Handbook on the Politics of Small States
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Handbook on the Politics of Small States

Edited by Godfrey Baldacchino and Anders Wivel

Comprehensive and timely, this Handbook identifies the key characteristics, challenges and opportunities involved in the politics of small states across the globe today. Acknowledging the historical legacies behind these states, the chapters unpack the costs and benefits of different political models for small states.
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Chapter 7: Small states in Europe

Anders Wivel


The post-1945 international order increased national security, prosperity and influence for small states in Europe. Today, small European states are challenged by changes in the transatlantic relationship, a new balance of power between Europe’s great powers, and a more fluent and complex institutional order in Europe. While sharing these challenges, small states in Europe differ significantly in terms of institutional affiliation, outlook on the role and function of Euro-Atlantic institutions, and economic capacity and competitiveness. They are now less likely to be stereotyped as inconsequential actors; but more likely to be excluded from decision-making processes unless they take a proactive stance towards new initiatives and developments. This benefits small states with strong human resource capabilities and effective bureaucracies able to take advantage of the various opportunities for influence-seeking in an institutionalized environment.

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