The Baltic Region

2017 Vol. 9 № 1

Political science

Coalition Within a Coalition: The Baltics in the European Union

Abstract

This article gives an overview of small power problem focusing on the behav­iour of small power states within coalitions and their proneness to free riding. To pursue an independent agenda and increase their significance within large associa­tions, the authors argue, small powers tend to create ‘coalitions within coalitions’, essentially acting as free riders and transferring costs and political responsibility for decision-making to larger players. Such an asymmetric strategy makes it possi­ble for small powers to advance their interests within alliances and save resources. The authors test this hypothesis on the behaviour of the Baltics in the European Union. It is demonstrated that Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia have created a stable small coalition within the EU and actively form ad hoc alliances with the leading states to push union-level decisions, as it was the case with settling the migrant issue. In other areas, these states tend to benefit from the free rider behaviour.

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Security in the Baltic region as a Projection of Global Confrontation between Russia and the USA

Abstract

This article considers the problem of security in the Baltic region, namely, that of Poland and the Baltics. The authors rely on the works of Karl Deutsch, Emanuel Adler, on Michael Barnett’s theory of security communities and Barry Buzan’s re­gional security complex theory, address Steven Mann’s controlled chaos theory and the concept of Intermarium. Their starting assumption is that the situation in the Baltic depends largely on the politics of external powers — Russia and the United States, — being a projection of their global geopolitical confrontation. The US strategy thus becomes a major part of the equation. The authors believe that since the end of the second Iraq war the American elite has been divided along ideological lines into adherents of the chaos theory and traditionalists thinking in terms of sharing control with the other centres of global power. The US strategy in the Baltic region does not seek an open military conflict with Russia. On the contrary, the US strives to preserve the current level of confrontation between Russia and the EU, convincing the latter of the reality of the Russian threat. Countries that traditionally support confrontation with Russia, Poland and the Bal­tics, serve as a conduit for Washington strategy in Europe and a cordon sanitaire. This function is implemented through the Intermarium project meant to separate Russia from the EU. The four countries are rather active in this area, striving to attain the status of the US principal partners in the region and Europe in general. To retaliate, Moscow does everything within its power to ‘separate’ Brussels from Washington, yet the US influence is still very strong in Europe.

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Poland’s Foreign Policy Mechanisms: Legal Framework and Policy Analysis

Abstract

This article describes the features of Poland’s foreign policy. Special attention is paid to the foreign policy mandate of the president, government, and minister of foreign affairs and the procedure for devising Poland’s foreign policy strategy. An­other focus is the contribution of local government to Poland’s foreign policy. The author describes the features of Poland’s foreign policy mechanism and emphasises its potential instability associated with a multi-tier decision-making pro­cedure and blurred boundaries between foreign policy mandates conferred by the Constitution upon the government and president. The latter creates a potential for institutional conflict. It is stressed that the efficiency of Poland’s foreign policy mechanism is strongly affected by the relations between the government and the president and requires consensus on all major foreign policy issues. The author em­phasises the effect of the domestic policy situation on Polish foreign policy mecha­nism and, as a result, the Republic’s stance in the international arena.

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Economics

Economic Development of the Baltic and Nordic Countries: Characteristics of Еconomic Models

Abstract

Economic development models are crucial for understanding historical pro­gress of countries and in forecasting their future economic prospects. The Nordic countries are connected with the Baltics through culture, history, politics, and econ­omy. These states have a common interest of ensuring stability, security, and welfare in the Baltic region. This article strives to answer the question as to why the Nordic model of economic development is acclaimed internationally for the effective use of national and external resources, which is not the case in the Baltics. The Nordic and Baltic national models demonstrate that similar financial and economic performance does not translate into similar economic development re­sults. The article tracks ten years of economic performance of the Nordic and Baltic countries and analyses economic models from the perspective of new institutional­ism. The authors offer a definition of a ‘successful economic development model’.

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Demography

Population Ageing as a Sociodemographic Problem in the Baltic Region

Abstract

Population ageing is a major problem of European development in the 21st cen­tury. Rapid population ageing in most developed countries will continue to drive the dependency ratio up. This research aims to forecast dependency ratio in the Baltic region until the end of the century. A more detailed population analysis and forecast is provided for the case of the Baltic States — Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The authors use Bayesian probabilistic predictions based on data from the Pop­ulation Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Principle research methods include multi-factor simulation modelling; some find­ings are presented on schematic maps. The study shows that by the end of the century the highest dependency ratio in the Baltic region will be observed in Poland, while Finland, Estonia, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden will also face significant challenges. The authors put forward demographic policy recommendations for those Baltic region states that will reach the highest dependency ratio by the second half of the 21st century.

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Current Geodemographic Problems in the European Union and Migration Crisis of the 2010s

Abstract

This article demonstrates the effect of the 2010s migration crisis has had on the demographic development of the European Union. Employing statistics and map­ping, the study argues that the demographic development of EU states is not affected by either socioeconomic performance or religious, linguistic, and cultural charac­teristics. Migration inflow differs significantly by country and EU region. The au­thors analyse major irregular migration routes and show that their use cannot be always explained by using traditional demographic approaches. There is also a dif­ference in the proportion of migrants by country, although settlement systems are very similar. Even with decades spent in the destination country, the Muslim popula­tion remains poorly integrated into the local community and its effect on the latter is insignificant (Turks in Germany). The demographic mosaic of the European Union is becoming increasingly fragmented, which makes any national level demographic forecasts inconsequential. However, community-level forecasts are possible and necessary. All this creates a need for geodemographic research.

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Economic geography

Tourism in Border Regions: Theoretical Aspects of a Geographical Study

Abstract

This article considers theoretical aspects of tourism studies and development in border regions. The work aims to identify key areas of geographical studies into tourism in border regions. Its research significance lies in a review of Russian and international literature on border territory and the role of tourism in socioeconomic development. In terms of methodology, it is an analytical work. The authors stress a need for a systemic approach to analysing tourism in border areas and describe the particularities of tourism on such territories. It is stressed that institutional barriers have become a major obstacle to the development of transboundary tourism regions. Borders are classed depending on the border regime and strictness of tourist entry procedures. Special attention is paid to the attractiveness of state border areas. The authors identify external and internal conditions affecting tourism development and functioning in border areas. The practical significance of the study lies in the possi­bility of using its findings in developing tourism development programmes for bor­der territories in contemporary Russia.

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Land Use Policy and Land Management in Estonia

Abstract

This article studies the effect of land reform on the development of current land policy and land management efficiency. The authors present a review of materials focusing on the new land policy, land management and land use system at a new stage of Estonian development. This policy has led to the adoption of a new reform aimed at the municipalisation, privatisation, and denationalisation of real estate. The article describes mechanisms of the Romano-Germanic land management model, which has replaced the Soviet model in Estonia. It is shown that the model’s introduction has contributed to the development of the Republic’s land market and increased land use efficiency, in particular, in agriculture. There are positive trends towards land market development and an increase in production and investment in land use. Estonian land resources are a reliable strategic investment.

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