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CIAO DATE: 4/99
Schleswig-Holstein goes international
The German Bundesland as a regional actor in the Baltic Sea region
Copenhagen Peace Research Institute
I. Introduction 1
In the Baltic Sea region, the significance of region is increasing. To articulate and push forward region specific interests, acting regional became an important part of European, national and local politics. It is understood to cross borders and thereby helps to overcome the separating lines which stem from the former systemic conflict in Europe. Cooperation seems to be the other overriding policy scheme in Europe, finally leading to the goal of integration. Cooperation does not only take place among the nation states in the European Union, the growing cooperation between regions in European also gets obvious. This regional cooperation, which resulted in an intensive and institutionalized cooperation network in the Baltic Sea region, has its specific importance, as it helps to guarantee people to retain their own regional identity in spite of the European Unions growing political and economic weight. 2
Here, cooperation also works in direction of decentralization, with regions building the European base by creating regional corner stones and thereby verifying the variety of Europe. The major international organizations EU and NATO are present in the Baltic Sea region and the regional sub-structures connect them with the non-members. Regions foster cooperation among states as well as on lower administrative levels such as counties and Länder in the different states. Meanwhile a rather strong net of cooperative bodies is acting in the Baltic Sea Region, comprising more than 70 different organizations, fora and initiatives.
This paper focuses on the Baltic Sea region as a part of Northern Europe. The Baltic Sea region includes ten countries and a number of regions around the Baltic rim. 3 , The overall region covers approx. one third of Europe by geographical size and even more of the continents natural resources. 4 With approx. 40 Mio. inhabitants is a comparatively small region with respect to population, but may play an increasingly important part in the overall European setting. In terms of economy and political integration the region is located between Brussels and Moscow and in terms of security policy between Washington, Amsterdam and Moscow.
This paper will elaborate on the role, importance and substance of the German Bundesland Schleswig-Holstein as a regional actor in the Baltic Sea region. It seeks to answer the questions of why and how the Baltic Sea region policy in Schleswig-Holstein was established and how is it organized? What are the primary objectives behind the implementation of such foreign policy activities. What are the achievements and the problems?
To do so it seems necessary to define the framework in which Schleswig-Holstein is active. The German Bundesland is embedded in a geographical and political frame. The first is given by its regional position. However, this does not mean geopolitics in a traditional sense. Even though geopolitics still influence foreign and security policy, the new structure of the European system in general and the Baltic Sea region in particular, seems better characterized by increasing interdependence based on common interests. Both creates strong factors for Schleswig-Holsteins policy orientation. They are not confined by state borders, but rather develop their own regional orientation. Thereby acting inter-regional as well as intra-regional.
The political frame for politics splits up into different levels, where various and often interdependent actors are located. In the exercise of this paper I follow a top down description. First, starting with a brief description of Germany as an actor in the European system. Elaborating on its approach towards EU and NATO as the main German policy focus and evaluating its policy towards the Baltic Sea Region.
The paper starts with an outline of the fundamentals of German foreign and security policy towards the Baltic Sea Region as the general frame in which Schleswig-Holstein has to follow its own political goals. The interests of Schleswig-Holstein in the Baltic Sea region and the basic pillars of the cooperation structure will be described next. They comprise of cross-border and interregional activities, as well as regional and local authorities. They include partnership agreements between regions and/or municipalities as well as net-works of partnership cooperation like the Euro-regions and other forms of project oriented cooperation. Such cooperation possibly offers the opportunity to realize a policy of partnership with Russia, dealing with Russia as one regional actor among others.
Meanwhile a great variety of institutionalized sub-regional structures exist, as for example:
The Parliamentary Conference. This body was founded in 1992 as a co-operation and dialogue stimulating undertaking for the countries in the BSR. In 1998 the conference was particularly focusing on the regional consequences of the EU expansion to eastern Europe and the contacts between the people in the region.The Council of Baltic Sea States (CBSS). This Baltic intergovernmental forum was launched by the then Danish Foreign Minister Uffe Ellemann-Jensen and his German counterpart Hans Dietrich Genscher in autumn 1991. The representatives of the nine Baltic Sea littoral countries Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russian and Sweden plus Norway the Commission of the then European Community established the CBSS in March 1992. In 1996 also Iceland was included. 5 The Baltic Sea Subregional Council (BSSC). After the CBSS was founded in 1992, the Council needed a platform for the cooperation with the regional authorities. In 1993 the sub-regions founded the BSSSC. It has three main objectives. First, it is a political interest organization for the sub-regional authorities. Second, the BSSSC is an umbrella organization for many actors and organizations in the region. The third objective is to be a place for exchange of experiences and the creation of new partnerships. They incorporate also more local level actors in Schleswig-Holstein, such as institutions and organizations. An analysis of the present situation and the future importance of an increased Baltic Sea cooperation for the countries Schleswig-Holstein and Germany concludes the paper.
