Soft Security and the Presidency: Swedish Policy towards the Northern Dimension

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The Council Presidency offered Sweden a possibility to contribute not only
to a number of important issue areas but also to what we may call the ‘foreign
policy’ side of the EU.A general question was, of course, what sort of
impact Sweden could make in this field, given its background as a nonaligned
and small state — a country generally regarded as hesitant in terms
of supranational policy-making, but with a history of active national foreign
policy. In the work programme of the Swedish Presidency, the enlargement
process stood out as the most important foreign policy objective (see Miles
in this symposium). Indeed, enlargement was the most important issue
overall and was accorded a high profile throughout the Presidency period,
not least in the Göteborg context.
As regards other aspects of EU external relations, Russia and the
Northern Dimension (ND) areas were singled out as significant areas of
interest. The main reason for this was security-related — the work programme
stated that cooperation between the EU and Russia was ‘of
fundamental significance for the security and development of Europe’
(Cabinet Office, 2000: 23). The ND may be interpreted in similar terms —
in seeking to diminish the boundary between the ‘inside’ and the ‘outside’
of the Union by engaging Russia in closer cooperation.This brief commentary
outlines the main outcomes of the Swedish Presidency as regards the
Russian and ND spheres, and then relates these developments to principal
issues such as the room for presidential influence and the institutional
division of labour (covered by Elgström).


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Political Science


  • Internationell politik, Politik i Europa
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-218
JournalCooperation and Conflict
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Publication categoryResearch