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Carmen Gebhard, Networks and Clusters in:

Carmen Gebhard

Unravelling the Baltic Sea Conundrum, page 84 - 86

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
84 and democratic countries.” 278 This tendency can be observed in the Swedish foreign policy discourse whenever it comes to the question of strategic interests and power related bargaining on the international or global scene. This aspect is also closely related to what could be seen as the most ironic similarity between Sweden and Finland. Even though in recent years they have made very different politico-strategic choices, some kind of strong and intrinsic belief that within the EU and Europe they are politically ‘different’, if not superior to the average res, is common to both of them.279 G. Councils, Associations, Unions, Leagues There is a great bulk of studies dealing with the topic of ‘New’ Baltic Sea Regionalism in various different contexts. Scholars from both inside and outside the region have found very flowery descriptions for this phenomenon, pointing at the “myriads”280 of cooperative undertakings that have “mushroomed”281 “in the name of the Baltic world”.282 To various extents, they have highlighted the pivotal role of identity or the newly emerging “we-feeling”, and tried to find explanations for the inherent dynamics of the regional activism around the Baltic Sea. I. Networks and Clusters Given the complexity and amount of cooperative structures in the BSR, it is difficult to overlook the variety of actors and contents that they build upon. Many exponents in this tight network have very similar, if not identical, working agendas. When looking at the objectives of the various associations and cooperative ventures it seems as if there was a high potential of institutional and functional overlap. However, they differ in their way of approaching a certain issue, and most often, they deploy different means for similar objectives. Most importantly, they operate on diverse levels of action and thus, involve different types of actors. This is what Hubel and Gänzle called “positive overlap”. i.e. constructive division of labour in both functional and organisational terms instead of mere duplication of efforts and working structures.283 278 ØSTERGÅRD Uffe: The Nordic Countries in the Baltic Region. In: JOENNIEMI Pertti (ed.): Neo- Nationalism or Regionality: The Restructuring of Political Space around the Baltic Rim. Stockholm 1997, pp. 26-53 here p. 28. 279 For an extensive comparison between Sweden an Finland, including this aspect, see chapter “Excursus: Mare Europaeum – Whose Mare Nostrum?”, p. 111-. 280 VON SYDOW Emily: Den Baltiska dimensionen. Stockholms geopolitiska roll i EU. In: EHRLING Guy (ed.): Stockholm international. En antologi om Stockholm i en regionaliserad och globaliserad värld. Stockholm 2000, pp. 23-36, here 23. Von Sydow defined the proliferation of regionalist undertakings in the BSR as svindlande (Swed. vertigious) and added the humorous comment that sometimes it appears as if not even the ministers responsible for these regional agendas “were in the know” of what they are all about. See ibd. 26. 281 SCOTT James Wesley: Cross-border Governance in the Baltic Sea Region. In: ANDERSON James/O’DOWD Liam/WILSON Thomas M. (eds): New Borders for a Changing Europe. Crossborder Cooperation and Governance. London 2002, pp. 135-153, here p. 135. 282 LEHTI Marko: Competing or Complementary Images. The North and the Baltic World from the Historical Perspective. In: HAUKKALA Hiski (ed.): Dynamic Aspects of the Northern Dimension. Turku 1999, pp. 1-28, here p. 23. 283 See HUBEL Helmut/GÄNZLE Stefan: The Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) as a Sub- Regional Organisation for ‘soft security risk management’ in the North-East of Europe. Report to the Presidency of the CBSS, 18 May 2001, p. 18. 85 Some of the associations in the BSR have built up formal or informal strategic partnerships and link together in organisational clusters. The two major coordinating hubs that stand at the centre of the two most important clusters are the CBSS for the regional level, and the UBC for the sub-regional level. In its function as an umbrella organisation, the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) tries to pool and link the various associations in the BSR in various different ways. It has launched coordination meetings to bring the heads of regional associations together as well as an Internet Portal to provide a central point of reference for the distribution of information and the promotion of the BSR working agenda to a broad audience. Most importantly, it has established a network of strategic partners, aiming to provide a structured organisation, and thus, to enhance coordination and harmonisation. It links together the BDF, the BCCA, the BSSSC, the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference, the Baltic Sea Forum (BSF) – Pro Baltica, the Baltic Sea NGO Forum, the Baltic Sea Trade Union Network (BASTUN), HELCOM, Baltic 21, VASAB 2010, the UBC, and CPMR-BSC. Together they officially refer to themselves as the “Baltic Sea Association” (BSA). In the subregional context, the Union of the Baltic Cities (UBC) plays a similar role. On the initiative of