Small States and Institutional Change: the Lesson of Brexit

johny-vino-Ydpw_o7RKio-unsplashTomáš Weiss, Head of Department of European Studies and Jean Monnet Chair in EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies at the Institute of International Studies, Charles University, Prague, argues that institutionalisation can empower small states. He notes their dependence on institutions can also make them vulnerable to institutional change, this is exemplified through the case of Czechia in the EU.

This blog is part of our project on ‘Small States in the EU’ with the Scottish Centre on European Relations. 

Small states belong to the wealthiest and most developed countries in the world. Even when we disregard oil-dependent autocracies, the top ranks will be taken by small states, such as Luxembourg, Singapore and Ireland. To some extent, this success is the result of well-designed policies and strategies. It can also be dependent on favourable external factors and luck, such as geographical location, language spoken in the country, prosperous neighbours. A crucial factor in small states’ success, however, is international institutions.

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Deeper Integration and Constructive Engagement as Vehicles for Finnish Influence? [Dr Juha Jokela]

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Dr Juha Jokela, Programme Director at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, outlines Finland’s status as a small state in the EU. He argues that although public support for the EU is extremely high, Finnish policymakers are concerned with the country’s influence, and are acting accordingly.

This blog is part of our project on ‘Small States in the EU’ with the Scottish Centre on European Relations. 

Twenty-five years after joining the EU, support for EU membership has climbed to a new record high in Finland. A deteriorating security policy environment, a more assertive Russia, and an increasingly competitive global milieu marked by great power competition, have again highlighted the key rationale of the country’s EU membership. Namely, the benefits of political and economic alignment with the EU, which is seen to provide a fast anchor for a relatively small state with an export-oriented economy and challenging geostrategic location.

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Brexit: can regulatory autonomy and level playing field be reconciled?

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In light of the recently published EU negotiating directives, Prof. Piet Eeckhout, Dean of UCL Laws and Academic Director of the UCL European Institute, argues that the EU’s demand for UK alignment with EU standards could prove problematic, as the EU itself expects the right to regulate and change its standards over time. Should the UK not be afforded this right?

There is a tension at the heart of the EU’s position on the Brexit trade negotiations.  The public debate is dominated by level playing field, i.e. the EU’s insistence that the UK should not lower environmental and social standards and that the UK should perhaps even dynamically align with EU standards.  The UK rejects that position, claiming that divergence is the whole point of Brexit.

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Small States in the Modern World: Opportunities and Vulnerabilities

sara-kurfess-Q3CO1ZOZ6ZI-unsplash.jpgMichael Keating, Professor of Scottish Politics at the University of Aberdeen, discusses the factors which make a small state successful, noting that such states have a stake in rules-based international regimes, but have pursued highly divergent social and economic models.

This blog is part of our project on ‘Small States in the EU’ with the Scottish Centre on European Relations. 

At one time, it was generally assumed that large states enjoyed advantages in the form of large internal markets, military capability and economies of scale. Now it is increasingly recognized that small states may do equally well or better in the modern world.

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Boris Johnson as a model of rational choice? Understanding the PM’s strategy on Brexit

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Filipa Figueira, Teaching Fellow at UCL SSEES, assesses Boris Johnson’s decisions as PM. She notes that his behaviour is perfectly understandable, and perhaps even predictable, if we adopt a rational choice perspective. As such, he is a useful case study for those seeking to study such behavioural models.

 
Boris Johnson’s recent election victory may have upset many, but on the bright side it could be useful to those of us who are interested in the economic and political theories of rational choice. Those theories aim to understand and forecast behavior, based on the assumption that individuals act in a rational way, as to maximise the benefits and minimise the costs of their actions. As such, as an extreme case of a self-centered political actor, Johnson could potentially become a useful case study of political behaviour.

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