The Number and Geographical Scope of the EU Foreign Policy Initiatives of Small Member States: Does „smallness“ matter?

  • Đana Luša, Petar Kurečić
  • Croatian International Relations Review, January 2015, De Gruyter
  • DOI: 10.1515/cirr-2015-0002

EU Foreign Policy Initiative of Small Member States

What is it about?

Due to the complex voting and decision-making mechanisms of the EU, the size-factor has long been present within EU studies as a relevant and significant variable in explaining member states’ activism. Despite the aim of small states to achieve equal representation, there is a huge discrepancy between the power of big and small states within the EU. Therefore, the expected behavior of small states is different from that of the big ones. However, there are also significant differences in foreign policy activism within the group of small EU states and those are analysed in this article.

Why is it important?

Due to the complex voting and decision-making mechanisms of the EU, the size-factor has long been present within EU studies as a relevant and significant variable in explaining member states’ activism. Despite the aim of small states to achieve equal representation, there is a huge discrepancy between the power of big and small states within the EU. Therefore, the expected behavior of small states is different from that of the big ones. However, there are also significant differences in foreign policy activism within the group of small EU states and those are analysed in this article. In order to differentiate small states’ activism within EU foreign policy, the article explores the correlation between the scope and number of small states’ leadership initiatives in EU foreign policy and different quantitative criteria used to define these small states (population, total GDP, GDP per capita).

Perspectives

Professor Petar Kurecic
University of the North Croatia

Small EU member states with a higher level of GDP per capita and less economic difficulties (mostly from Western and Northern Europe) are more focused on multilateral issues and crisis management. They are able to deal with these issues, notwithstanding their own economic difficulties, as they do not face such immense political and economic problems (that pose internal security challenges to them) in their immediate surroundings (unlike the “small” new members from Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe). The results show that geographical proximity influences the scope and intensity of EU foreign policy initiatives in the case of small states on the EU’s Eastern and Southeastern “frontline”(more than other small EU member states).

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/cirr-2015-0002

The following have contributed to this page: Professor Petar Kurecic and Dr Petar Kurecic