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

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Soft Security and the Presidency: Swedish Policy towards the Northern Dimension. / Bengtsson, Rikard.

In: Cooperation and Conflict, Vol. 37, No. 2, 2002, p. 212-218.

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Soft Security and the Presidency: Swedish Policy towards the Northern Dimension

AU - Bengtsson, Rikard

PY - 2002

Y1 - 2002

N2 - 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).

AB - 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).

KW - Internationell politik

KW - Politik i Europa

U2 - 10.1177/0010836702037002983

DO - 10.1177/0010836702037002983

M3 - Article

VL - 37

SP - 212

EP - 218

JO - Cooperation and Conflict

JF - Cooperation and Conflict

SN - 0010-8367

IS - 2

ER -