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Themes in European Integration History Lecture 6: Finlands road into the European Union


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Title: Themes in European Integration History Lecture 6: Finlands road into the European Union

Themes in European Integration HistoryLecture 6
Finlands road into the European Union
  • Lecture course 3 November 15 December 2006
  • Juhana Aunesluoma
  • University Lecturer in Political History
  • University of Helsinki
  • course pages

Five explanations
  • 1 changes in the international system
  • 2 changes in the global economy
  • 3 institutional changes in Europe
  • 4 security
  • 5 identity politics

Finland and European integration 1944-1970
  • 1947 decision to stay out of the Marshall plan
  • not a member of OEEC
  • Finland paid reparations to the Soviet Union
  • 1961 FINEFTA
  • a separate associate agreement between Finland
    and EFTA
  • access to main markets in Europe, equal position
    with competitors (Sweden, Norway)
  • concessions to the Soviet Union
  • 1955-59 and 1968-70 Nordic customs union
  • failed on other than economic grounds
  • the latter round of negotiations is known as

Finnish exports1900-2003
Finnish imports 1900-2003
Finlands foreign trade of GNP 1900-2002 ()
Western Europes share of Finnish total imports,
1950-1962 million FIM (current prices)
Western Europes share of Finnish total exports
1950-1962, million FIM (current prices)
Finland and European integration 1970-78
  • 1973 free trade agreement with EEC
  • ECs enlargement
  • the diminishing utility of the FINNEFTA-arrangemen
  • Swedens integration policy
  • difficult process
  • final agreement delayed until 1973
  • heated domestic debate
  • Soviet criticism
  • secured access to European markets
  • industrial goods, no agriculture
  • COMECON agreements 1974-78
  • symmetrical arrangement

Finland and European integration 1978-89
  • careful steps with institutional arrangements
  • full membership in EFTA 1986
  • Eureka 1985
  • Council of Europe 1989
  • gradual intensification of relations and
    cooperation between EC and EFTA
  • Luxembourg declaration 1984
  • the drive towards a wider common European market
  • economic relations with the Soviet Union
  • peak in trade 1979-83
  • slowdown and eventual collapse 1983-1991 of trade

Soviet Unions share of Finlands foreign trade
1971-1991 ()
The Soviet-Finnish clearing account 1971-1991
Europan Economic Space/Area
  • 1989 negotiations opened between EC and EFTA
  • officially Finnish policy priority until 1992
  • EES first, other things may be considered later
  • EES achieved in January 1994
  • negotiations paved way for the EU-negotiations as
  • would have served as an emergency position if
    EU membership would not have materialised
  • but early on other EFTA countries began to
    revise their policies towards the EC
  • decisions to seek full membership Austria 1989,
    Sweden 1990

1991 as a turning point in Finnish integration
  • economic crisis unfolds
  • depression starts in 1990-91
  • lasts until 1994
  • August 1991
  • failed coup in Moscow
  • president Mauno Koivisto turns privately in
    favour of full EC membership
  • but EEC remains the stated goal
  • December 1991
  • Maastricht conference
  • end of the Soviet Union
  • January-March 1992 formal decision to apply for
    EU membership (parliament, government, president)

GNP growth and unemployment
Final road to EU
  • membership negotiations February 1992-March 1994
  • power positions within the government
  • center party split over Europe
  • conservatives in favour
  • key issue center party must be kept in the
  • opposition in favour of membership
  • social democrats, trade unions
  • president in favour of membership (1994 new
    president Martti Ahtisaari)
  • business lobbies kept quiet
  • June 1994 signature of the membership agreement

Referendum 16 October 1994
  • result
  • 56,9 yes, 43,1 no
  • 74 turnout
  • strongest yes-vote among the Nordic countries
  • campaigning
  • Maastricht not a central issue
  • general level debate, principles rather than
  • media very pro-European
  • voting behaviour
  • the most likely yes-voter male, young, urban
  • the most likely no-voter female, old, agrarian
  • why vote yes identity (young), security (old)
  • why vote no global problems, elitism, democracy
    (young), sovereignty (young, old), neutrality

