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Benevolent Assistance and Cognitive Colonisation: Nordic Involvement with the Baltic States since the 1990s

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Histories of Public Diplomacy
and Nation Branding in the
Nordic and Baltic Countries
Representing the Periphery
Edited by
Louis Clerc
Nikolas Glover
Paul Jordan
 | 
For use by the Author only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
Representing the Small States of Northern Europe: Between
Imagined and Imaged Communities3
Louis Clerc and Nikolas Glover
 
1918–45: War and International Order
1 The Nationalisation of Swedish Enlightenment Activities
Abroad: Civil Society Actors and Their Impact on State Politics23
Andreas Åkerlund
2 Open Diplomacy and Minority Rights: The League of
Nations and Lithuania’s International Image in the Early 1920s40
Chiara Tessaris
3 Countering “The Obtuse Arguments of the Bolsheviks”:
Estonian Information Work in Sweden, the United States and
Britain, 1940–194460
Kaarel Piirimäe
 
1945–89: Cold War, Diplomacy, Trade, and Culture
4 The Oce for Cultural Relations: Representing Norway in the
Post-War Period81
Svein Ivar Angell
5 A Public Diplomacy Entrepreneur: Danish Ambassador Bodil
Begtrup in Iceland, Switzerland and Portugal, 1949–1973102
Kristine Kjærsgaard
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6 A Total Image Deconstructed: The Corporate Analogy and the
Legitimacy of Promoting Sweden Abroad in the 1960s123
Nikolas Glover
7 “Gaining Recognition and Understanding on her own terms”:
The Bureaucracy of Finland’s Image Policy, 1948–66145
Louis Clerc
8 American Mirrors and Swedish Self-Portraits:  Images of
Sweden and Swedish Public Diplomacy in the  in the
1970s and 80s172
Carl Marklund
 
Post-Cold War: Globalisation and Transnational Markets
9 Diplomacy and Diasporas, Self-Perceptions and Representations:
Baltic Attempts to Promote Independence, 1989–1991197
Una Bergmane
10 Walking in Singing: Brand Estonia, the Eurovision Song Contest and
Estonia’s Self-Proclaimed Return to Europe, 2001–2002217
Paul Jordan
11 Public Diplomacy vs Nation Branding: The Case of Denmark
after the Cartoon Crisis237
Mads Mordhorst
12 Benevolent Assistance and Cognitive Colonisation: Nordic
Involvement with the Baltic States since the 1990s257
Kazimierz Musiał
Concluding Reflections
Small-State Identities: Promotions Past and Present 283
Christopher Browning
Name Index327
Subject Index330
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©   , , | ./_
 
Benevolent Assistance and Cognitive Colonisation:
Nordic Involvement with the Baltic States since
the 1990s
Kazimierz Musiał
In recent years there has been increased political attention paid to the uses of
public diplomacy by diferent countries for improving their economies, pro-
jecting identity, and achieving other policy goals. Within this framework this
chapter seeks to explain Nordic involvement in/with the Baltic States in the
past two decades. The communicative practice, interactions and building rela-
tions among these states provides a case that can be studied with respect to
how states or associations of states understand cultures, attitudes and behav-
iour, build and manage relationships, and inuence opinions and actions, which
more or less intentionally advance their interests and values.
The analysis in this chapter is anchored in the domain of international rela-
tions, with focus on the interdependencies created by the development aid
and assistance that the Nordic states granted to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania
when they broke free from the Soviet Union. The increasing tendency on the
part of the Nordic states to act as agenda setters in the Baltic region is also
discussed, which allows for viewing their actions as active international policy
or, to use more contemporary terminology, as skilfully exercised public diplo-
macy. It proved all the more successful as the Baltic republics desired interna-
tional recognition and longed to become fully-edged parts of the West.
The analysis of how norms and agendas propagated by the Nordic countries
have become accepted in the Baltic States is pursued here with a working
hypothesis claiming that the assumed civilizational achievement of the alleg-
edly superior Western standards, gained from the cooperation with the Nordic
states, made the Baltic actors readily accept the infusion of local institutions
with Nordic norms, values and practices. The process was rapid and mostly
one- directional to the extent that instead of mutual learning, typical for part-
ners that cooperate on an equal footing, the Nordic countries carried out an
action that I describe as cognitive colonisation of the Baltic elites and publics.
Gregory, “Public Diplomacy,” 274.
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This meant that the political landscape and the decision makers’ agendas have
been saturated with institutional structures, metaphors and other discursive
short-cuts favourable to the Nordic countries – which represented Western
Europe – to the extent that they became parts of the taken-for-granted cogni-
tive schemas. Their institutional embeddedness was possible because a sym-
bolic system, garnished with the English language functioning as a lingua
franca of the Western civilisation, was transmitted along with Nordic assis-
tance, which consisted of patterns of behaviour, signs and meanings, delivered
together with modes of their interpretation.
Analytical Tools, Theoretical Insights and Empirical Facts
Drawing on the available theories, the unbalanced relationship between the
Nordic states and the Baltic republics in the 1990s could be interpreted as a
lighter version of ‘small state imperialism’ (småstatsimperialism), similar to
what had been practiced several decades earlier by Norway and Denmark with
respect to Greenland, Iceland and the Faeroes. In its classical denition, small
state imperialism involved attempts to maximise welfare, expand territory (or
territorial inuence) and establish a hegemonic power position. Taking into
account the signicant diference in social and economic capital between the
Nordic countries and their Baltic counterparts, especially the third of these
objectives could well be corroborated. With some caution also the rst element
could be substantiated as some authors point to the fact that in the Nordics’
cooperation and assistance strategy their self-interest was no less important
than joint gains. Known as a policy of “adjacent internationalism” – meaning
Nordic internationalism with a visible Baltic dimension – in practice it often
meant providing assistance in a number of policy areas that have been crucial
for the Baltic States but in which Nordic interests were just as important or
motivated by the ‘neighbourhood interest’ of looking after one’s own backyard.
Furthermore, the Nordic interests were guaranteed in the long-term perspective
For a study of how ideas permeate cognitive schemas in public policy see Campbell, “Ideas,
The term was used as an analytical device in 1978 in Nilsson, Grönlandsfrågan.
 Nilsson, Grönlandsfrågan, 9.
 Hassler, The Strategy of Assistance and Löfstedt, “What factors.” See also van der Hoek &
Chong, “Cost-Efectiveness.” The term ‘adjacent internationalism’ was introduced by Annika
Bergman in 2002: Bergman, “Adjacent Internationalism.”
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    
through the learning process, where the Baltic States in time became more
aware of the donors’ preferences and adapted to their policy goals.
Yet the perspective ofered by the small state imperialism approach is not
sucient. The main reason for this is that Nordic-Baltic relations have in fact
evolved and – as I will be discussing below – have included an ever more dia-
logic relationship between the Nordic benefactors and norm setters on the one
hand, and Baltic recipients and norm followers on the other. Most importantly,
the Baltic republics – although initially placed in a weaker position in the rela-
tionship and resembling cygnets groomed by the Nordic swans – since the turn
of the millennium have been able to strengthen their autonomy and at least
discursively establish themselves as equal partners.
