Art of Adaptation

A Study on the Europeanization of Finland's Foreign & Security Policy
TAPRI Studies in Peace & Conflict Research , No. 96

 

By Teemu Palosaari
April 2011
Tampere University Press
Distributed by Coronet Books
ISBN: 9789514483523
248 pages
$69.50 Paper Original


This study examines how Finnish foreign and security policy has been influenced by the European Union and its Common Foreign and Security Policy. It points to a growing interplay and misfit between the external expectations originating from the European level and the domestic expectations and traditional ways-of-doing-things. It is concluded that the deepening European integration in the sphere of foreign, security and defence policy has played a significant role in a number of transformations in the Finnish policies since 1995. New, more European, meanings have been attached to the key concepts of Finnish foreign and security policy. Neutrality and traditional peacekeeping have been replaced by a minimalist reading of military non-alignment and participation in crisis management operations and EU battle groups. Traditional small state identity has been recast more and more as small member stateness . At the same time Finland has entered an era of post-consensus in national foreign and security policy.

A key theoretical argument in the background of the study is that collective understandings attached to European policies, when not resonating well with domestic understandings, cause adaptation pressures on domestic-level processes and may lead to changes in the way interests and identities are constructed. This means that Europeanization is principally seen as identity reconstruction. Consequently, the theoretical framework of the study builds on the Europeanization research literature and constructivist IR theory on state identity. Foreign and security policy is defined as the practice in which state identity is reproduced, and the key foreign and security policy concepts are seen as the vehicles of identity production. It is concluded that for Finland, participation in the EU s foreign, security and defence policies represents not only a tool for responding to the changes in the international security environment but also a new means of self-identification.

Concerning the Finnish attempts of projecting national interests on the European security policy agenda, it is concluded that they mainly relate to the compatibility of the potential development of EU s defence dimension with the Finnish military non-alignment. Although neutrality was cast aside in the official security policy when Finland joined the EU, the analysis shows that its impact has continued in the domestic political debate and in the mind-set of the decision-makers.

The primary research material includes official Finnish foreign and security policy documentation and the related parliamentary debates from 1994 to 2007. This study serves also as a comprehensive empirical overview on Finland s reactions and contributions to the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy.

 

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