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Scientific article


Autonomy or integration? Small-state responses to a changing European security landscape


Is there a pattern in how small European states, inside and outside of the EU, adapt and adjust to EU foreign and security policy?

This article introduces a Forum in Global Affairs, discussing how small states are responding to a changing European security landscape. We assess selected European small states’ room for manoeuvre within various fields under the EU external action, and within EU institutional structures more broadly – as part of everyday diplomatic interactions in Brussels and in the context of the rotating EU presidency.

As the European integration process enters a new phase, possibly marked by a trend of more differentiated integration and flexibility of individual attachments, small states will continue to face the choice between formal autonomy and integration, and between de facto hesitance and adaptability. With Brexit, the remaining large member states may become more influential, but small states will collectively have a majority of the votes and total population. Perhaps the coming era of European integration will become the era of small states?


  • Foreign policy
  • Europe
  • International organizations
  • The EU