: The Refugee Relocation Scheme

Maria Chiara Vinciguerra
University of Cambridge

This paper will enquire into the role, behavior and strategies of small Member States in EU policy responses to the migration and refugee crisis. Reflecting on the post-Lisbon shift away from unanimity into qualified majority voting in the policy areas of borders control, immigration, and asylum, this paper will analyze the impact of such legislative shift on the standing of small Member States in the making and implementation of policies in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice. While previous literature has studied the role of small states’ preferences in the field of international security, not much is known about the standing of small states in the intersection between security and home affairs, that is borders control and immigration. For instance, what was the strategy of outvoted small Member States – i.e. Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia – to hinder the success of the Refugee Relocation Scheme? Does the same definition of small states apply in the field of Justice and Home Affairs? By means of a cross-country comparison among small Member States in the unfolding of the migration and refugee crisis (2015-2018), this paper will represent a unique contribution to the literature on small states, in that it will fundamentally challenge the current definitional assumptions on the use of veto power by small states, as well as on the extent to which the latter take national concerns into account in international/supranational negotiations.


The 'Estonianization' of the European Union External Action: Bottom-up Securitization and Relations with Russia

Sandra Fernandes
University of Minho

New security environment in the vicinity of the European Union (EU) has called for changes in its relations with Russia and the countries of the Eastern Partnership (EaP). Some member states have been particularly active in addressing this context. In fact, Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine in March 2014 has led to a re-securitisation of Russia in Estonia (and in the other two Baltic republics). While accession to the Euro-Atlantic structures in 2004 has mitigated the Baltic States’ security concerns vis-à-vis Russia, practices of securitisation have once again become prevalent following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and the pro-Russian insurgency in Eastern Ukraine. Having that in mind, there is however one aspect that remains largely unaddressed: how national discourses and practices of securitisation are translated into the EU level? The paper puts under assessment the role that Tallinn has arguably played in fostering a consensus among member states towards the Kremlin, taking into consideration that Estonia acts as a small state. This would represent an Estonianization of the EU policies that means not only bottom-up europeanization of the Estonian securitization but also the making of EU polity from a small state perspective. We aim to assess how Estonia contributes to frame two EU external policies – the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the EaP. In the CFSP domain, we focus on two key policy-areas where Estonian securitization is particularly visible and the Union has been developing fast in the last two years, i.e. cybersecurity and strategic communications.


Facing the Pressures of Internationalization and Securitization: Cross-Policy Comparison of the Link between Domestic and International Securitisation in Czechia

Tomas Weiss, Ondrej Ditrych, Lucie Kadlecova
Charles University

Most countries formulate their security policy at two parallel levels today – domestically and internationally. This is most visible in Europe where two organizations ensure their member states’ security, NATO and the European Union. However, not all states can influence international policy-making equally. Small states are more likely than the bigger ones to fail to upload their security concerns to the international level and, at the same time, be expected to face threats that do not concern their domestic populations. How do the national governments cope with such a situation? And does their behaviour differ across policy areas?

The paper will analyse Czech behaviour in three recent cases where an issue was successfully securitised at an international level but had not been perceived as crucial at the domestic level until that moment. It presumes that the small states’ governments only have two options to be a good ally and preserve domestic legitimacy at the same time – securitising the international threat domestically or fulfilling its obligations internationally while keeping a low profile domestically. The paper will compare the Czech approach to defence spending, the external dimension of the fight against terrorism, and the security of personal data, tracing the logic of the national reaction and its results both domestically and internationally