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  • Author: Saila Heinikoski
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Free movement within the Schengen Area has been challenged in recent years by national measures: from internal border checks after the ‘migration crisis’ to the closure of borders in the Covid-19 crisis. This is the first time in the history of Schengen that member states have categorically refused entry to other EU citizens who are not registered residents or cross-border workers. Seventeen Schengen countries have submitted a notification on reintroducing internal border control due to Covid-19: Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Switzerland. The use of Schengen provisions was creative: 12 states justified their internal border controls as a case requiring immediate action (Art. 28), France and Denmark expanded their already existing internal border controls (Art. 25), Finland appealed to the ‘foreseeable event’ clause (Art. 25), and Slovakia and Poland introduced ‘healthcare-police measures’ (Art. 23) before launching border controls (Art. 28). The crisis illustrates the need to reform Schengen in order to maintain the legitimacy of commonly agreed rules.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, European Union, Public Health, Schengen, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland, Norway, France, Poland, Lithuania, Germany, Estonia, Belgium, Denmark, Hungary, Spain, Switzerland, Portugal, Iceland, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia
  • Author: Tuomas Iso-Markku, Niklas Helwig
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In view of the pervasiveness of the Covid-19 crisis, Germany has rightly announced that its presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2020 will be a ‘Corona presidency’. However, it will also have to address other immediate issues as well as further longer-term priorities of the EU. The initial phase of the pandemic was characterised by largely uncoordinated member state action. The issues and instruments now on the table, particularly concerning economic recovery, are closer to the core of the EU’s authority, underlining the importance of a successful presidency. Somewhat surprisingly, the Covid crisis has moulded European politics in a way that may facilitate the work of the German presidency. The positions of the member states appear less fixed, whereas the German government itself has more domestic leeway than before the crisis. The political situation in the EU and in Germany remains highly volatile and the presidency’s success depends on factors that are partly out of Berlin’s control: the development of the pandemic, the depth of the economic slump and the public perception of the EU’s and Germany’s crisis management measures.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, European Union, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Tuomas Forsberg
  • Publication Date: 01-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Finland is often seen as a country whose view of Germany has traditionally been more positive than that of the average of the European countries. According to an opinion poll that was conducted in 1996, 42 % of the Finns have a positive view, 47 % a neutral and only 6 % a negative view of Germany and Germans. This positive attitude is not only a result of the large amount of cultural and trade contacts or societal similarities, shared Lutheran religion and German roots of Finnish political thinking but derives also from the historical experience that Germany has been willing to help Finland in bad times. Although this view is not necessarily correct when judged against the historical record and although it is not unanimously shared by all Finns, it provides the necessary starting point when assessing Finland's view of Germany in today's Europe.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland, Germany