Maili Vilson: The foreign policy of the Baltic states and the Ukrainian crisis: A case of Europeanization?
Under which circumstances do countries give up bits of their national sovereignty? The best example we know so far comes from Europe: the European Union (EU) has gradually grown to play a significant part in the various policy fields of its member states. This has given a massive boost to the Europeanization literature which analyzes the effect of the interactions between the EU and its members. It has been theorized that Europeanization is least likely to occur in the field of foreign policy, as independent foreign policy is one of the core functions of a state. However, Europeanization of national foreign policy has been increasingly observed in recent years. How to interpret this?
This article looks at the Europeanization of the foreign policies of the Baltic states during the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis in 2014, considered as the biggest foreign policy challenge for the Baltics since restoring independence. The analysis shows that elements of Europeanization in the national foreign policies of the Baltic states can be observed, even when the issue area concerns foreign affairs and countries’ vital national and security interests. This central finding suggests that processes of Europeanization may be more powerful than previously thought, and calls into question the established consensus in the literature, which has maintained that the more salient the issue – in terms of national interests and/or perceptions of sovereignty – the less likely it is for Europeanization to occur. At the same time, by attesting to the presence and effects of Europeanization in a case such as that of Ukraine, the article prompts inevitable questions as to the extent to which particular elements or foreign policy positions signify actual Europeanization and substantive internalization of the norms that govern European external action, rather than mere mechanical and procedural adherence to the EU institutional and decision-making processes.
- This is Maili Vilson’s teaser for her article The foreign policy of the Baltic states and the Ukrainian crisis: A case of Europeanization? that has appeared in the latest issue of the New Perspectives