Considering these circumstances, I would argue for analysing Nordic-Baltic
relations as a case of the ecient use of the Nordic power of attraction (sym-
bolic power) backed up by targeted investment strategies (economic power),
which eventually resulted in acceptance and implementing the new norms
and standards (created dispositions) on the part of the Baltic States. By relating
to Pierre Bourdieu’s sociological instruments, this analysis advances a novel
argument that communication patterns and institutionalisation of the Nordic-
Baltic relationship can be comprehended through the theoretical lens of habitus
and diferent capitals (powers) operating in the social elds. This perspective
allows for interpreting the extraordinary Nordic assistance to the Baltic States
in the 1990s as an act that simultaneously established the hegemonic order for
the benefactors and recipients, rather than only being a disinterested act of
giving benevolent development aid. Further, it may be argued that a helping
hand ofered by the Nordic agenda setters acted within a distinctive cognitive
frame, warranted by a portfolio of habitus, diferent capitals and temporal dis-
positions, thereby efectively generating social practices, establishing hierar-
chy, creating rapport and determining Nordic-Baltic relations for a long time.
The category of habitus, which Bourdieu dened as “systems of durable,
transposable dispositions…structures predisposed to function as…principles
which generate and organize practices and representations that can be objec-
tively adapted to their own outcomes,” has been mostly applied to individuals.
Here I refer to collective categories of the societies that possess social capital
and persistent cultures, as they have been constructed by Ronald Inglehart and
The metaphor of Baltic cygnets and Nordic swans was coined by Clive Archer in 1999: Archer,
“Nordic swans.
Bourdieu’s categories have been developed in several of his works since the 1960s. For exam-
ples, see Bourdieu, Logic of Practice and Practical Reason.
 Bourdieu, The Logic of Practice, 53.
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others, thereby drawing attention to the historical aspect of the accumulation
of collective values which produce attitudes and dispositions that can be
ascribed to national or regional communities and cultures.
Cognitive framing is derived from theories that tell us how narrative frames
and conceptual metaphors are created and xed. Framing refers to the social
construction of social phenomena often by inuential social actors or organ-
isation and it is regarded as an inevitable process of selective inuence by
means of specic frames. In this function a frame is a psychological device that
ofers a perspective and manipulates relevance to inuence subsequent judg-
ment. By inviting an observer to view the topic from a certain perspective it not
only ofers a perspective but manages the observer’s alignment in relation to
the subject, thereby leading to what I call ‘cognitive colonisation.’ Directing the
viewer to consider certain features and to ignore others, perception is organ-
ised around the frame and may be resized to t within the constraints of the
framework. By structuring the communicative practice, it co-creates the pic-
ture and inuences judgment and information received. In this way newly
encountered and diverse elements are linked to an already known and persis-
tent background which becomes a point of reference for the individual.
In the case of Nordic-Baltic relations such frames were provided in several
domains, the most interesting being institutionalisation of political life, pat-
terns of democratic governance, education and schooling, rule of law and
social welfare, not to mention the overall communicative frame provided by
the use of English, a Western lingua franca, instead of Russian that the citizens
of the Baltic republics were far more familiar with. They framed Nordic values
and patterns of behaviour as superior, initially by channelling them through
information oces of the Nordic Council in the Baltic States and Russia, and
later by engaging Baltic decision makers, politicians and the general public in
a dialogue. An interesting example of a frame-provider is the Council of the
Baltic Sea States () which has ofered a forum of dialogue among all states
in the region since 1992. In 1994, the organisation established a post of 
Commissioner on Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, including the
Rights of Persons belonging to Minorities (from 2000, the Commissioner on
Democratic Development), who nished working only in 2004, when the Baltic
See for instance, Inglehart, Culture Shift; Inglehart, Modernization; Inglehart & Welzel,
Modernization. A pathbreaking work introducing Bourdieu in International Relations
studies appeared only in 2013: Adler-Nissen, Bourdieu.
 Triandafyllidou & Fotiou, “Sustainability and modernity.” See also a compact denition at
 Kononenko, Norden’s high ve, 11–19.
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    
republics joined the . It is noteworthy, that despite the multinational char-
acter of , it was always a Danish representative (Ole Espersen then Helle
Degn) who held the post, thereby setting the Western and Nordic norms as
standards for the Baltic States in these domains.
While research recognising the domestic impact of international norms
exists, which could partially explain the functioning and impact of external
Nordic norms on the Baltic States, accepting habitus and temporal dispositions
as spiritus movens lends an additional option to understand how the symbolic
power in situations of asymmetrical power relations in the Baltic Sea region has
been established and maintained. Some light can be shed on this, for instance,
by Bourdieu’s claim about the impossibility of disinterested aid and assistance.
He has argued that even if benevolent assistance is a part of habitus in well-
established societies, it is always accompanied by a certain degree of an underly-
ing give-and-take attitude. As a result, helping and assisting others has an inbuilt
logic of costs and benets and a disinterested act is hardly possible. Hence,
Bourdieu’s claim allows for seeing Nordic assistance not so much as disinterested
aid, but rather as an act establishing a hegemonic order and evoking expecta-
tions as to the correct behaviour between the benefactors and the recipients.
Political Contingencies and the Background of
Nordic-Baltic Relations
Being a small state is not usually an asset in a world dominated by power rela-
tions where the international agenda has more often than not been set by
major national players. Being a small state at the periphery of the mainstream
of world politics makes the situation particularly precarious. Being so-called
‘transition countries’ like the Baltic republics, arguably makes the situation
even more uncertain since the dynamic of change is imprinted in their status.
Since 1991 in Eastern Europe, transition has meant a passage in the political,
economic and socio-cultural domains from the Soviet authoritarian legacy to a
Western-style democracy. Quite naturally, examples of good practice and role
models were often sought in these parts of Europe where templates for trans-
formation seemed to be on hand. The direction of the Eastern European search
for inspiration in the West was not surprising because, as noted by György
Szondi, countries in transition
 For existing research on the domestic impact of international norms, see for instance
Cortell & Davis, “Understanding the domestic impact,” 65–87.
 Bourdieu, Practical Reason, 87–88.
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rely on the moral, nancial, and political support of more developed
regions or nations, called ‘center nations,’ such as the Western European
countries. The less developed or transitional countries are often situated
on the ‘periphery’ or ‘semi-periphery.’
In the case of the peripheral Baltic republics the Nordic states quickly became
role models and sources of inspiration in several domains as they epitomised
Western European governance and welfare, and were close neighbours across
the Baltic Sea.
From the Baltic perspective it often remained unnoticed that for a long time
the Nordic countries themselves used to function as a periphery in their rela-
tionship with the ‘centre nations’ of Europe, such as Germany or France. Yet,
what spoke in favour of the Nordic countries functioning as role models, was
that in more recent history they contradicted the ‘centre-periphery’ pattern of
relationship between centre nations and smaller countries implied by Szondi.
