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Re-assessing Finland’s integration policy: the end of domestic consensus?

Hanna Ojanen, Tapio Raunio

Pragmatism and adaptability are the leading qualities of Finlands’s European policy, behavioural traits obviously influenced by Cold War experiences. According to the political elite, national interests can be best pursued through active and constructive participation in EU decision-making. Finnish integration policy stands thus in quite striking contrast to the EU policies of Denmark and Sweden (and of course Norway and Iceland), both of which have been far less supportive of further integration. Re-assessing this traditional image of Finland, we argue that beneath the veil of domestic consensus are strong disagreements regarding Europe. Recent euro crisis has certainly shaken the foundations of this pro-integrationist approach, bringing to the surface the internal divisions that exist among both political parties and the public over Europe. Moreover, the current war in Ukraine has led to questions about Finland’s foreign and security policy, especially in relation to Russia and to what extent Finnish external relations are tied to European level decisions. The domestic debates have clearly revealed the tensions between those favouring a more supranational EU and those more in line with a confederal vision of Europe.

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