Recent developments in the European Union have created new opportunities and challenges for small member states, increasing the demand from policy-makers and diplomats for coherent and accessible analyses of the conditions and potential strategies of small states in the EU. Unfortunately, the academic literature on small states in the EU appears both diverse and fragmented: there is no agreement on how we should define a small state, what similarities we would expect to find in their foreign policies, or how they influence international relations. However, if we are to understand the challenges and possibilities currently faced by small EU member states, we need to systematise what we already know and to identify what we need to know. This article makes a modest contribution towards this goal by answering three simple questions: What is a small state in the European Union? How can we explain the behaviour of small EU member states? How do small states influence the European Union?
How are small EU Member States affected by the development of the European Union (EU) as a security actor? This article argues that the European integration project emerged as an almost ideal security organization for the region's small states after the cold war, but that subsequent development challenges important aspects of the security identity and interests of small EU Member States. Even though the EU continues as an attractive security organization for most small states in the region, they must now reconsider some of their most basic strategic choices in order to meet the challenges and maximize influence over future developments.
Danish post-Cold War security policy is typically portrayed as a transformation from an anti-militaristic and multilateralist member of a Nordic bloc in international relations promoting international solidarity and global peace into an activist proponent of a liberal world order to be defended by military means when necessary. Focusing on Danish peace policy, this article puts forward a contending analysis arguing that what appears as change entails a considerable amount of continuity. Now, as in the past, the Danish contribution to international peace reflects a combination of international demand and the ability and willingness of Danish policy-makers to meet this demand in accordance with their liberal-egalitarian values and pragmatic approach to international relations.
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