The financial crisis in the Eurozone is combining several new interdisciplinary debates. Has the financial crisis been caused by the decisions of the political actors or rather by complicated economic dilemmas? In what way have different social stakeholders acted during the years of the crisis and which of the groups have had the biggest influence in different stages of the crisis? Why and how national political elites have lost their dominant position in the crisis management, which have been the cornerstones of this power transition process and what role have the supranational institutions such as the European Commission and the European Central Bank played during the crisis? Accordingly, the main goal of the article is to define the crucial events and stakeholders in the Eurozone crisis solution process by using empirical process tracing and narrative analysis as the research methods. It will also inquire into how and why national political elites and citizens delegated their democratic competences and powers to non-electable institutions during the Eurozone crisis.
After securitisation, there comes the further intensivation of a conflict, or violisation, or de-securitization. De-securitisation has many forms, one being diplomatisation. The article discusses peace and reconciliation work by states that are third parties to a conflict, and fastens on the pioneering state in terms of institutionalization, which is Norway. Following the Cold War, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs engaged in this field broadly. Institutionalisation hit during the 2000s. Norwegian diplomacy facilitators think of de-securitisation in four steps: mapping the parties to a conflict, clearing their path to the table, assisting in their deliberations going across that table, being indirectly involved in the monitoring of agreements. The article concludes with a suggestion to the Copenhagen School. By adapting Austin and Searle’s speech act perspective, Wittgenstein’s general understanding of linguistic and other practices have been left behind. It is time to leave the cold analytics of speech act theory behind and reclaim the full thrust of Wittgenstein’s work, which was geared towards the constitutive role of practices for everything social. We need more empirical studies of violising practices, as well as of de-securitising legal and diplomatic practices.
The article consists of three parts. Firstly, the author considers the main concepts of the political regime in Belarus. Such an analysis includes the concepts of hybrid, authoritarian, and neo-patrimonial regimes. The second part deals with the reasons for Belarusian retreat from democratic standards, namely the Russian factor in Belarusian politics. President Vladimir Putin and Russian bureaucracy are afraid to lose Belarus in case Aliaksandr Lukashenka is removed from absolute power. The authoritarian regime in Russia has sponsored autocracies in the post-Soviet space, ensuring their dependence on Moscow. In the third part, the author analyses the transformation of the Belarusian regime, using the variables of the role of leadership, the state of pluralism, the role of ideology, the character of political mobilization, and the state of human rights. During a very short period of Lukashenka’s rule, we have witnessed a constant tightening of dictatorship rule, which has led the Belarusian regime to the point of a hybrid authoritarian-sultanistic regime (2006) and almost classical sultanism (2010). Such regimes as Belarusian can only be changed through the mobilization of public protest from below. Besides, the Belarusian semi-sultanism is not sustainable.
A certain unity among the Baltic states emerged during their simultaneous fights for independence and for recognition by the great powers in Europe and the US. The recognition was given separately to Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, and not commonly to the Baltic states. This article tries to determine when and under what circumstances the Baltic question reached the institutions and leading persons dealing with foreign relations in the US as a separate problem independent of Russia. After the independence of the Baltic states, there followed a repelling attitude from the US and non-recognition until 1922.
The three Baltic states have joined the European Union almost a decade ago, but as of yet no research has been carried out von how the membership in the EU has affected the national political systems of these countries. This article overviews the literature on how EU membership affects the relationship between legislative and executive branches of government and summarizes what expectations could be drawn as to the character and degree of Europeanization of Baltic parliaments, based on the research. It also calls for an empirical study of this matter to measure these expectations against the reality and gives recommendations how it should be carried out.
Since the completion of the Eastern enlargement in 2004, a major responsibility for addressing the Baltic Sea pollution lies with the European Union. It provides strong institutions to facilitate environmental decision-making and to enforce the implementation of regulations. However, the measures taken so far have not been sufficient to significantly improve the state of the Baltic Sea. In particular, the Common Agricultural Policy does not take the ecological characteristics of the region into consideration. Instead, it provides false incentives since it generally encourages farmers to increase production and to extend areas under cultivation. To enhance the EU’s role, it is crucial to raise the awareness of the Baltic Sea’s vulnerability in Brussels. Moreover, European regulations and policies should become more flexible and match the regional specific environmental requirements. At the same time, too heavy financial burdens and distortions of competition, especially for the region’s agricultural sector, should be avoided.
This study examines whether Russia is a threat to Estonia’s energy security as well as how Estonia has reacted to Russia as an energy supplier. The authors use Stephen Walt’s balance of threat theory as a framework to understand the potential of Russia as a threat, as well as how Estonia has reacted. The balance of threat theory is chosen because it effectively establishes when states view others as a threat and how they react. The focus of the work is on Estonia’s dependence on Russian natural gas and the great lengths Estonia has gone to be energy self-sufficient. The article concludes that Estonia can and does see Russia as a threat to its energy security and has taken significant measures to reduce its dependency on Russia as an energy supplier.