Role of Neutral States on CFSP Development


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The topic of my master essay is – “The role of the EU neutral states (Austria and Finland) in the development of CFSP, their impact on the elaboration of the European Union”.

Even today, it is a very actual issue for the Union, because it is connected with the integration process, security and defense problems of this organization. The main object of my research is to identify the impact of the neutral states (in my case, Austria and Finland) to the common security of the European Community, whether it’s “pacifist” or “neutral”.

It should be noted that the issue of security and defense of the EU, its ability not only to protect its member states, but also to resolve the conflict situations is very significant.

I decided to write about such representatives of the neutral states like Austria and Finland. First of all, these countries have more similarities than differences, which I will try to describe and characterize during the writing of my thesis.

The aim of my work is:

Describe the foreign policy of Austria and Finland and identify their similarities and differences;
Identify the contribution of the neutral states towards a resolution of the international crises;
Describe the opportunities of the CFSP to be a full-fledged superpower during the international crises and its effect on the policy of neutrals;

The research question of my master thesis is – If the European second pillar CFSP has had any effect on the development of the neutral states (Austria and Finland) – and whether emerging these “neutrals” has had an effect on the Common Foreign and Security Policy?”


a) The admission of the neutrals in 1995 did not significantly affect the trajectory of the development of the CFSP by making it more “pacifist” or “neutral”.

b) The CFSP had a significant impact on the development of its neutral Member States (Austria and Finland).

What I am proposing is basically in line with Alex George and Andrew Bennet’s method of a “focused structured comparison”. So, I will write two country-case study chapters asking the same questions and using the same set of CFSP–related events or documents to answer them and then sum up your findings in the concluding chapter.

So, the master thesis consists of 5 chapters.

I. Foreign Policy of Finland

The first country which I will touch upon in my research paper is Finland. I will illustrate and represent the foreign policy of this state from 1970, i.e. 2-3 decades before becoming the European Union member and will describe the foreign policy of this state. But first, it is necessary to note that for the long period of time Finland was under the yoke of the Soviet Union, this period covers from 1809 to 1917 and declared its independence only since 1917. If we compare with Austria, Finland due to its geographical position has always had a close relationship with Russia and could remain unoccupied during the Second World War because of this fact. In 1948 Finland had signed the Treaty of Friendship[1], Cooperation and Mutual Assistance with the Soviet Union. On the basis of this agreement both countries had agreed not to participate in any military actions against each other, and Finland, in turn, couldn’t be involved in the allied relations with the opposingsides of the Soviet Union. Finland’s neutrality was not implemented on the basis of the international law.

In 1955 the state became a member of the Nordic Council and the United Nations. And after 4 years it was successfully signed an Association Agreement, and also an agreement with EFTA, which could guarantee the economic priorities for Finland (export of forest products).

Later in 1971-1972, Finland, as a member of EFTA started the trade negotiations with the European community, but as a result Finland had to delay the ratification process because the Soviet Union showed their doubts and fears about such cooperation. It could be achieved only in year. The Soviet Union actively involved not only in the developing of the foreign policy of Finland, but in the internal as well. The proof of this is the reelection of the Finnish president in 1973, as Urho Kekkonen was a faithful ally of the USSR. I should also add that Finland had signed free trade agreements with the East European States.

Finland economy was dependanton theSoviet Union, which was it’s the main oil supplier and then the finished products were exported to the Eastern European countries. From all of this I can conclude that economic development and influence has always been a valuable factor of the

development of foreign policy. These all explain the reason of such a close cooperation with the Soviet Union.

From the middle of the 1980 Finland began rapprochement process with the European Community, and in 1988 Finland submitted the White Paper to the European Parliament, EFTA must play the role of direct intermediary between Finland and the European Community. The White Paper contained the willingness and readiness of Finland of joining the European Community and also the economy compatibility of the state (four freedoms).

Till 1990, Finland was entirely dependent on the Soviet Union, but after the destruction of the Berlin Wall, the situation began to change drastically. The West was used as the benchmark for Finland, the proof of this was the EEA negotiations. The neutral state began the preparation for the new report to the Parliament, in this time it covered not only the economic relations, but also the foreign affairs and considered the international aspects, namely, the issue of safety and concluded that “the decision-making process should be based on a national basis, without prejudice to the rights of the state”.

Since 1991, Finland started talking about the entering EU, it was first mentioned by Petti Paasio, the Chairman of the Social Democrat Party. This politician declared that the country needed to begin the process of accession to this Union, also noted that the country should not be involved in any military action. The Finnish Center Party was ready to consider Finland’s membership if the security issue of the country would be accepted based on the national decisions of neutral country.

In November 1991, Finland began the negotiations with the Soviet Union about a signing of new treaty – the Treaty of Good Neighborliness and Cooperation, but which was interrupted due to the prevailing circumstances, such as the collapse of the Soviet Union and the formation of an independent communist country. Further Finland continued the negotiations with the newly formed Russian Federation. It recognized the Russian state as a successor to the Soviet Union.

In December 22, 1991 Finland and the Soviet Union issued a new agreement – The Agreement on the Foundations of Relations, which did not contain the military obligations like in the Treaty of 1948, it certified non-aggression and nor allowing third countries to entry into its territory and use the military force.

In March 18, 1992, the Finnish Parliament on the basis of the choice of the majority vote, decided to join the European Community.