Especially in their dealing with the European Union they proved that small
countries at the European periphery do not need to accept a one-directional
transfer of norms, values and capital. What might have appeared particularly
attractive to the Baltic republics was how the Nordic countries positioned
themselves as successful agenda setters and ‘norm entrepreneurs’ with ‘social
power,’ as Christine Ingebritsen put it. Indeed, the Nordic countries proved
that being active in international arenas and creating multilateral dependen-
cies could be an ecient means of managing relations with other countries,
and thereby balancing out discrepancies in economic power and in other coer-
cive instruments typically used in international policy making. Having had
this experience, the Nordic countries were indeed exemplary role models for
the Baltic republics emerging from the shadow of the Cold War.
The Nordic and Baltic States since the 1990s
Due to their specic peripheral position in Europe during the Cold War, the
Nordic countries appeared to be wedged in between the two blocs, and pursued
 Szondi, “Central and Eastern European,” 295.
 See Kukk, “Estonia in transition” and other contributions in Jervell, Kukk & Joenniemi,
The Baltic Sea.
 Kirby, The Baltic World.
 Ingebritsen, “Norm Entrepreneurs.”
 See Bergman, “Adjacent Internationalism” and Magnúsdóttir, Small States’ Power.
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    
a policy commonly referred to as “Nordic balance.” This geopolitical concept
was based on Finland remaining under strong pressure from the Soviet Union;
Norway and Denmark being members of ; and Sweden remaining neu-
tral. The balancing act in international politics went hand in hand with the
‘middle way’ domestic politics and progressive social policies that came to be
known as the Scandinavian model. As described by Carl Marklund, this was
eciently communicated to the world as a peaceful way of overcoming the
dichotomy between capitalism and socialism and guaranteeing social justice
through meritocracy and social engineering.
The end of the bi-polar world order, however, seemed to make all these con-
cepts and labels irrelevant. For one thing it opened a window of opportunity
for the Nordic countries to redene their identities and geopolitical space of
reference, for another it became clearer that the threat of irrelevance of the
post-Cold War era could be met by marketing oneself in the post-modern fash-
ion, with brands that made reference to issues that were apparently globally
relevant; for instance, defending human rights, protecting the environment or
counteracting climate change through sustainable development.
Active internationalism’ initiated by the Danes in the early 1990s must be
seen as an attempt to provide Northern Europe with a strategic pattern of for-
eign policy making under new circumstances. In fact, seeking opportunities
for Denmark to act as an active small state was present in Danish foreign policy
already during the Cold War, which was then justied as a moral responsibility.
The new label of active internationalism suggested a means of overcoming the
peripheral position but, as rightfully noted by Ufe Ellmann-Jensen – the
Danish Minister of Foreign Afairs who coined the term – it was necessary to
set priorities, considering the limited resources and opportunities to exercise
inuence. When the three Baltic republics regained their independence, it
became apparent that carving out a new political space of the Baltic Sea region
was one of these priorities.
Providing aid to the newly-sovereign Baltic republics, which emerged as
underdeveloped, poor neighbours across the Baltic Sea, created an unprece-
dented opportunity for Denmark – and, to a large extent, also for the other
 Brundtland, “Nordisk balanse før og nå.
 Marklund, “A Swedish Norden
 Musiał, “Reconstructing Nordic Signicance”
 Holm, “Danish foreign policy activism,” 19–46. See also Mads Mordhorst’s chapter in this
 Branner, Småstatens udenrigspolitik, 18.
 Udenrigskommissionen af 1. April 1989, Udenrigstjenesten år 2000, 40.
For use by the Author only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
Nordic countries – to give a new, ‘localised’ meaning to their renowned and
institutionalised policy of assisting the developing world. It seemed all the
more natural, as in the beginning of the 1990s the economic, social and politi-
cal development gap between the ve Nordic countries and the three Baltic
republics was signicant on almost every account. As noted by Pertti Joenniemi
on several occasions in the early 1990s:
These diferences and discrepancies are so profound that it would be a
false departure to assume that the Nordic and Baltic countries will soon
be on a par with each other and capable of equitable relations.
These discrepancies notwithstanding, the Baltic direction allowed the Nordic
countries to apply development assistance principles to the European space.
At the same time, focusing on rebuilding strong and democratic structures in
the Baltic States gave Nordic internationalism and cooperation endeavours an
ethical purpose and a sense of direction in the post-Cold War era. Yet, the
reasons to help the Baltic States ranged from “the benevolent motive of serving
the interest of the recipient country,” through to “the nancial or career self-
interests of the individual…be it of a politician, a civil servant, or a private con-
sultant,” and nally to the political and business self-interests of the donor
It is tempting to suggest that by means of development assistance the
Nordic states sighted a chance to construct their ‘near abroad’ in the Baltic
republics, which was explicitly welcomed there. The term ‘Nordic near abroad’
should, however, be used with caution. In the Soviet rhetoric, securing the
’s ‘near abroad’ justied unlawful occupation of the Baltic lands and
denoted a policy of controlling and shaping these territories for the benet of
the Soviet international and domestic interests. Historian David J. Smith sug-
gested that speaking of a ‘Nordic near abroad’ might also be “construed as an
attempt to control and shape these territories in a direction that enhances the
Nordic nations’ own security, economic development and political inuence
within the wider Europe.” Seen from this perspective constructing special
 For the case of Sweden see Dahl, “Activist Sweden.
 Joenniemi, “Baltic-Nordic Relations,” 44.
 Petersen, Europæisk og globalt engagement, 621.
 Bergman, “Adjacent Internationalism,” 74.
 van der Hoek and Chong, “Cost-Efectiveness,” 4–6.
 Allegedly used for the rst time in Arter, Scandinavian Politics Today, 316.
 Smith, “Nordic Near Abroad,” 50.
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    
Nordic-Baltic relations provided a window of opportunity for the Nordic com-
munity to secure its position against Russia, to secure economic inuence in
the fuzzy zone of the collapsed planned economies, to expand its area of polit-
ical inuence by predictable, rational and friendly partner states and, last but
not least, to establish norms and set rules that would take Nordic values and
interests into account. At any rate, in the beginning of the 1990s Nordic govern-
ments were provided with a new space which apart from the development
assistance could be invested with new meanings pertaining to the Nordic
Baltic Sea Regionalisation
In an analysis of Nordic norm entrepreneurship in their relations with the
Baltic States there is a need to pay attention to both the sending and the receiv-
ing end of these activities. Without the eager Baltic recipients, exercising
Nordic active internationalism would be far less successful. The more the
young Baltic governments welcomed the information stream, assistance and
norms from the Nordic countries, the easier and more successful the Nordic
norm-setting endeavour could be. The practical material and functional needs
of the post-Soviet Baltic republics provided an ideal ground for the Nordic
countries to play a role as emblematic of the West: as an epitome of freedom,
democracy and wealth.
The Baltic countries welcomed the post-Cold War interest and patronage
of the Nordic states as possible providers of not only economic assistance and
aid (economic capital) but also as facilitators of cooperation over the Baltic
Sea (ofering social capital). Providing an insight into the bilateral relations
between separate Nordic and Baltic countries, Mare Kukk mentions Finland
and Sweden’s assumed ‘responsibility’ for Estonia, while Denmark and Norway
focused more on Latvia and Lithuania, though there was not any xed pat-
tern of bilateral cooperation on concrete educational, cultural and structural
programmes and initiatives – economic assistance notwithstanding. The pro-
grammes were easier to implement on bilateral bases, with political support
being easier to win in the donor countries. Due to economic hardships, the
Baltic republics were ready to accept any sustained assistance that could help
 Kukk, “Estonia in transition,” 155. According to Bergman, “Sweden ‘adopted’ Latvia in the
process while Finland concentrated its eforts on Estonia and Denmark on Lithuania
(Bergman, “Adjacent Internationalism,” 205).
