SNS Democracy Policy Council 2011. The Power in Europe

Jonas Tallberg Derek Beach Daniel Naurin Teija Tiilikainen

The power within the EU is becoming increasingly concentrated to the large member countries, despite the fact that the union currently consists of a larger number of small countries than ever before. In this year’s report, ”The Power in Europe”, the SNS Democracy Policy Council analyses the development of power in the EU and presents strategies for how a small country like Sweden is to strengthen its influence.

dr_2011_rapport.pdf 586.7 KB PDF

WHO HAS THE POWER? The researchers behind the report have made a careful survey of who actually currently has power in the EU. The focus is on three categories of agents: the institutions, the member countries and the lobbyists.

REINFORCED POSITION FOR THE COUNCIL. The analysis shows that the large EU member countries have moved their positions forward on several front-lines. The favourite agency of the superpowers – the European Council, the meeting point for heads of state and prime ministers – has been strengthened. The superpowers are also cooperating in increasingly exclusive alliances of superpowers. And they are particularly well-represented among lobbyists in the EU. Moreover, the new voting regulations for the EU Council of Ministers means that in the future, the superpowers will carry even more weight than today, both individually and as a group.

SMALL COUNTRIES MUST PRIORITIZE. The SNS Democracy Policy Council emphasizes that it is important that a small country like Sweden uses its limited resources in an efficient way and gives strict priority when it comes to what factual matters that the country wishes to pursue. Sweden should also focus a larger part of its efforts towards the new centre of power of the EU, the European Council and the European Parliament and ensure that strategic coalitions are constructed.

A WELL-DEVISED STRATEGY IS REQUIRED. The authors emphasize that in this context, Sweden is often in demand as a cooperation partner. Moreover, the large countries are not always in agreement, which opens up possibilities for smaller agents. However, this requires that a small country like Sweden is well-prepared, knows what it wants, and has a well-devised strategy in order to have an impact on those decisions that concern us to an increasing extent.

Researchers and Scientific Directors
JONAS TALLBERG, (Chairman), Professor at Stockholm University; DEREK BEACH, Associate Professor at Aarhus University Denmark; DANIEL NAURIN, Associate Professor at University of Gothenburg and TEIJA TIILIKAINEN, Director of The Finnish Institute of International Affairs.