The role of small states in the European union

Baldur Thorhallsson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


The research has analyzed whether the special characteristics of smaller states (strong corporatism and concentrated economic interests, according to Katzenstein) impact their approach in the decision-making process of the EU in the areas of the CAP and the Regional Policy. The empirical evidence established in this research supports the main hypothesis. The behavior of smaller states can be distinguished from the behavior of the larger states. Smaller states have a diaerent approach towards the Commission and their negotiating tactics diaer from the negotiating tactics of the larger states in the Council of Ministers, the European Council, and in bilateral negotiations with the Commission. This difference in behavior between the smaller and larger states can be explained by the small administrations, their characteristics and diaerent range of interests of the smaller states. Smaller states are forced to prioritize between the sectors of these two policy areas because of their small administrations. They do not have enough staa, expertise, or other resources to follow all negotiations. As a result, they become reactive in many sectors. However, they are proactive in their most important sectors. This is because they use the special characteristics of their administrations, such as informality, flexible decision-making, greater room of maneuver for their officials, guidelines given to negotiators rather than instructions, and the greater role of Permanent Representatives in domestic policy-making to ease their workload and to operate within the decision-making process of the CAP and the Regional Policy. They can also prioritize between sectors without damaging their interests because they have a narrower range of interests in those policy areas than the larger states.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSmall States in International Relations
PublisherUniversity of Washington Press
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780295802107
ISBN (Print)0295985240, 9780295985244
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2006 by University of Washington Press. All rights reserved.


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of small states in the European union'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this