Browsing by Subject "European integration"

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  • van Bruggen, Merijn Adriaan (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    In the past decades, sanctions have become a vital part of the European Union’s (EU) Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). To better understand decision-making within the CFSP, this work focuses on how the EU sanctions against Russia are upheld. It does so through the lens of the Netherlands and Finland, two small countries in the EU. The study concentrates on the way small countries participate in sanctions regimes, which is important due to the required unanimity for upholding sanctions. Both domestic dynamics for participating in sanctions as well as attitudes towards European cooperation are taken into account. By conducting a Qualitative Content Analysis (QCA) on parliamentary debates in Finland and the Netherlands from 2016, the study compares the interests and focus of national politicians when sanctions are under discussion. The material consists of approximately 170 units of coding per country, which originate from around 15 debates throughout the year. The results offer new insight into some of the factors affecting decision-making of small states in sanctions. The data shows that the Netherlands has a stricter stance towards upholding sanctions on Russia, whereas Finnish politicians highlight the impact of sanctions on Finland. In general, both the Netherlands and Finland are in favour of upholding sanctions, but strongly differ domestically in the way they go about the sanctions. In conclusion, this study finds that small EU countries present themselves as strongly supporting EU unity when sanctions are in place. Nevertheless, these countries differ significantly in domestic preferences, meaning that they participate in sanctions regimes through different means.
  • Juusola, Anni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    To mitigate the economic and social damages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Council agreed to adopt a recovery plan in July 2020. Before the recovery plan could be implemented, every member state had to ratify the European Council’s decision. However, when the recovery plan was associated with the deeply politicized issue of European integration, this ratification procedure threatened to become difficult. This thesis investigates a decisive plenary debate of the Parliament of Finland, which preceded the ratification of the European Council’s decision in May 2021. The thesis studies how European integration became a topic of discussion in this particular plenary debate. More specifically, the thesis aims to answer how and by which political parties the recovery plan was framed as an integration-related issue. Theoretically, the thesis places itself on the field of political communication. The theoretical framework of the thesis is based on Robert M. Entman’s definition of framing, which also guides the method of the thesis, namely qualitative frame analysis. Framing affects how most people perceive political issues, i.e. political parties use it as a political tool to promote particular interpretations of matters. The research material consists of 52 legislative speeches by Finnish representatives held in the plenary debate. The analysis found one dominant frame and five sub-frames that establish a link between the recovery plan and European integration. The frames present the recovery plan as an integration-related issue by highlighting Eurosceptic, economic, and constitutional perspectives. In the plenary debate, the frames were mostly employed by the Finns Party, which is known for its anti-integration stance. In addition, the Centre Party and the National Coalition Party used some of the frames. Based on the analysis, it is concluded that these three parties introduced the topic of European integration into the debate. The findings indicate that the issue of European integration is politicized also in Finnish politics. They accord with earlier evidence that the established parties seem to avoid debates on European integration, whereas the Finns Party takes advantage of the politicization of the integration process. By framing the recovery plan as an integration-related matter, the Finns Party was able to own the issue and promote its political agenda. If the established parties remain silent on integration-related matters, debates on European integration threaten to become one-sided. This is problematic both from the perspective of voters and the established parties whose silence may be detrimental to their political success.
