INTEGRATION OF THE BALTIC REGION STATES: DRIVING FORCES AND OBSTACLES

L. Zitkus

Abstract


Few macro regions related with closer economic, political or cultural contacts exist in Europe. One of these regions is Baltic Sea Region. After Iron Cordon collapsed states surrounding the Baltic Sea had received the possibility to rebuild relationships which existed for few centuries. Factors contributing to strengthening these relationships (deeper integration of region’s states) and impeding closeness of these states exist. The problem which factors contribute to multidimensional economic, political and social integration of Baltic Sea Region and which impede this process is being solved in this article. First part of the article emphasizes that most important factors for deepening integration of Baltic Sea Region in present development stage are those which can be generally called endeavor of European Union and region states’ governments and societies to seek closer collaboration. Outcome of this endeavor – more than 30 international institutions, treaties, initiatives and programs pointed at formation of Baltic Sea Region community. Due to limited extent the impact of only three integration means is discussed in the article: 1) Internal market of European Community, 2) European Union strategy for Baltic Sea Region, and 3) Council of the Baltic Sea States. It is indicated that in terms of integration theory the impact of the first mean is referable to classic, the second one – to differential and the third one – to alternative integration. The latter two terms displace unattractively sounding multi-speed or concentric circles integration concepts. The second part of the article is addressed to large differences of Baltic Sea Region states’ development. It is stated that development of West-North and East-South states of this region is based on different factors. Moreover large gap between development factors of these states exist and is to remain in the future. It is concluded that despite the developed and effective coordination mechanism of actions and politics differences of development trends at least in near future won’t let region’s states to achieve deeper integration level which exist, for example, between Benelux countries.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5755/j01.eis.0.7.5021


Keywords


macroregion; obstacles of integration; integration factors; coordination of actions; development differences

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Print ISSN: 1822-8402
Online ISSN: 2335-8831