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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: Charly Salonius-Pasternak
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Defence cooperation between Finland and Sweden has a history that far predates the most recent ‘reignition’ of 2014, and is now deeper than at any time in the past. In 2020, Sweden and Finland can contribute to each other’s defence in an integrated and planned fashion; but any plans are best viewed as being supplementary to national preparations. While the security interests of Finland and Sweden have overlapped historically, cooperation has often been limited due to a combination of domestic drivers and foreign pressures, as well as the nature of the international security system. Yet these same variables are currently permitting even deeper cooperation. Four future paths of cooperation are identifiable, with the most likely being a continuation of bilateral deepening, with added trilateral cooperation with Norway and the United States.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland, Sweden, Scandinavia
  • Author: Harri Mikkola
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The end of the Cold War meant that the Arctic region lost most of its geostrategic relevance. However, due to growing great power competition, the Arctic is back on the geopolitical map. Hard security dynamics in the region are defined by two key elements: the importance of conventional long-range missiles and nuclear weapons for Russia, and the importance of the North Atlantic sea line of communication for European defence. Russia has revitalized its Cold War-era bastion strategy, which aims to ensure the survival of its strategic ballistic missile submarines. In a crisis scenario, this strategy could pose serious challenges to the Nordic countries as well. Five Arctic states are members of NATO and the Alliance’s collective defence is operational in the Arctic. Even if the Arctic is still not a focus area for NATO, the North Atlantic maritime domain is increasingly back on the agenda. Given the divergent strategic interests and lack of common ground between Russia and other Arctic states on grand strategic issues, the Arctic will not be losing its geostrategic importance anytime soon.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Regional Cooperation, Military Strategy, Maritime
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Canada, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, Arctic
  • Author: Tuomas Iso-Markku, Juha Jokela
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Finnish presidency of the Council of the EU faces a sensitive political climate, marked by divisions between the member states. However, some of the EU’s recent crises have also given the Union a renewed sense of purpose: striking the right balance between ambition and realism will therefore be a key challenge for Finland. During its presidency, Finland will have little legislative work, but can help in setting the EU’s priorities for the next five years, advancing the negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework and managing the Brexit process. The rise of the Eurosceptic Finns Party in the late 2000s had a crucial impact on Finland’s EU policy. This was reflected in harder and, at times, obstructive positions on EU issues. However, recently a new consensus on EU affairs seems to have emerged among the other parties. Antti Rinne’s new government is striving for a stronger EU with a presidency programme that resonates with the strategic agenda of the European Council, but also corresponds with the more limited role of post-Lisbon Treaty presidencies.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, European Union, Finance, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland
  • Author: Agne Cepinsktye
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Finland and Norway are planning to build the Arctic Railway, stretching from Rovaniemi to Kirkenes through the homeland of the indigenous Sámi people. The state governments have acknowledged their duty to consult with the Sámi, whose culture and livelihoods the railway would affect, but the Sámi have dismissed the consultation efforts thus far as inadequate and have denounced the project. The dispute has exposed the ambiguity of the state’s duty to consult with indigenous peoples: international law firmly establishes the duty but does not prescribe specific rules for carrying it out. In Norway, the domestic regulatory framework concerning the consultation duty is more evolved and the practice of implementation is more consistent than in Finland, but both states still lack an effective legal incorporation of the duty. Despite the ambiguity, the scope of the consultation duty is determined by its purpose: creating favourable conditions to reduce power disparity between the state and indigenous peoples in order to reach an agreement that reconciles national interests with indigenous rights.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Regional Cooperation, Indigenous, Transportation, Railways
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland, Norway, Arctic
  • Author: Kaisa Korhonen, Juha Jokela
  • Publication Date: 05-2012
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The Finnish parliamentary elections in spring 2011 were marked by a landslide victory for the Eurosceptic (True) Finns Party. Such an unprecedented upswing for anti-integrationist voices was expected to reshape Finland's EU policy. The Finns Party did not join the government, however, and the party has mainly influenced Finnish EU policymaking while in opposition, and indirectly through public opinion-building. While outright anti-integrationist rhetoric remains on the margins of national public debate, more critical approaches to EU politics have become increasingly pronounced. Political parties have, to varying degrees, adapted their rhetoric and policies to the changing environment. Importantly, the broad consensus on EU affairs in Finland has broken down, at least temporarily. The EU has featured high on the agendas of the recent election campaigns as well as in opposition politics. This has affected Finland's official position too. It has moved in a more cautious and self-contained direction, although the country remains a pro-integrationist member state.
  • Topic: Democratization, International Trade and Finance, Political Economy, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe, Finland
  • 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