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in the establishment of foundations for their economy, security and Western-
style governance.
Like other Eastern European nations in the early 1990s, Estonia, Latvia and
Lithuania sufered from their Soviet legacy not only because of the precarious state
of their economies but also, more importantly, because of great social insecurity
and lack of credible modernisation strategies. Kenneth Jowitt spoke of a “genesis
environment” in the post-communist countries; a state of perfect de-structuration,
where everything was possible and no privileged path into the future could be
expected. It was widely recognised that the Soviet modernisation patterns of the
previous decades did not develop rational bureaucracies, did not strengthen civil
society and did not liberate the individual from the powers of the locality, tradition
and the collective. In this situation ‘path dependency’ approaches to the transi-
tion, postulated by Claus Ofe, appeared the most credible and acceptable. Ofe
argued that since perestroika and glasnost did not contain a clear and realistic the-
ory on how the transition to the new social order should take place, the persistent
problems of the Eastern and Central European countries in transition were being
solved by copying Western European models of political, economic and cultural
modernisation and applying them quite mechanically to their own situations.
However, the problem with this approach was, as rightfully noted by Inka
Salovaara-Moring that it represented a single trajectory fallacy, since the pro-
jected teleological end-state in the West did not in fact exist. At the time, no
country in East and Central Europe had ever had any previous experience with
‘transition’ or ‘catching up’ with the West, so the applied solution was to ‘pan-
optise’ these countries in the Western gaze, by measuring their performance
against benchmarks that were other than their own. Following these paths and
meeting the requirements through the development of administrative, eco-
nomic and other policies was felt to be an obligation “in order to be considered
a good student of the West.” As a result, not only policy discourses or the
newly emerging institutions, but also the epistemological sense-making that
was adopted as having a universal and normative status, were in fact “surpris-
ingly often…outcomes of Western ways of thinking.”
The Baltic republics were a case in point. Their challenge of rebuilding
states and economies was so profound that they saw it necessary to became
 See Jervell, Joenniemi & Kukk, The Baltic Sea Area, 132–206.
 Jowitt, The New World Disorder, 262–267.
 Piirainen, Towards a New Social Order, 16.
 Ofe, Varieties of Transition, 135–138.
 Salovaara-Moring, “Dead Ground,” 143.
 Ibid., 148.
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    
norm-followers of their Nordic neighbours, who they perceived as transmitters
of Western European models. Even for the Baltic troika’s internal coopera-
tion, which was from the start of a rather declarative character, Nordic coop-
eration was used as a model for institutions like the Baltic Assembly, the Baltic
Council of Ministers and the Baltic Council during the rst ve years after the
restoration of independence. The Nordic Council had symbolic power and
was expected to function as framework provider, which Mare Kukk described
neatly in saying:
This means that the Nordic countries, with their joint body, the Nordic
Council, are ‘in charge’ and the most the Baltic states are able to do is to
follow the pattern of the Nordic cooperation.
Relations with the Russian Federation proved to be dicult, not least because of
the problems with the signicant Russian minorities which made it dicult to
create social cohesion by the application of unifying nation-state narratives in
the Baltic States. ‘Westernising’ narratives and a wish to become a part of the
West, where the Baltic States would serve as “a bastion, beacon, or bridge” vis-á-vis
the East, were declared to be national strategies. But escaping from the Soviet
sphere of inuence was hard to achieve, due to demographic and social legacies,
economic dependencies and institutional colonisation by the inherited mindset
of homo sovieticus. Distancing oneself from the Soviet past by accepting Western
narratives of development was one thing, but building capacity to reach desired
Western levels of democratic governance and economic auence proved more
challenging. Focusing interest and hopes on the Nordic states, who so openly
declared their willingness to assist, seemed a natural and rational choice.
Assistance as Norm and Habitus in Nordic Societies
Ocial discourse framed Nordic assistance to the Baltic republics in the 1990s
as a moral obligation and spontaneous reaction. Unconditioned assistance
 See Kukk, “Estonia in transition.”
 Jakniūnaitė, “The Baltic States,” 2; Galbreath, Lašas & Lamoreaux, Continuity and change,
 Kukk, “Estonia in Transition,” 153.
 See Vetik, Nation-building; Morris, “ Enlargement,” and Paul Jordan’s chapter in this volume.
 Galbreath & Lamoreaux, “Bastion, beacon or bridge?”
 See Archer “Nordic Swans.”
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corroborated the patterns of providing development aid and helping the
developing nations, policies previously identied as part of the Nordic brand.
It went hand in hand with the Nordic auto-stereotype pertaining to “the regime
of goodness” that in the conceptualisation of Terje Tvedt and Nina Witoszek’s
work concerning Norway, could explain why the provision of foreign aid was
regarded as natural and indisputable in this part of the world. Tvedt sees the
phenomenon as a regime, thanks to which the self-arming role of develop-
ment aid, advocacy of human rights, and peace brokerage has regulated inter-
nal relations and become Norway’s ocial foreign policy. Witoszek has added
that a unique and spontaneous will to provide humanitarian aid became a
master-narrative of Norwegian identity because it was rooted in nature, peace
and a Christian ethos. While these arguments have been developed to explain
the Norwegian meta-narrative that legitimised and produced unquestioned
norms, it may be argued that they also explain how the regime of goodness has
formed the individual and collective habitus in most Nordic societies. All these
societies have been founded on the protestant ethic, have developed a security
community built on an increasing, mutual interdependence and a sense of
peaceful coexistence and, last but not least, the Nordic citizens have under-
gone similar socialisation process in the twentieth century contained within
the collectively created ‘rags-to-riches’ (or rather ‘rags-to-welfare’) develop-
ment pattern.
Environmental Protection and Green Growth
After the Soviet era, the Baltic States inherited a devastated natural environ-
ment and a mindset exhibiting little care for its conservation and protection.
To counteract this, Nordic voices – referring to the region’s ecological interde-
pendence – emphasised the mutual interest of all parties in the Baltic Sea
drainage basin since the early 1990s. This was relatively easy as environmen-
tal care and sustainable development had been part of the Nordic (Swedish)
 See Engh, “The Conscience of the World?”; Browning, “Branding Nordicity.
 See Tvedt, Utviklingshjelp; Witoszek, Regime of Goodness.
 On the development of commonality in Northern Europe see Sørensen & Stråth, Cultural
Construction. On the current common Nordic values see also Ringdal, Ervasti, Fridberg &
Hjerm, Nordic social attitudes.
 See for instance how the activities of the Baltic University Program, directed from
Uppsala, established environmental protection and sustainable development as a frame-
work for the educational discourse concerning the region.
