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The Nordic Baltic Region and European Integration: Economic, Political and Security Concerns

H. Þ. Hilmarsson
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H. Þ. Hilmarsson: School of Business and Science, University of Akureyri, Iceland

Journal of Applied Management and Investments, 2019, vol. 8, issue 3, 147-158

Abstract: The Nordic Baltic region is now closely interlinked via trade, investment, mobility of people, and financial sector. All the eight countries in this group have pursued some form of integration with the European Union (EU). Six of them are EU member states, four of them are members of the euro area, and all of them are within the European Economic Area (EEA) and all are Schengen member states. But can these small countries as a group cooperate more closely and perhaps exercise more collective authority in Europe? The Nordic countries and the Baltic States cooperate in the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Bank and the IMF, and six of them are among European NATO member states. But when it comes to European integration the lack of common approach complicates their cooperation. Within this group there are internal divisions between the hardcore EU and euro area member states (the Baltics and Finland), EU members (Denmark and Sweden) and EU outsiders (Iceland and Norway). Common pathways for the future cooperation in Europe may be hard to find. Also, the Nordics are high income welfare states, but the Baltics are neoliberal with minimal governments and low-tax regimes. Additionally, external forces continue to challenge the Nordic Baltic region, including revanchist Russian policies threatening Baltic sovereignty, unpredictable US policies towards NATO as well as reduced military presence in Europe, and rather dismal EU and euro area post crisis economic performance. All point to a future of uncertainty including both economic and security risks.

Keywords: European integration; small states; regional cooperation; Nordic countries; Baltic States (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F15 F53 O52 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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Handle: RePEc:ods:journl:v:8:y:2019:i:3:p:147-158