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Carmen Gebhard, The ‘Baltic States’ in:

Carmen Gebhard

Unravelling the Baltic Sea Conundrum, page 26 - 27

Regionalism and European Integration Revisited

1. Edition 2008, ISBN print: 978-3-8329-4084-3, ISBN online: 978-3-8452-1239-5 https://doi.org/10.5771/9783845212395

Series: Nomos Universitätsschriften - Politik, vol. 164

Bibliographic information
26 II. ‘Nordic’ vs. ‘Northern’ The English expression ‘Nordic Countries’ (Swed. nordiska länder) is a neologism that was introduced in the second half of the 20th century. Normally, it is perceived to comprise the Nordic group of five, i.e. Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Iceland.36 Most of the time, the English terms ‘Nordic’ and ‘Northern’ are used interchangeably, even though ‘Nordic’ has a clearly political connotation whereas ‘northern’ barely indicates the geographical position, and denominates a much wider area. ‘Nordic’, and ‘Nordicness’ respectively, are closely affiliated with the so-called ‘Nordic Cooperation’, a largely informal system of cooperation established between the above-mentioned ‘Nordic Countries’ after the end of the Second World War. Outside Scandinavia, there is normally also no distinction drawn between ‘Nordic’ and ‘Scandinavian’, although in the narrow sense of the term, ‘Scandinavia’ can only be applied collectively to the respective group of states, whereas the notion of a ‘Nordic’ sphere, again, implies some sort of cultural, ideological and political inclusiveness based in the traditional system of ‘Nordic Cooperation’.37 The ‘North’ as a noun is commonly used for the designation of the ‘Nordic Countries’, stemming from the Scandinavian equivalent ‘Norden’ (Finn. Pohjola).38 For Scandinavians themselves, this notion is rather clear, but especially for non-Europeans it is all the more opaque and therefore also less common. After the end of the Cold War, the political and ideological standing of ‘Nordic Cooperation’ gradually changed in respect to both the outside perspective and the self-perception of the Nordic States. The newly gained independence of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and the newly arising tendencies of progressive regionalism in the BSR seemed to shift the focus of Northern European affairs southwards, challenging the traditional system of Nordic exclusiveness. To some extent the ‘Old Nordic North’ and the newly promoted ‘Northernness’ had become competing geopolitical concepts.39 III. The ‘Baltic States’ From the specific perspective of this study, it is important to differentiate the term ‘Baltic Sea States’, meaning the group of Baltic Sea littoral states, from the notion of ‘Baltic States’ (or also: ‘Balticum’), which is what Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are commonly referred to. The latter is a rather recent terminological invention that only emerged in the wake of the First World War. Before 1918, it was only used to 36 In fact, it is a somewhat problematic translation of the Swedish term nordisk, which is often used in other (e.g. cultural) contexts. See HOLT Kristoffer: Rapport. Stockholms andra internationella skandinavistsymposium. Hur Nordiskt är Baltikum? 21-22 augusti 2006. Stockholm 2006, p. 17. The Nordic group includes three autonomous territories: the Faroe Islands, Greenland (both DK) and Åland (FI). 37 The system of Nordic Cooperation will be further elaborated in chapter “Nordic Togetherness – the Changing Role of Nordic Cooperation”, p. 61-. 38 See The Nordic Council: The Swan Symbol and the Logotype Norden. Background information. Official Website of the Nordic Region www.norden.org [5 March 2008]. 39 See JOENNIEMI Pertti/LEHTI Marko: On the encounter between the Nordic and the northern. Torn Apart but Meeting Again? Copenhagen Peace Research Institute (COPRI): Working Paper, 11/2001, p. 5-6. This very central issue of Nordic self-definition in the light of New Baltic Sea Regionalism will be taken up at another point in this study. See chapter “Old North vs. New Regionalism. Visions Competing for the Same Space?”, p. 76-. 27 denominate the former Russian provinces of Estonia, Livonia and Courland.40 Today, the collective label of ‘Baltic States’ as the ‘Baltic Three’ is not always appreciated by the concerning states themselves as it does not comply with their specific historical consciousness and geopolitical self-identification.41 IV. Overview: The Geo-Political Terminology Used in this Study As so many terminologies are in use to structure the region and denominate certain parts of it, it seems important at this point, to clarify the terminology I am applying in the course of this study. Nordic Countries Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland Northern Europe European Russia, Northern Germany, Northern Poland, Scandinavia, Baltic States Scandinavia Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland Scandinavian Baltic Sweden, Denmark and Finland Baltic Sea States Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Finland Baltic Sea Region Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, European Russia, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, the German Länder of Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Schleswig-Holstein, Niedersachsen (Regierungsbezirk Lüneburg)42 Table 1: The Geo-Political Terminology Applied in this Study B. Northern Europe – Some General Characteristics and Features I. BSR Specificities and Sensitivities In the last two decades, the geopolitical situation in the Baltic Sea area has changed drastically. The most important break in recent BSR history was certainly the fall of the east-west divide in 1989/90 – or as Sander called it – the “fall of the Baltic Wall”, involving independence for the Baltic States, the reunification of Germany and the conclusion of a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and Russia.43 As from a geostrategic point of view, the specific importance of the BSR has been traditionally related to its unclear and therefore problematic Eastern delimitation.44 40 See MEDIJAINEN Eero: The Baltic Question in the Twentieth Century. Historiographic Aspects. In: AMELANG James S./BEER Siegfried (eds): Public Power in Europe. Studies in Historical Transformations. Pisa 2006, pp. 109-124, here p. 112. 41 See CAVE Andrew: Finding a Role in an Enlarged EU. In: Central Europe Review, Nr. 20. 22 May 2000. Online publication www.ce-review.org [26 November 2007]. See chapter “The Baltic States and Baltic Unity – Imposition or Expedient?”, p. 67-. 42 This geographical definition of the BSR is also employed in the framework of EU structural initiatives (e.g. INTERREG). 43 See SANDER Gordon: Off Centre. Baltic hands link across a troubled sea. In: Financial Times, 8 April 2000. 44 See DELLENBRANT Jan Åke: The Baltic Sea Co-operation. Visions and Realities. In: BALDERSHEIM Harald/STÅHLBERG Krister (eds): Nordic Region-Building in a European Perspective. Aldershot 1999, pp. 83-97, here p. 85.

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Zusammenfassung

Seit 1989 ist es im Ostseeraum zu einer explosionsartigen Entstehung einer Vielzahl von regionalen Initiativen und Zusammenschlüssen gekommen. Der Ostseeraum weist bis heute eine europaweit einzigartig hohe Konzentration an kooperativen regionalen Strukturen auf. Diese bilden gemeinsam ein enges Netzwerk von Vereinigungen, die unter dem Überbegriff der "Ostseezusammenarbeit’ interagieren.

Diese Studie analysiert die Hintergründe dieses regionalen Phänomens oder so genannten „Ostsee-Rätsels“ auf Basis eines Vergleichs zwischen den Regionalpolitiken zweier staatlicher Schlüsselakteure, Schweden und Finnland, wobei der europäische Integrationsprozess als übergeordneter Bezugsrahmen für die Untersuchung dient.