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    
export toolkit and legislative masterpieces both during and after the Cold
War. Sustainable development and environmental protection norms became
Swedish standards that were up-loaded to the European Union when Sweden
joined. This was the opposite of the normal downloading of standards that has
usually been the case with candidate countries mostly accepting the  legis-
lation and standards in the membership negotiations. To make the  accept
Sweden’s ecological and environmental protection norms, the country used its
favourable image, made the most of the Council Presidency as an amplier of
those national interests, exploited the potential of its small national adminis-
tration and, nally, it established and made the most of a close relationship
with the Commission. No wonder that these ecological and environmental
protection norms were also accepted as a blueprint for the Baltics. Accepting
them from the Nordic countries has symbolised becoming modern and
(Western) European; leaving behind the real and mental legacy of the systemic
backwardness of the Soviet era.
In this regard, Estonia is a case in point as a major part of its environmental
policy-making takes place within the framework of international and regional
cooperation. During the 1990s external nancial assistance and technical
expertise have played an important role in the development of Estonian envi-
ronmental administration and policy. The cooperation with Finland was par-
ticularly remarkable, following unocial cooperation between Finnish and
Estonian environmental s that had already existed during the 1970s. In
1991 an intergovernmental agreement on environmental cooperation between
Finland and Estonia was signed and it was the rst international treaty Estonia
signed after regaining its independence. This act established a pattern of
relationships also in other domains, but being recognised by Finland as a part-
ner and making the protection of nature an issue of mutual concern has set
priorities in the policy arena for Estonia ever since.
It lies beyond the scope of this chapter to map all the instances when the
Baltic States have taken over external norms on environmental protection, but
in addition to Finland, also Sweden, Denmark, and many international and
regional stakeholders such as the , the International Monetary Fund ()
and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (), have
 See Ingebritsen, “Norm Entrepreneurs”; Eckerberg, “Sweden: Progression”; Glover, “Unity
Exposed,” 232–235.
 Magnúsdóttir & órhallsson, “The Nordic States,” 209; Lanfermann, “How does the devel-
opmental process,” 20–25.
 Magnusdóttir, “Small States’ Power.”
 Kontio & Kuitto, “Environmental Governance,” 97–98.
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been involved, especially during the rst years of the transition. However, in
the context of Nordic norm setting, the Estonian example is remarkable as the
country has not only adhered to the environmental norms but it has also used
them to act like a Nordic country for the purpose of imaging itself as one of
them. Nowadays it is not so much environmental protection, but a green
growth strategy that Estonia has embraced as a progressive Nordic norm. It is
all the more important as this time it has been ushered in under the banner of
the Nordic Council of Ministers for which green growth has become one of the
priorities to promote. On 22 September 2011 the Nordic Council’s homepage
announced that the “Nordic representations in the Baltic States boost green
growth in the Baltic Sea Region” and that
from 15–17 September 2011 the Estonian-Nordic Green Growth Festival
ROHEVIK in Tartu and Tallinn looked to the kind of future that will be
built on sustainable and environmentally friendly ways of life, with a
focus on electric cars.
Reading news like this leads to the conclusion that the discourse which earlier
elevated environmental protection as a Nordic brand, now with the help from
the Baltic partners, sees economic progress through green growth as a new
Nordic marker in the world. Framing it as intrinsically progressive and cou-
pling it with the alleged backwardness of non-Nordic states, allows the Nordic
countries to maintain a hegemonic position in promoting Nordic values, strat-
egies and outlooks in their near abroad.
Exercising Symbolic Power
Nordic norm entrepreneurship establishing Nordic-Baltic power relations
have also rested on the direct transfer of institutional solutions, grafting them
onto the body of newly re-born Baltic democracies. It included the renewal of
 The attempts of branding Estonia as a Nordic country go back to the former foreign min-
ister (now president) Toomas Hendrik Ilves’ metaphor from 1998 of Estonia being a Yule-
land and, in fact, a Nordic country. See Paul Jordan’s chapter in this volume.
 See the Nordic Prime Ministers’ 2011 initiative “The Nordic Region – leading the way in
green growth”:
 Nordic Council of Ministers, “Nordic representations in the Baltic States boost green
growth in the Baltic Sea Region”:
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    
the holdings of the public libraries in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the train-
ing of public service personnel, and enabling hundreds of civil servants, aca-
demics, politicians and future diplomats from the three Baltic republics to
receive Western-style training and degrees. Assistance for public libraries and
for integrating Baltic scholarship and academics into the Western epistemic
community are analysed below as specic case studies.
Assistance to the education sectors in the Baltic States was initiated in the
1990s. The aim was to give the republics a modern school management system,
let them gain access to the (Western) European norms and standards and
allow them to participate in a broader network of West–East co-operation pro-
moting better understanding and mutual support. These aims seemed obvi-
ous in the light of the dilapidated state of their education systems at all levels
where the Soviet style of teaching dominated, and outdated and poor infra-
structure could not provide any promising point of departure. A contemporary
eyewitness described the situation in Latvia as:
The academic establishment is overstafed, underpaid, and fearful of
changes. It lacks internal and public support for purposeful and energetic
actions…. From the Baltic perspective, it is almost impossible to suggest
priorities. Almost everything can be included…. I see academic reform
not so much as a grand program, but more as separate projects making a
larger whole…. The libraries of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, Riga
Technical University, and the University of Latvia are technically back-
ward. They also lack traditions of service to the public, and they lack peri-
odical resources.
For anybody studying the state of higher education in the Baltic republics it
was clear that the Soviet legacy in the Baltic countries had caused “more dam-
age, and probably substantially more lasting damage, to higher education than
was the case in Eastern Europe.” For these reasons the domains of education,
higher education and research cooperation became critically important areas
for assistance.
One of the more successful cases has been Nordic-Baltic co-operation in
public health training. Reporting on this in 2002 Lennart Köhler and Leena
Eklund wrote:
 Council of Europe, Legislative Reform Programme, 138–145.
 Gundar King’s letter quoted from “Baltic Interlude,” in Quandt, Changing Landscape, 255.
 Ibid.
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A mission from the Nordic School of Public Health () to the Baltic
countries in 1992 ascertained that a postgraduate training programme in
Public Health was needed and wanted by the new leaders of the liberated
The citation demonstrates how obvious the assistance appeared and to what
extent the benefactors and the recipients accepted its framework, especially
when it was buttressed with extra funding from the Nordic Council of Ministers,
initial help from / and personal and institutional support from the
Baltic Ministers of Health and the Rectors and Deans of the Baltic universities.
As a result, the BRIMHEALTH Programme (Baltic Rim Partnership for Public
Health) was launched in 1993, from the beginning including Estonia, Latvia,
Lithuania, Poland and the area of St Petersburg. Despite the obvious discrep-
ancy in know-how and equipment, the agreed memorandum of understand-
ing institutionalised a very democratic structure of decision making and an
advisory group consisting of representatives of all participating institutions.
The advisory group was to review and approve all proposals for courses, the
general curriculum and the strategic plan of BRIMHEALTH, as well as to select
students to the courses. For all project participants it became clear that the
strategy of the Nordic benefactors was not so much to impose norms, but rather
to work together towards sustainable development of public health training,
thereby securing the long-term success of this project. Initial assistance has
been transformed into mutual cooperation.
