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Navigating the Storm (NAS)

Centre for Small State Studies

Navigating the Storm: The Challenges of Small States in Europe (NAS) is an Erasmus+ co-funded Jean Monnet Network.

About the project

The EU, the international system at large, has entered a new era of unpredictability. States face challenges that tend to outstrip effective collective responses. There is a new volatility in the public policy arena where larger powers increasingly choose to act outside the institutional frameworks which the smaller powers rely on as a guarantor of their stability and prosperity. The EU is uniquely illustrative of how an organised political and administrative framework can empower small states, as opposed to foras of inter-governmental bargaining where the bigger powers can more easily impose their will. Small member states are having to deal with this increasingly unstable international scene and at the same time, public sentiment in many EU countries has become increasingly negative towards European integration and cooperation. The public administrations of small member states are beset with unprecedented tasks and responsibilities. These have placed their already limited capacities under huge strain, while also adding more credibility to populist rhetoric and dissent towards ‘Europe’. In addition, the myriad uncertainties of Brexit and the radical policy shifts emerging from the new US administration, stand every chance of altering the institutional structure that has served as the cornerstone of Western stability as well as the security of small states throughout the international system for decades.

The central objectives of this project are:

  1. to examine the ‘coping strategies’ of small states in the current political turmoil, in terms of policy, resources and focus
  2. to consolidate and expand the current network of European HEI’s focusing on small state studies
  3. to produce advances in knowledge that will facilitate the development of teaching in small state studies in relation to EU studies
  4. to raise awareness and influence policy and practice on the challenges of small states in Europe.

The University of Iceland is the lead partner, with eight other universities participating in the project:

The University of Copenhagen, Vilnius University, Tallinn University of Technology, the University of Malta, University of Ljubljana, Lund University, University of Zagreb, and the University of the Aegean in Rhodes.

Baldur Thorhallsson, Professor of Political Science at the University of Iceland leads the project on behalf of the University of Iceland in cooperation with Pia Hansson, Director of the Institute of International Affairs and Tómas Joensen, Project Manager at the Centre for Small State Studies. Over the course of the project the ten higher education institutions will develop close cooperation in the field of small state studies. The NAS network will host workshops, roundtables for young researchers, publish academic papers, policy recommendations, and at the end of the project an academic book.

Research clusters

Todays political turmoil is a pan-European challenge that the EU states face collectively and thus needs to be examined on an international level. There is a need to analyze the small member states that are especially vulnerable and rely on the EU’s legal framework to navigate their way through these uncertain times. This network´s research builds on four interlinked research clusters that are all focused on the contemporary challenges of small states in Europe.

  1. Small states and the changing security environment in Europe: The return of great power politics.
    Assigned partners: University of Iceland and Vilnius University
  2. Small states and the current political turmoil related to immigration: Migration, security and populist extremism.
    Assigned partners: University of Copenhagen, University of Malta, and University of the Aegean in Rhodes
  3. Small states and open borders: The effects of limitations on human mobility on small states within the EU.
    Assigned partners: Lund University and University of Zagreb
  4. Small states and good governance: The role of public administration in tackling contemporary policy challenges.
    Assigned partners: Tallinn University of Technology and University of Ljubljana

Publications

Public management and policy-making in small states

Külli Sarapuu and Tiina Randma-Liiv - Tallinn University of Technology, Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance

Project: NAS

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Public governance in small states: from paradoxes to research agenda

Tiina Randma-Liiv and Külli Sarapuu - Tallinn University of Technology, Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance

Project: NAS

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A Theory of Shelter: Iceland's American Period (1941-2006)

Baldur Thorhallsson, Sverrir Steinsson and Thorsteinn Kristinsson - University of Iceland

Project: NAS

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A small state in world politics: Iceland’s search for shelter

Baldur Thorhallsson – University of Iceland

Project: NAS

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Acknowledgement