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Why we need Baltic Sea Area: critical analysis of interests, motivation and visions Marko Lehti Senior research fellow (Tampere Peace Research Institute)

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Presentation on theme: "Why we need Baltic Sea Area: critical analysis of interests, motivation and visions Marko Lehti Senior research fellow (Tampere Peace Research Institute)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Why we need Baltic Sea Area: critical analysis of interests, motivation and visions Marko Lehti Senior research fellow (Tampere Peace Research Institute) Academic Director of Baltic Sea Region Studies Master's Program (University of Turku)

2 Return of Baltic Sea Area Latvian Foreign Minister Artis Pabriks (Dec 2007): Finally, I return to one of our common goals - regional identity of the Baltic Sea region, which should be recognized, strengthened and used for our own common good. We don't look alike, we don't speak one language, we don't live in one country and we don't have a joint team in world ice hockey championship. But we share the Baltic Sea, a common history, values and spirit of dynamism, skillfulness and creativity. However, what is more important - we share the same dreams about our region's future: to be competitive, stable, advanced and always a developing region. Finally, I return to one of our common goals - regional identity of the Baltic Sea region, which should be recognized, strengthened and used for our own common good. We don't look alike, we don't speak one language, we don't live in one country and we don't have a joint team in world ice hockey championship. But we share the Baltic Sea, a common history, values and spirit of dynamism, skillfulness and creativity. However, what is more important - we share the same dreams about our region's future: to be competitive, stable, advanced and always a developing region. Do we really share the same dreams and should we? And is existence of regional identity precondition for sharing same dreams? How this is associated with EUs Strategy for Baltic Sea Area?

3 After 1989: Inventing the Baltic Sea Area DEVELOPMENT New Hansa (Schleswig-Holstein 1987) New Hansa (Schleswig-Holstein 1987) Parliamentarians 1991 Parliamentarians 1991 Council of Baltic Sea States (CBSS) 1992 Council of Baltic Sea States (CBSS) 1992 Baltic Sea States Sub- regional Co-operation (BSSSC) Baltic Sea States Sub- regional Co-operation (BSSSC) Helsinki Comission -74 (HELCOM) Helsinki Comission -74 (HELCOM) Union of Baltic cities Union of Baltic cities Tens of other organisations in non- governmental level Tens of other organisations in non- governmental level Western Baltic initiative Western Baltic initiative WHY? Blurring Iron Curtain To control disintegrating East To control disintegrating East Patronising the East (Nordic near abroad?) Patronising the East (Nordic near abroad?) Fear to be marginalised -> ones own region Fear to be marginalised -> ones own region New form of regionalisation New form of regionalisation Becoming Baltic: Finding ones own golden past beyond state boundaries (Hansa, Swedish great power era etc.) Becoming Baltic: Finding ones own golden past beyond state boundaries (Hansa, Swedish great power era etc.) Era of institutionalisation Era of institutionalisation Ethos: Future orientated (a beginning of new era) Ethos: Future orientated (a beginning of new era) Goal was to create dynamic alternative centre for EU Goal was to create dynamic alternative centre for EU Glue: collective memory and identity (a return of historical region) Glue: collective memory and identity (a return of historical region)

4 Lost of the Future and End of Transition In the second half of 1990s In the second half of 1990s End of transition: EU & NATO enlargements (Nordic and Eastern) End of transition: EU & NATO enlargements (Nordic and Eastern) Lost of political agenda and interests (fulfillment of needs) Lost of political agenda and interests (fulfillment of needs) Lost of Future - Agenda & Vision Lost of Future - Agenda & Vision Significance of BSA for the Balts? Significance of BSA for the Balts? Northern Dimension initiative (1997) Northern Dimension initiative (1997) Finnish initiative Linking Russia with EU Neo-colonialist discourse Or New northernness Return of reluctant Europeans = Nordic Return of reluctant Europeans = Nordic No region-builder / advocator No region-builder / advocator BSA was not anymore matter of high politics BSA was not anymore matter of high politics BSA among civil societies as a network (e.g. higher education but more limited and less ambitious) BSA among civil societies as a network (e.g. higher education but more limited and less ambitious) Controlling Threats: pollution of the sea, organized crime, smuggling, illegal immigration, navigation, energy Controlling Threats: pollution of the sea, organized crime, smuggling, illegal immigration, navigation, energy Functional reasoning: Need to control and regulate Functional reasoning: Need to control and regulate Preserving and Securing Preserving and Securing