Apart from individual bilateral actions, such as the above mentioned
BRIMHEALTH, a frequent point of departure for assisting the Baltic States
wasprovided by common regional institutions, often initiated under the aus-
pices of the Nordic Council. One of them was EuroFaculty, launched on the
initiative of the Council of the Baltic Sea States in 1993. EuroFaculty ofered
training programmes in law, public administration and economics for civil
servants, administrators and academics in the Baltic republics over the period
1993–2005. However, it was obvious that the apparent partnership of interna-
tional donors, organised under the auspices of the Norwegian and Danish
EuroFaculty directors, with the local universities in Riga, Tartu and Vilnius, actu-
ally remained externally shaped, driven and inuenced by Western academic
governance norms and agencies. No matter how benign the intentions behind
the establishment of EuroFaculty might have been, due to the American,
 Köhler & Eklund, “Brimhealth,” 152.
 Köhler & Eklund, “Brimhealth.
 See Kristensen, Born into a Dream.
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British, German and Nordic donors’ advantages of cultural, as well as economic
capital, the partnership was permeated by relations of power clearly favouring
the hegemonic position of foreign teachers and directors. European norms of
how to organise academic work and what to teach in order to provide ideas of
good governance for all EuroFaculty students were channelled by Nordic
administrators and reinforced later by attractive job openings. As it later
turned out, EuroFaculty attracted outstanding Baltic students and made a sig-
nicant impact on the Baltic university and political system. A former
EuroFaculty student, Kaspars Balodis, became Dean of Law at the University
of Latvia in 2002 and later, in 2006, Judge at the Constitutional Court in Latvia.
Another EuroFaculty student, Vytautas Nekrosius, became Dean of Law at
Vilnius University in 2003. EuroFaculty delivered highly qualied staf to the
national banks and the central administration in the Baltic States, as well as to
the World Trade Organisation and the World Bank. Several members of the
Baltic parliaments are former EuroFaculty students. One of its rst students,
Nils Ushakovs became Mayor of Riga in 2009. Baiba Rivža became Minister of
Education and Science in Latvia in 2006. Vjačeslavs Dombrovskis, the current
Latvian Minister of Economy is also a EuroFaculty alumni and former Teaching
From the current vantage point one can see that many EuroFaculty gradu-
ates have become ‘translators’ and ‘brokers’ of Nordic ideas concerning good
governance, public policy, academic quality and higher education in general.
Thanks to the above mentioned prominent individuals and other, lesser known
graduates and all those involved in the EuroFaculty programme in the recipi-
ent countries, the Western-sponsored education and training organised by the
Nordic directors has had lasting success in the shape of all the participating
students and local teachers. Through EuroFaculty it was possible to establish a
reliable and solid agency in the Baltic States which is likely to remain friendly
and favourable to the Nordic and other Western benefactors long beyond the
life-span of the EuroFaculty project itself.
While EuroFaculty was an example of norm setting in the domain of educa-
tion, the case of reforming public libraries and information science education
ofers insights into yet another initiative to invest the Baltic republics with
Nordic institutional patterns and meanings. A richer and more knowledge-
able group of teachers arriving from the Nordic countries acted as modernisers
coming to facilitate the transformation of post-Soviet Eastern Europe. The
 Opinion based on personal interviews of the author conducted when he acted as an
evaluator of the Nordplus programme in the Baltic States in 2010.
 Müller, Husem, Akre & Kretaviciene, “Transfer of knowledge.
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systematic modernisation of Baltic libraries and Library and Information
Science () education started with Nordic assistance to the independent
Baltic States in the 1990s. New study programmes aimed at education and re-
training of librarians were introduced, new institutes created and staf
employed to implement changes in both the educational and cultural spheres.
During the Soviet past, the external inuence on the libraries was political,
economic and juridical, so after regaining independence the need to create
new library legislation, recalibrate the whole information infrastructure and
develop it towards the changing conditions was obvious. Ideas and assistance
for realising reforms in  education came from the Nordic countries, though
extra close contacts on a bilateral basis were realised in partnerships between
Estonia with Finland, Latvia with Sweden and Lithuania with Denmark. In
many respects these partnerships functioned as a lifeline for the Baltic part-
ners because, as in the case of  institutions in Lithuania, after regaining
independence they were in a position
with very few resources for survival, and almost without students, as the
situation of libraries was so poor that no one in his right mind would have
dreamed of becoming a librarian.
A key goal for the Nordic benefactors was to internationalise the curriculum
and provide frameworks for continuing education, thus setting the agenda for
the future pattern of Nordic-Baltic communication in this domain. One of the
major obstacles to achieving this seemed to be a lack of funds for cooperation
projects on part of the Baltic, to cover costs for visiting teachers and for travel
and other expenses for participants. The fact that all Nordic countries had
established special funds to support the development of democracy in the
Baltic area came in handy, and the Nordic schools spent some of their own
resources too.
The internationalisation agenda required a common international lan-
guage, which from the Nordic point of view was English. However, on the part
of the Baltic partners their often insucient command of English and their
universal uency in Russian that previously had been the common language in
the academia, did not make this choice so obvious. Nevertheless, for diferent
reasons English became a language of instruction and communication instead
of Russian. Opting for English was benecial for both parties, which arguably
 Virkus & Harbo, “Internationalisation,” 231.
 Ibid.
 Ibid.
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    
created a durable disposition and framed the Nordic-Baltic communication in
a new way. For the Baltic participants using English, while oftentimes learning
it by doing it in a more dialogic learning environment provided by the Nordic
teachers, meant distancing themselves from their Soviet heritage by acquiring
skills that gave access to the Western cultural, civilizatory package. For the
Nordic teachers, administrators and politicians using English allowed them
to establish their dominance by proxy, i.e. they utilised the attractiveness of
English as a symbol and bearer of values of the international and cosmopoli-
tan West.
Apart from the English language as a means of communication, the way of
teaching reected the Nordic tradition of dialogic relationships between
teachers and students, and introduced problem-based learning into the curri-
cula. These policies were successful to the extent that within a decade Baltic
and Nordic colleagues were able to cooperate as seemingly equal partners, as
seen for instance in Nordis-Net that supported PhD education and research
through courses, seminars and mobility grants for research students and tutors
in the Nordic-Baltic area.
As demonstrated above, in a post-Cold War setting the three Baltic republics
have been particularly targeted by Nordic foreign policy activism and develop-
ment assistance. The Nordic states have given their assistance individually,
each in their own specic way, but they have also used the platform of com-
mon Nordic institutions, thereby branding ‘Nordicity’ and constructing their
new ‘Nordic-Baltic identity’ in the context of Baltic Sea regional cooperation.
The Nordic assistance and patronage of the Baltic States was accompanied by
a discourse establishing a hegemonic symbolic power and was permeated by
symbolic violence, to use the terminology ofered by Bourdieu, which arguably
has had a lasting efect on the ways and means of the region building in this
area. The three Baltic republics have been discursively framed into the position
of recipients of the norms and ideas, skilfully communicated by the Nordic
norm entrepreneurs. Their symbolic capital was a form of power that was not
 The author wishes to thank Nikolas Glover for drawing his attention to the symbolic value
of the English language in this context.
 Virkus & Harbo, “Internationalisation,” 233.
 Musiał, “Reconstructing Nordic Signicance,” 295–297.