1 Change in the international system
  • the end of the cold war 1989 (or 1986-1989)
  • end of bipolarity
  • Finlands freedom in foreign policy increased
  • Soviet Union recognised Finlands neutrality
    without reservations 1989
  • absence of superpower tensions real options in
    foreign policy
  • what should we do with neutrality policy in the
  • underlying assumptions
  • a small states behaviour is a direct function of
    the current status of the international system
  • it must adapt, little possibilities to change the
    system itself
  • EU membership a natural outcome of the change in
    the international system

2 Change in the global economy
  • economic integration well underway after the
    second world war
  • Finlands extensive trade with Western Europe
  • changes in Finnish economic structures
  • internationalisaton of companies, modernisation
    (the Nokia effect)
  • maintenance of competitiveness
  • Finland must have similar institutional
    arrangements with main competitors (e.g. Sweden)
  • country risk
  • short-term factors economic crisis 1991-1994
  • underlying assumptions
  • integration stems from and is primarily about
    economic processes and interests

3 Institutional changes in Europe
  • the Maastricht-factor
  • the union-project moving ahead rapidly
  • the completion of the 1992 agenda
  • EU ready to take new members
  • the behaviour of other applicant states
  • Finland must jump in the same bus
  • underlying assumptions
  • the pull-factor from Europe, Finland overwhelmed
    by the integration process, must adapt
  • closely related to the previous explanations

4 Security
  • EU seen as a security community and as a provider
    of security
  • even if not a military alliance, members
    solidarity clear
  • not an openly stated motivation
  • but apparently very important
  • implicit, one does not have to say it aloud to
    be understood
  • instability in Russia an important factor
  • especially in the early 1990s
  • closely connected to first explanation
    (international system)
  • underlying assumptions
  • EU was felt to increase Finlands security in an
    unstated and unspecified way

5 Identity politics
  • Finns seen as a part of the Western community of
  • culture, common values and traditions, the
    structure of Finnish society
  • a border country alongside the fault line of West
    and East European cultures/civilizations
  • identity has direct political bearing
  • competing outcomes of identity politics
  • Finland only confirmed its ancient belonging to
    the West by becoming a EU member
  • Finland made itself a West European country by
    becoming a EU member
  • underlying assumptions
  • questions of identity a serious motivation per
    se, not just rethoric

Further reading
  • ARTER David, The EU Referendum in Finland on 16
    October 1994 A Vote for the West, not for
    Maastricht, Journal of Common Market Studies,
    Vol. 33, No. 3, 1995, pp. 36187.
  • PESONEN Pertti and SÄNKIAHO Risto, The Finnish
    Referendum on Membership in the EU, Yearbook of
    Finnish Foreign Policy, 1994, pp. 529.
  • ALHO, Kari KOTILAINEN, Markku Erkkilä, Mika
    The economics and policies of integration a
    Finnish perspective. Kluwer, Dordrecht 1996.
  • ALLARDT, Erik, Hör Finland till Europa?, Nya
    Argus 86(1993) 1
  • BROWNING, Christopher S., "Coming Home or Moving
    Home? 'Westernizing Narratives in Finnish Foreign
    Policy and the Reinterpretation of Past
    Identities" Cooperation and Conflict, Vol 37
    (2002)m No 1, 47-72.
  • JANSSON, Jan-Magnus, Finland mellan Ryssland och
    EU, Finsk tidskrift kultur, ekonomi, politik
    (1994) 6-7.
  • TIILIKAINEN, Teija, Europe and Finland defining
    the political identity of Finland in Western
    Europe. Ashgate, Aldershot 1998.
  • AHLSTRÖM, Krister, Den europeiska ekonomiska
    integrationen ur finsk industris synvinkel,
    Ekonomiska samfundets tidskrift 3/1988, 135145.