Similarities and Differences between Austria and Finland

During the WWII Finland and Austria were the proponents of Germany, and Austria was under its full control.
Major role in their abstention from further participation in military blocs played the USSR, which withdraw Finland from the war, defeating it. Austria was also occupied by the USSR army. These countries paid for their freedom by receiving the neutrality status.
Austria’s neutrality was prescribed by the international law.
These two states do not use a term such as neutrality, they always mentioned about the non-alignment. That is, the non-participation in military alliances and the opportunity to participate in military conflicts.
This ambiguous phrasing had ceased to have meaning in 1995, after the three countries joined the European Union. By the laws of all countries of the Union are obliged to help other members of the EU in the event of any military conflicts and operations.
These countries outside the EU, but wishing it different from other members were “special”. They belong to the Alliance, but remain neutral.
Finland and Austria are in invariable cooperation with NATO; participate in the joint exercises and programs. However, the states considered the opinion of the population which is crushingly against of joining NATO.
Austria and Finland are observers of the WEU.

2. Security Policy and the Military capability of Finland

From a military aspect, Finland was out of the superpowers’ interest; the state doesn’t have the rich natural resources, has the harsh climatic conditions, and belongs to the northern Europe. In 1947 Finland signed a Peace Treaty and tried to hold on to the policy of neutrality before the Second World War.

Because of its geographical and strategic position Finland had a close relationship with the Soviet Union, which helped to protect the integrity of Finland and escaped from the occupation. The neutral state was able to return Porkkala, the territory which had been in the possession of the Soviet Union for 40 years.

According to the Treaty of Friendship, Assistance and Mutual Cooperation, the two countries agreed on mutual assistance in case of danger, so this treaty can be regarded as a Mutual Pact. According to this pact Finland was prohibited from using its territory as a transit pass, in other words it provided the protection for the USSR from invading its territory with the armed force of the warring parties. Therefore Mutual Pact was the guarantee for contribution peace in the northern Europe.

Finland had a close relationship with other Northern European countries, Sweden like its neighbor is a neutral country, and Norway and Denmark are relatively political weak countries of the Northern Europe.

Finland tried to keep the discharge between the states; thereby it joined the CSCE, in the final act of which is mentioned about the country’s right in choosing a neutral policy. Country with a small population (4.7 million people) could not protect its own territory and keep sovereignty.

Finnish Defense Forces have been gradually developing; it was emphases the role of naval air weapons, which because of extreme domestic shortages had to be imported from abroad.

Finland since 1956 began to take part in the UN peacekeeping operations and its officers were the military observers in the two organizations of the United Nations. Finland is the only EU Nordic country, which did not become a member of NATO.

During the Cold War, the Finnish Government adopted a decision of increasing the country’s defense. These led to the commissioning of several new weapon systems and strengthen the defense of Finland, while establishing new garrisons.

And in 1968, the Finnish government has adopted the doctrine of territorial resistance, which covering the large territories in case of extreme military emergency.

If we assume approximately 16,000 Finnish soldiers were participating in the various military operations of the United Nations, whose purpose was to maintain peace in regions. I will discuss latter about the valuable Finnish peacekeeping operations.

According to statistics, in 2003 the Finnish army consisted of 27,000 soldiers, 435,000 reservists who participated in annual military exercises, weapons were presented by battle tanks (235), a marine fleet force – consisted of patrol vessel and coastal battalion, landing craft.

3. Population’s opinion

As in the case of Austria, the population of Finland endorsed the EU membership. Such positive attitude connected with the difficulties in the Balkan, especially the Yugoslavian crisis, which broke out in 1994, the Finnish population began to think about the security and defense issues and becoming the member of the EU.

What were the main benefits for the country’s joining this organization, first, it became a part of the EEA, i.e. obtained the corresponding advantages as a member (the four freedoms), and the second and the most important, became a part of a unified decision-making process.

But the main Finnish opponents of the EU membership were the Finnish Central Union of Agricultural Producers, and among the political parties – Left-Wing Alliance and Christian Union.

In January 1994, due to the presidential elections, the population had changed the viewpoint and increased the number of voting “in favor” (almost 50%), both leaders of the presidential candidates (Paavo Vayrynen and Martti Ahtisaari), were the pro-European orientation. In the same year, it was designed a «national package» for the Finnish farmers.

And so, according to the referendum, which was celebrated in October 16, 1994 , 56.9 % of the population voted “in favor” , 43.1% – voted “against.”

If we compare with Austria

Finnish youth was set up much skeptical about membership.
Increasing number of the private sector workers voted “in favor”, while the public sector workers “against”.
Social Democrats endorsed the pro-European orientation.
National Coalition Party strongly sustained the EU membership.
Center Party – voted “in favor” by 40%.
Greens voted – voted “in favor” by 20%.
South votes “in favor”, in contrast to the North.
Internationalists voted “in favor”, in contrast to the nationalists.
18 % of people worried about the future of the Finnish language.

Among the main issues disturbing the population were – the future economic development of Finland, the reduction of unemployment rate, security problem, and resolving all these issues according to the status of “nor war involvement”.

4. Peace-keeping operations

Finland, as well as Austria, in order to conducting the anti crisis struggle became an active member of the UN, participated in the peace settlement in Lebanon, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yugoslavia. Latter, I will describe the most significant of them.

Lebanon crisis was one of the severe crisis of the 1990-s, during which two neighboring countries, Israel and Lebanon. The conflict described a series of military clashes, when the states weren’t able to share their borders. Since 1978, Finland became interested in this conflict situation.

Finland endorsed Lebanon’s position and its purpose was restoring peace and security in the Southern Lebanon, assist the Lebanese government for creation the fair and democratic government. In this context, Finland actively required from Israel to withdrawing its military forces from the occupied territory.