Northern Dimensions of European Union Actorness

Closed. 01.01.2016 - 31.12.2019

Research group

This research deals with the EU's role as a global actor by focusing on one of the a highly sensitive area: relations with Russia. Despite the apparent frustration of EU neighbourhood policy ambitions due to Russian interventions, particularly in regard to Ukraine, lessons need to be learned from this experience. There will be little alternative to interest-based but mutually constructed regional cooperation and the EU still offers the most attractive alternative.

This research will confront questions regarding EU actorness and its policies of regional partnership. We will specifically address EU influence on policies of regional cooperation in Finland and Russia, particularly in the context of so-called Norther Dimension policies. At the centre of our investigations is the EU’s attempts to frame the Neighbourhood as something more than a policy, that is: as a context of encounter and interaction that sets conditions but also opens potentials for action and political innovation in terms of deeper regional cooperation. The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) has been widely acclaimed as a prime example of EU ‘actorness’ in international relations and a major step in building and putting into practice Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). In current crises situation, there is a clear need to examine to what degree the EU has actually been able to affect the policies of its member states and neighbours. The main focus of the study is on the political language of Finnish and Russian policy documents, and the degree to which conceptions of
regional cooperation typical to EU neighbourhood policies have found resonance in them.

Questions that we will pursue in this context include: 1) To what degree have key conceptualisations of ENP become part of Finnish foreign policy, 2) to what degree have cooperation visions of ENP influenced Russian policy approaches prior to the current confrontational shift in EU-relations?


Time period

01.01.2016 - 31.12.2019

Group members - UEF