Title: The Influence of Small States in the EU: Structural Disadvantages and Counterstrategies (PDF 3.7MB)

Author(s): Diana Panke

Paper number and date: WP 08-03, May 2008

Abstract: The most recent rounds of European Union enlargement considerably increased the number of small member states. Of the EU-27, 19 countries have fewer votes in the Council of Ministers than the EU average. They face structural disadvantages in uploading national policies to the EU level due to less bargaining power and less of the financial and administrative resources necessary for building up policy expertise and exerting influence via arguing. This paper explores strategic disadvantages of smaller states in the EU and comprehensively maps their strategies to counterbalance them. This mapping reveals interesting differences between new and old small member states, and provides insights into the usage of intergovernmental coordination, prioritization and brokerage strategies. Some small states manage better than others to exploit the strength of their weakness and thus are more likely able to shape EU policies. The paper also develops a set of hypotheses on the influence of small states in the EU that amend both intergovernmental and supranational approaches.

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