  • Eigensperger, Nina Katarina (2001)
    The research object is Swiss public opinion on European integration, which is weighty in Switzerland due to one of the centrepieces of its political system: direct democracy. If the Swiss Federal Government's wants to adhere to collective security organisations or supranational communities, a mandatory referendum has to be held. The acceptance of such international treaties requires a double majority: a majority of the citizens and of the cantons. Until the 1990s Switzerland's foreign policy used to be characterised by encapsulation and conscious political abstinence. Therefore the number of foreign policy related plebiscites was nearly non-existent. Yet, since the Swiss Federal Government's strategic objective regarding its European integration policy became joining the European Union as a full member, public opinion is probably more important than ever before. The main objective of this research is to identify – within the given theoretical framework – the core factors that determine Swiss public opinion on Switzerland's potential membership in the European Union. The results of previous research have been rather controversial as to the kind of factors that are decisive: certain researchers assert that it is the anticipated economic impact of the market liberalisation on the voters' personal welfare that account for their voting behaviour, whereas others claim that socio-cultural factors (such as identity) determine Swiss citizens' voting decision. This study is a combination of descriptive and explanatory research. The principal research method is regression analysis as to account for the main objective of identifying the core factors. Cross tabulations were used for descriptive purposes. The results obtained from the empirical data – Swiss Eurobarometer 1999 – indicated that all three hypotheses proved to be robust when tested individually. Yet when all potentially decisive factors were examined simultaneously in one model, only three factors were clearly more important than the rest: federalism as a part of Swiss national identity and party identification with two of the four governmental parties (Social Democratic Party or Swiss People's Party). Hence, within the given framework, socio-cultural factors are considered to be more decisive than economic factors in determining Swiss citizens' support for membership in the European Union.
  • Seppälä, Jussi (2004)
    This licentiate thesis analyses the first Finnish intergovernmental conference (IGC), resulting in the Treaty of Amsterdam. The study covers Finnish policy regarding the development of the common foreign and security policy (CFSP), and in particular the development of the Union as a foreign and security political actor. The theoretical assumption of the study is that the two basic elements of the Union, federalism and intergovernmentalism, offer a relevant point of departure for studying this question. This assumption is deemed to be valid both in general as well as in the empirical case study of Finnish policy. On the one hand, the direction of foreign policy and defence largely defines the development of the Union from the point of view of federalism and intergovernmentalism. On the other hand, foreign policy and defence are the core questions that test the willingness of countries to surrender their sovereignty to the EU, thereby defining the member states' orientation towards federalism and intergovernmentalism. The main empirical goal of the study was to ascertain how federal or intergovernmental the Finnish policy was, particularly in developing the CFSP. Using a four-scale classification (strictly intergovernmental, closer to intergovernmental, closer to federal, and purely federal) of Finnish general EU goals, general CFSP goals and IGC goals, clear results are found. Finnish policy shifted markedly from positions closer to intergovernmentalism to closer to federal, in some respects even further towards federalism. Firstly, concerning qualified majority voting, the dominance of the intergovernmental unanimity principle ceased to be the Finnish objective, but decisions by majority were seen as a necessity instead. Even more importantly, the acceptance of a potential defence core during 1996 indicated a new approach, which saw the interests of Finland as largely identical to those of a federalizing Union. It is shown that the role of Prime Minister Lipponen was pivotal in this development. The main empirical sources have been official public documents and an extensive press material. This manuscript should also be read as the first draft of a doctoral thesis covering Finnish CFSP policy more extensively towards the present day.
  • Frerichs, Sabine (Hart publishing, 2014)
  • Losada, Fernando (2023)
    Stefan Eich’s The Currency of Politics reconstructs and contextualizes the monetary understanding of some of the most renowned political thinkers in history. By contextualizing each author’s conceptualization (subjective perception) against their respective contemporary monetary frameworks (objective institutional dimension), Eich elaborates a narrative composed of cumulative layers leading to a double conclusion: that money is political at its core, and that current policies are actively de-politicizing money. These relevant findings are the point of departure of a reflection on the role that law, and constitutional theory in particular, must play in the configuration of Europe’s common currency to overcome some of the most acute difficulties the process of integration is currently experiencing. If the triad law, money and public discourse is supposed to articulate social life in the polity, European monetary integration has neutralized them by neglecting the relevance of one of their key features: civic reciprocity. Reactivating the three mechanisms of social integration requires an exercise of constitutional imagination able to integrate interdisciplinary knowledge about money within an institutional framework able to prevent the concentration of unlimited power in unaccountable institutions and to promote and fully exploit the democratic potential of money.