A. Engström, then President of the UBC, in October 1997, the leaders of the major sub-regional BSR associations decided to establish closer ties of cooperation and coordination between the different formations. Besides the UBC, the organisations clustering in this context are the BSSSC, CPMR–BSC, BDF, B7 Islands, and the Baltic Sea Tourism Commission (BTC).284 Another virtual network that links formations on similar levels of action and with similar institutional characteristics and a similar degree of formalisation can be found between the three major scale councils in the Northern European sphere: The CBSS, the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC) and the Arctic Council (AC). Reut called the group of three “the sub-regional engines of Northern Europe.”285 The CBSS, the BEAC and the AC are very similar institutional constructs that cover a wider geographical area. They have partially intersecting, albeit not clashing catchment areas. The overlapping membership patterns with the AC, for instance, including all five Nordic states and Russia, do not lead to conflicts of interest. These regional bodies promote common values, harmonisation of regulatory frameworks and concerted operative action. Another case in point for an organisational cluster in the BSR is the close cooperative interrelation between the Nordic and Baltic Council of Ministers as well as between the Nordic Council and the Baltic Assembly. Their cooperative relationship and their modes of interaction will be subject to closer investigation in one of the following section of this study.286 284 See UBC Bulletin, issue 3/1997, p. 2. Official UBC website www.ubc.net [30 November 2007]. 285 REUT Oleg: Asymmetry of and in Dimensionalism. In: North Meets North Proceedings of the 1st Northern Research Forum. Akureyri and Bessastaðir, 4-6 November 2000, pp. 174-178, here p. 174. 286 See chapter “Nordic-Baltic Co-operation”, p. 72-. 86 II. Patterns of Cooperation: Sorting out the Mess Despite the proliferation of studies on Baltic Sea regionalism, there still is a clear lack of contributions that would attempt to enumerate and interpret the wide array of regionalist formations, coalitions, projects and initiatives in detail.287 While it would definitely go beyond the scope of this study to trace back the development process of each cooperative formation that emerged in the BSR after the end of the Cold War, it seems useful to at least give an overview to illustrate the organisational and political diversity at hand and to structure the array of organisations present in the region. 288 policy fields and working agenda Name Y ea r of E st ab lis hm en t G ov er na nc e m od el T yp e of a ct or s O rg an is in g pr in ci pl e In st it ut io na lis at io n E nv ir on m en t B us in es s T ec hn ol og y A rt a nd C ul tu re Sp at ia l P la nn in g D eb or de ri ng R es ea rc h – A ca de m ia T ou ri sm M ar it im e is su es H is to ry t oo l In cl us iv e B al ti cn es s L in ka ge t o E U N on -E U m em be rs V is io n or S tr at eg y ACMBS 91 TNA NO SC M - - - + - - + + - - - NL TB S Ars Baltica 91 TNW NO SC L - - - + - - - - - - + NL TB S Baltic 21 96 EPJ all SC L + + + - + - + + + - - FL TB S BaltMet 02 TNW SS LP L - + + - - + + + - - + FL TB V BCF 94 TNW NO LP L - + - - - - - - - - - IL TB S BDF 98 TNW all LP L - + - - - - + - - - + NL TB S BEIDS 98 EPJ NO SC ? + - - - + + - - + - - FL TB S BIF 94 ?289 all LP H + + + + + + + + + - - NL TB ? BPO 91 TNA NO LP L - + + - - - - - + - - NL TB S BRN 99 TNA NO LP L - + + - - - - - - - - NL TB S BSC-CPMR 96 TNA SS IG M + + + - + - - - + - - FL TB290 S BSF 92 TNA all LP L - + + + - - - - - - - IL N S BSSSC 93 TNA SS IG H + - + + + + + + + - - FL TB S CBSS 92 IGA OS IG H + - + + + - + + + - + FL TB S CCB 90 TNA NO LP L + - - - - - - - + - - NL TB S Helcom 74 IRE OS IG M + - - - - - - - + - - FL TB S UBC 91 TNW SS IG M + + + + + + + + + + + FL TB V VASAB 92 IGA all IG M - + - - + + - - - - - IL TB S Table 9: Cooperative Structures and Formations in the BSR: Synoptic Overview 287 Deas provides one of the few positive exceptions in this regard. He tried to identify the structural nature of various micro- and meso-regionalist formations all across Europe, thus offering a valuable contribution to the conceptualisation of the type of regionalism prominent in the BSR. Some factors applied in this chapter were inspired by Deas’ considerations about the nature of “Unusual Regionalism”. See DEAS Iain: From a New Regionalism to an Unusual Regionalism? Mapping the emergence of non-standard regional configurations in Europe. Manchester 2004. See also KERN Christine/LÖFFELSEND Tina: Governance Beyond the Nation-State: Transnationalization and Europeanization of the Baltic Sea Region. In: Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB), Discussion Paper SPS IV 2004-105. Berlin 2004. 288 Cases where a certain category is not applicable are marked with an ‘?’. 289 The BIF could be categorised as a self-standing institution that was established on the basis of a Finnish domestic initiative. 290 Since 2004, most member states of the BSC-CPMR are also formal members of the EU (except Norway). The BSC does not include Russia.

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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.