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perceived as power but as legitimate demands for recognition, deference, obe-
dience, or the services of others.
Now, if Bourdieu is right about the economy of symbolic goods; then through
establishing their symbolic power the Nordic benefactors certainly contrib-
uted to a lasting change in Nordic-Baltic relations by accumulating symbolic
capital related to their ‘disinterestedness.’ Thanks to this the Nordic agents
were able to transform their initial economic and structural domination into
emotional relations while their hegemonic position and norm setting was
transformed into charisma and recognition. Disinterestedness being rmly
established as a part of the Nordic habitus, which in the case of Nordic-Baltic
relations was corroborated by the actual practice of substantial assistance, the
Nordic involvement in the Baltic States should be interpreted more broadly
than merely as benevolent and disinterested development aid. Bourdieu warns
us that the social worlds, in which disinterestedness is an ocial norm, are
arguably governed not by disinterestedness. He claims that behind the appear-
ances of charity, virtuousness and benevolence there are concealed vested
interests. From a sociological perspective the disinterestedness is possible only
when agents with a habitus-based disposition to disinterestedness are rewarded
for it. Looking at the Nordic-Baltic relationship it may be argued that Nordic
benefactors have been rewarded rst by gaining inuence and later by trans-
forming the power imbalance into a dialogic partnership among the ve
Nordic and three Baltic States (8).
As a matter of fact, the reward may be even greater as the potential of
the 8 group could be instrumental in European politics in the future. For
instance, 8 appeared attractive enough for the British Prime Minister, David
Camerron, who after the 2010 general election initiated the formation of a -
Nordic-Baltic Forum (now called the Northern Future Forum). This annual and
fairly informal forum has been seen as the deliberate building of an alternative
power bloc within the . Even if this project may turn out to be unrealistic,
in their dealings with the Baltic States the Nordics have certainly added a new
dimension to an ecient use of soft power in international politics. Focusing
on the dialogic partnership opens a discussion of the Nordic involvement with
the Baltic States as a case of public diplomacy. While the Nordic countries have
not explicitly used this framework or called their dealings with the Baltic States’
public diplomacy, I would like to test Nordic-Baltic relations with respect to
 Swartz, Culture and Power, 43.
 Bourdieu, Practical Reason, 93, and Bourdieu, The Logic of Practice, 122–134.
 Bourdieu, Practical Reason, 87–88.
 “Cameron ies to Stockholm to strengthen alliance,” Financial Times, 8 February 2012.
For use by the Author only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
    
four categories developed by Mark Leonard, a former British government con-
sultant and adviser. In his instrumental and functional approach he mentions
a hierarchy of impacts that public diplomacy can achieve, i.e.: (1) Increasing
people’s familiarity with one’s country (making them think about it, updating
their images, turning around unfavourable opinions), (2) Increasing people’s
appreciation of one’s country (creating positive perceptions, getting others to
see issues of global importance from the same perspective), (3) Engaging peo-
ple with one’s country (strengthening ties – from education reform to scien-
tic co-operation; encouraging people to see us as an attractive destination for
tourism, study, distance learning; getting them to buy our products; getting to
understand and subscribe to our values), (4) Inuencing people (getting com-
panies to invest, publics to back our positions or politicians to turn to us as a
favoured partner).
Referring to the rst impact, it may be stated that thanks to the eforts of the
individual Nordic countries, as well as to the collective eforts of the Nordic
Council, both decision makers as well as the general public in the Baltic States
were made familiar with their Nordic neighbours across the Baltic Sea. The
mere fact that the Nordic states were among the rst to recognise the indepen-
dence of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in 1991, meant that they at least momen-
tarily attracted signicant international media attention. The information
campaigns about the Nordic countries delivered by the representatives of the
Nordic Council and its information oces established a positive-laden image
of this part of the world. These activities led to the conveying of particular
images and notions pertaining to the Nordic autostereotypes, such as equality
and prosperity, respect for democratic institutions and human rights, consen-
sualism and peace-making skills. In terms of Leonard’s hierarchy of impacts,
they served to increase the Baltic people’s appreciation of the Nordic countries
and creating positive perceptions.
As this chapter has demonstrated, Nordic norm entrepreneurs have been
particularly successful in addressing Leonard’s third public policy goal by
engaging a great number of politicians, educators, students and common indi-
viduals in the Baltic countries with the Nordic countries. Assistance in library
infrastructure and personnel development, the establishment and mainte-
nance of formal and informal ties – from reform of education for the needs of
public administration to scientic co-operation and exchange of cutting-edge
research achievements – all have contributed to encouraging the Baltics to see
the Nordic countries, and recognise them as attractive destinations for tourism
and study. Last but not least, it has also contributed to Baltic citizens acquainting
 Leonard, Public Diplomacy, 9–10.
For use by the Author only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
themselves with, and subscribing to, Nordic values. Finally, with respect to the
fourth of Leonard’s impacts; inuencing people – the Nordic countries have
gained the support of the publics of the Baltic States in backing Nordic posi-
tions (eg. human rights, green growth initiatives etc) and Baltic politicians
commonly accept the Nordics as favoured partners.
The apparent success of Nordic-Baltic relations since the 1990s provides pos-
sibly a Nordic recipe for successful engagement with the  neighbouring states
and candidate countries. The  enlargement of 2004, that was signicantly
shaped by the Danish presidency of the  in 2002, can serve as an example of
utilising the potential that  membership and the  presidency can ofer to a
small state. Prior to the meeting in Copenhagen there were diferent visions of
the enlargement process and it was far from obvious whether all Baltic coun-
tries or only Estonia should be admitted in the rst group of countries to join
the  in 2004. Active agenda setting and pushing for the ‘big’ enlargement
with 10 new members of the  had a very practical result for Denmark:
The active eforts made towards pushing the enlargement process for-
ward, crowned by the nal round of negotiations in Copenhagen, have
generated a large degree of goodwill and trust towards Denmark from
new Member States. This is a good starting point for Denmark’s ability to
safeguard its interests in an enlarged and transformed . …Particularly
with regard to relations with the three Baltic States, a basis exists for
fostering cooperation, which eventually might bear resemblance to the
solidarity and quality characterising Denmark’s relations with the other
Nordic countries.
Indeed, seen from the perspective of the now decade long membership of the
Baltic States in the , Denmark and other Nordic states have skilfully used the
window of opportunity which their particular relations with the Baltic States
have ofered. Already in 2010 the Nordic Council of Ministers could boast that:
We have a very well-established cooperation framework. Besides the 8
nations, several regional organizations are also active, including the
Nordic Council of Ministers, the Baltic Assembly, the Nordic Council, the
, the Council for the Baltic Sea States, the Council of Europe and .
 Birkavs, V. & Gade, S., 8 Wise Men Report.
 See Musiał, “Poland as a Baltic Sea State,” 289–307.
 Regeringen, A Changing World, 10.
For use by the Author only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
    
The practical cooperation is active in a wide range of spheres and on dif-
ferent levels.