5 BSA as Historical Region Original ethos: return of something natural Original ethos: return of something natural Regional identity is based on imagined shared past Regional identity is based on imagined shared past How historically belonged together? How historically belonged together? Baltic as a sphere of interaction, a common Baltic space, alternative forms of organizing politics/society (sea based = sea as linkage or bridge) Baltic as a sphere of interaction, a common Baltic space, alternative forms of organizing politics/society (sea based = sea as linkage or bridge) No collection of national histories but something different (a meeting place/ a contact zone) No collection of national histories but something different (a meeting place/ a contact zone) The Baltic World as meeting place existing in legacies of past realms but combination is different in different corners The Baltic World as meeting place existing in legacies of past realms but combination is different in different corners Links to Europe and world (Baltic is not separate region) Links to Europe and world (Baltic is not separate region) Divide and differentiation started before the Cold War Divide and differentiation started before the Cold War Change in 19th to 20th century: nation-states and national identities, railways and land connection, Iron Curtain, flight connection and cyberspace Change in 19th to 20th century: nation-states and national identities, railways and land connection, Iron Curtain, flight connection and cyberspace Role of the Sea has diminished (freight traffic) Role of the Sea has diminished (freight traffic) The Sea as symbol – not real link The Sea as symbol – not real link Collective memory – how is the past told Collective memory – how is the past told 1990s too simplified (and too national) narrations 1990s too simplified (and too national) narrations

6 Re-Linking the BSA Is the Baltic Sea Area again a meeting zone / a contact zone? Is the Baltic Sea Area again a meeting zone / a contact zone? Regional planning (since VASAB 2010) Regional planning (since VASAB 2010) Accessibility one of emphasis also in new strategy Accessibility one of emphasis also in new strategy Examples Examples Öresund region Öresund region Integrated region but not governmental controlled process, an ideal caseIntegrated region but not governmental controlled process, an ideal case Rail Baltica Rail Baltica Huge problems, national interestsHuge problems, national interests Is it common market-area? Hardly Is it common market-area? Hardly Is it going to be a learning region gathering innovative power of area? Hardly Is it going to be a learning region gathering innovative power of area? Hardly

7 EUs Baltic Sea Strategy A new momentum for BSA Goals: Take care of the Baltic Sea Take care of the Baltic Sea Controlling threats (crime, navigation, pollution) Controlling threats (crime, navigation, pollution) Increase accessibility Increase accessibility Main Problems National interests (=lack of common goals)National interests (=lack of common goals) Financial crisis (= identity crisis)Financial crisis (= identity crisis) (= return of security & omnipresent Russia) (= return of security & omnipresent Russia) What is needed: Instruments for building trust (a need for security community as precondition) Instruments for building trust (a need for security community as precondition) Develop Baltic linkage Develop Baltic linkage A learning region? A learning region?

8 BSA: Northern margin of EU Return to Pabriks speech: unity of region is exaggerated Return to Pabriks speech: unity of region is exaggerated Discourse on regional identity is burden for developing cooperation Discourse on regional identity is burden for developing cooperation Lessons from 1990s: Lessons from 1990s: Regional identity is more complicated and cannot be based simplified narrations of the pastRegional identity is more complicated and cannot be based simplified narrations of the past National legacies dominate over multicultural legaciesNational legacies dominate over multicultural legacies Area is more diverse than expected and mostly badly connectedArea is more diverse than expected and mostly badly connected Belonging together need to be justified because (common) motivation and (shared) vision are only tools to engage all countries around the BSA to new strategy Belonging together need to be justified because (common) motivation and (shared) vision are only tools to engage all countries around the BSA to new strategy Can motivation be based only on shared care? Strong moral obligation towards the Sea (rise of environmentalism) Can motivation be based only on shared care? Strong moral obligation towards the Sea (rise of environmentalism) Other goal: to be competitive, stable, advanced and always a developing region but is this region BSA and would current strategy be too vague for approaching this goal Other goal: to be competitive, stable, advanced and always a developing region but is this region BSA and would current strategy be too vague for approaching this goal What is missing shared trusteeship within EU What is missing shared trusteeship within EU Share same northern position and Nordic plus Baltic also small size. Share same northern position and Nordic plus Baltic also small size. How marginal region can be influential and smart – Baltic sea countries strategy for the EU How marginal region can be influential and smart – Baltic sea countries strategy for the EU How the BSA is unique in EU? How the BSA is unique in EU?


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