Regional Cooperation and Security in the Baltic Sea Rim

  • Renatas Norkus


My intention is to give you my views on how regional cooperation processes influence the state of security on the Baltic Sea Rim. Geographically, I will refer to the Northern European sub-region comprising the nine littoral states of the Baltic Sea — Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, and Sweden — but also Norway and Iceland in as much as they participate in existing regional institutions. I have structured my paper into three parts. I shall start with the issues present in the Baltic security agenda; I will then proceed with the question of how security concerns of the countries involved are reflected in the context of both regional and wider European cooperation; and I will offer some evaluation of advantages and limitations that Baltic Sea regional cooperation encompasses as a tool aimed at enhancing security in the region.


Security Policy Regional Cooperation Baltic State European Security Nordic Council 


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  1. 1.
    For overviews of Swedish and Finnish security policies see: Ulf Bjereld: Sweden’s Foreign Policy after the End of the Cold War. From Neutrality to Freedom of Action, in: Lutger Lindahl and Gunnar Sjostedt (eds.) (1995): New Thinking in International Relations. Swedish Perspectives (The Yearbook of the Swedish Institute of International Affairs 1994–1995), Stockholm, pp. 183–194;Google Scholar
  2. 1a.
    Max Jakobson (Autumm 1996:19): Finland. A Nation that Dwells Alone, in: The Washington Quarterly, pp. 37–58;Google Scholar
  3. 1b.
    also: Jyrki Kakonen: What Happened to Neutrality. Finnish and Swedish Foreign Policies after the Cold War, in: Kaisa Lahteenmaki (ed.) (1994): Dimensions of Conflict and Cooperation in the Baltic Sea Rim (Tampere Peace Research Institute, Research Report no. 58), pp. 143–160.Google Scholar
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  5. 3.
    For more detailed information see: Norwegian Atlantic Committee (1995): The Military Balance 1994–1995 in Northern Europe, Oslo.Google Scholar
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    Renatas Norkus: Preventing Conflict in the Baltic States. A Success Story That Will Hold?, in: Gianni Bonvicini, Ettore Greco, Reinhard Rummel and Bernard von Plate (eds.) (1998): Preventing Violent Conflict. Issues from the Baltic and the Caucasus, Baden-Baden (Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft), pp. 158–159.Google Scholar
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    In November 1992, Norway’s Thorvald Stoltenberg addressed the Nordic Council in Arhus, Denmark, for its first general foreign policy debate; in 1993 Sweden’s foreign affairs minister Margaretha af Ugglas did the same at the Nordic Council meeting in Aaland; in 1992 in Bornholm, the Nordic prime ministers issued common policies on questions like Russian military presence in the Baltic states. See Arne Olav Brundtland: Nordic Security at the End of the Cold War. Old Legacies and New Challenges, in: Don M. Snider and Arne Olav Brundtland (eds.) (1994): Nordic Baltic Security. An International Perspective (CSIS Report), Washington, p. 25.Google Scholar
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    The founding members of the CBSS were: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia, and Sweden, as well as the European Community; the 11th state to join was Iceland (in 1995).Google Scholar
  9. 7.
    In institutional terms the CBSS consists of a Council of Foreign Ministers which convenes once a year, a committee of high-ranking officials which meets at regular intervals, and specialist working groups in the various fields subject to cooperation.Google Scholar
  10. 8.
    In addition to the member states and seven sub-national regions, the Russian autonomous republic of Karelia and the transnational community of the Sami people take part in the Council; the USA, Poland, and Germany, as well as Canada, Japan, Britain, the Netherlands, and France are observers of the Council.Google Scholar
  11. 9.
    The new Helsinki convention of 1992 states that in cases where “a significantly adverse” trans-boundary impact is foreseen, the contracting parties are obliged to carry out consultations whenever required by supranational regulations applicable to the country of origin; for more on this and on the HELCOM see: Heidi Hautala: Eco-politics in the Shaping of the Baltic Sea Region, in: Goran Baecklund (ed.) (18–20 March 1994): Common Security in Northern Europe after the Cold War. The Baltic Sea Region and the Barents Sea Region (A report from the Olof Palme International Center), Seminar Stockholm, pp. 124–138.Google Scholar
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1998

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  • Renatas Norkus

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