As this chapter has demonstrated, Nordic assistance, the concurrent transmis-
sion of values and the institutionalisation of Nordic norms have all managed to
establish a hegemonic discourse where the roles of benefactors, who had a
lasting disposition for development aid, and receivers, who had a temporal dis-
position to absorb norms and standards coming from the West, have been
clearly dened and adhered to. At the same time, by entering into dialogic rela-
tionships with the Baltic partners in the recent years, the Nordic agents have
been able to guarantee the sustainability of their symbolic power and capital.
The relationship between norm setters and norm followers, know-how provid-
ers and know-how consumers that had been cognitively framed in the early
1990s, was transformed, at least discursively, into a community of 8 in which
there is a disposition for using equity and dialogue to set a new agenda for the
common future.
 Birkavs, V. & Gade, S., 8 Wise Men Report, 3. Nordic-Baltic Eight stands for a regional
co-operation format including ve Nordic and three Baltic states for raising and review-
ing regional issues by their ocial representatives and experts.
... Besides cultural and geopolitical commonalities, the contemporary political significance of the Nordic model as a successful socio-economic constellation on the global scale and the prominent role of the Nordics in world politics further explicate the authority and significance of the Nordic countries in the Estonian context. Recognised as successful norm-setters in the international political arena, the Nordic countries also took a leading role in cooperating with their Baltic neighbours to support the transitional reforms and their preparation for European integration (Bergman 2006;Browning 2007;Jurkynas 2004;Musial 2015). ...
... On the other hand, there are also aspects which problematise and question the view of Estonia and the other Baltic states as 'eager followers' of the Nordics (cf. Musial 2015). The first governments of the restored Estonian state, inspired by the Thatcherist and Reaganist ideology that was at its peak in the early 1990s, introduced neoliberal economic and social policies that were quite at odds with the Nordic model. ...
... The extensive and multifaceted role of the Nordic countries in assisting the complex social, political and economic transformations in the Baltics since the early 1990s has accordingly been interpreted as a deliberate strategy to strengthen their authority both in the Baltic region as well as in Europe at large by exporting Nordic principles, standards and practices to their southern neighbours (Browning 2007;Ingebritsen 2006;Jurkynas 2004;Musial 2015). Their efforts in the Baltics have been considered to be rather successful. ...
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The chapter analyses the appropriation of the Nordic brand in the Estonian political discourse and its dynamics over the past 25 years. Based on the analysis of a comprehensive dataset of public texts of the major Estonian politicians across the political spectrum, the article focuses on two aspects: first, how Nordicity has been represented and constructed in the Estonian political discourse, as well as the ways in which it has been both contested and problematised by the political elite; and, second, which elements from the particular representations of Nordicity have been included in the national self-image(s) and identity narratives of the country suggested by the national politicians. The empirical material allows us to follow consistencies and variations in these aspects both from the political–ideological spectrum and from a temporal perspective by covering the 25-year period, including the early stages of state- and nation-building processes and re-establishing oneself as a sovereign political actor in the international arena, the accessions with international organisations like EU and NATO, as well as shifts in the ideological leaning of the domestic ruling coalition.
... Parts of this process were according to Musiał a Nordic ''norm-setting'' in the Baltics where ''Westernization'' through adapting Nordic models was seen as an attractive way to reform society by the governments in the Baltic States. With this came the rhetoric of Nordic cooperation and the creation of a Baltic region (Musiał, 2015). This present article is therefore also a contribution to how this Westernization with a Nordic touch was carried out in practice. ...
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After the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 Sweden set aside large sums for development assistance for the neighboring countries around the Baltic Sea as a part of the general European assistance to Eastern Europe. The Swedish Public Diplomacy institution, the Swedish Institute (SI), was assigned the task to carry out large scholarship programs for the region, larger than the Institute had ever handled before. This turn towards Eastern Europe was the start for a change in the focus of Swedish Public Diplomacy in general which in turn led to a restructuring of the Institute. The article investigates this development on two levels. First of all it traces the different political motives behind the post-1990 exchange programs in order to explain which role academic exchange with Sweden was supposed to play within the Eastern European postcommunist transition. Secondly it investigates what this politically motivated Swedish interest in Eastern Europe has meant for the Swedish Institute as an organization and for contemporary Swedish public diplomacy in general.
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The climate policy of each of the Baltic states is shaped by external and internal conditions. As for the main external factors, they undoubtedly include the EU’s climate and energy policy and the activity of the Nordic countries in favour of sustainable development. For three decades, the European Union has been the leader in energy transformation and combating the global greenhouse gas emissions. EU’s activities to date are founded on three pillars, namely: reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the use of energy from renewable sources, and raising energy efficiency. Despite several noticeable shortcomings, such as the operation of the EU Emissions Trading System – especially in its initial phases, the European Union managed to reach the assumed target of a 20% reduction in emission in 2020. A wide scope of concrete programmes has also been implemented in relation to promoting the circular economy, reducing transport-related emissions and adapting to climatic changes. 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Therefore, they set ambitious national goals of reducing greenhouse gas emission, aiming at climate neutrality before 2035 (Finland), 2045 (Sweden) or 2050 (Denmark and Norway). The effective influence of the Nordic countries on the international environment stems from their traditional and flexible approach focused on the constant search for a consensus in internal policies as well as believing in the quality of the proposed solutions for climate and energy policies. Their active foreign policy also plays an important role. It is based on the engagement in the activities of international organisations (UN, EU, NCM) and the political and economic cooperation with their allies (“green diplomacy”). The policies of the Nordic countries also influenced the efforts of the Baltic states to mitigate climate change, mainly in the political sphere. Those states promised their support for the model of economic and social changes initiated by the Nordic countries. 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Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia notice actual progress in the use of renewable sources, as the share of renewable energy in total consumption is gradually exceeding the assumed targets. Latvia is in a particularly favourable position as its rich water resources are used by the hydropower sector. The increased share of RES in electricity generation is also highly dynamic. Lithuania and Estonia still obtain weaker results than Latvia (18%, 19% and 53% respectively) and are below the EU average (32%). Energy efficiency of residential buildings and reducing emission in the transport sector, the share of which in the overall balance of emissions remains large, remain the important challenges faces by Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. When it comes to Estonia, the fact that electricity generation highly depends on shale mining raises additional concerns about the high costs of political, economic and social adaptation. 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The current state of Area Studies bears witness to the change that academic disciplines in the social sciences and humanities undergo in response to the evolving social reality. This concerns both the content of Area Studies, their theoretical and methodological foundations, as well as their potential relevance and popularity. In this context, the domain of Scandinavian Area Studies as a very popular study programme offered at the University of Gdansk is a case in point. To put the development of Area Studies and Scandinavian Studies into the right perspective, this chapter proceeds by outlining the development of Area Studies as an academic discipline, and by showing its origins, scholarly popularity and political contingency as well as its alleged crisis ensuing after the Cold War has ended. Then, the perspective of Area Studies that now seek their way out of the crisis will be used as a possible frame of reference for the Scandinavian Studies. Finally, a number of solutions offered to reinvent Area Studies will be discussed. Special attention will be given to ascertaining the role of language in this process, not least with respect to its value as a means of imposing symbolic power in educational environments and in the academic discourse. In this context high quality teaching of less common languages like the Scandinavian ones may be seen as part and parcel of the solution sought by the epistemic community pursuing Area Studies.
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