Cooperation in the Baltic Sea region offers major opportunities for the countries. Schleswig-Holstein discovered this and has been involved much earlier than the federal government in Germany. Obviously it is an interesting case, worth elaboration. However, so far there are rather limited sources, official and non-official. Therefore it is not possible to track down certain aspects to the extent and degree they deserve.
II. The region a diverse entity
The region seems properly described by an entity in diversity. 6 Ten independent states, a rather complex structure of affiliation to different international and European organizations, as well as standards of living varying to a great degree between the eastern and western part of the Baltic Sea. Particularly the differences expressed in wellfare figures are rather extreme. On average, the standard of living in the West is five to ten times higher than in the East, depending on meqasuring purchasing power parities or GDP comparison at current exchange rates. 7
Obviously the regional structures are rather complex. Even though the post-war order came to an end and cooperation and regionalization mark the overriding policy scheme, competition among states in the region is still alive. States try to foster their competitive national and international policy goals by incorporating and supporting other regional interests.
Political statements of enhancing regional integration and partnership, resulting in almost contrived multilateralism, should also not make forget, that behind it, political self-interest is still alive. Not least with the aim to counterbalance the weight of Germany in Europe and to keep the Americans involved in the region. Also Scandinavian competitiveness among each other belongs to it. Therefore, cooperation and competition are parallel processes.
But the nation states partly also loose their political grip on the developments in the region. The increasingly growing integration transfers functions from the states to supranational institutions and organizations such as European Union, Meanwhile, the European Union also works on the regional and even Sub-regional level, fostering a variety of programs.
The European Union´s Structural Fonds provided more than 600 Miollion ECU in support of cross-border, interregional and transnational cooperation dujring the planning period for the Baltic Sea Region from 1994-1999. 8 The additional PHARE CBC (cross border cooperation) and TACIS CBC programs provide for funding possibilities for the neighboring third countries.
A more recent political initiative, stressing the regional orientation of the EU was the Finnish idea, that the EU should develop a strategy for its external relations. It was put forward by Finnlands prime minister Paavo Lipponen. The initiative Northern Dimension was started in April 1997. It was supposed to influence the determination of the interest of the whole Union in and around the northern seas. 9 The initiative is understood to particularly offer possibilities to involve Russia in Western cooperation. 10
The initiative clearly focuses on the resources of northwest Russia. This is where major raw materials are located - important for the future industrial development in the European Union. The Baltic Sea provides for transport routes for the gas, oil and other raw materials. 11 Obviously, beside expressing a Finnish pro-Union attitude, the initiative might also be understood as a means to promote legitimate Finnish national and regional interest within the Union.
Another important body for the political developments in the Baltic Sea Region is the Council of Baltic Sea States (CBSS). The CBSS goes beyond the traditional regional organizations such as the Nordic Council or even the Baltic Council, as both combined nation states that felt they belonged together as Scandinavian or Baltic. The CBSS comprises diversified states with a similar policy focus on Sub-regional level and includes even the regional supreme power Russia. 12 At the initial stage in 1992 the CBSS was planned as a more informal body for meetings of the foreign ministers. But the CBSS became an institutionalized international organization after a permanent secretariat was established in Stockholm.
Additional regional and sub-regional cooperation on sub-state level, i.e. by local authorities and actors represents a type of activity which to a certain extent can be independent from the nation state. Such a community of interests tries to actively pursue their own region specific interests, without having the nation state involved. Therefore integration and independence are parallel processes in the region as well.
The Baltic Sea region also shows a considerable amount of coherence, to list just some examples: First, by geography, all countries have common borders or are linked by the sea. Second, by a more or less common culture and history which dates back to medieval times. Including periods of rather intense integration and unification. Third by the increasing political networking which developed after the end of the bloc confrontation which until the 90s had divided the region for half a century. Fourth and finally, by a growing networking in economy.
In the latter field of economy a different weight of economic exchange in the region gets particularly obvious if we take a closer look on the export and import flows in the region. Germany is much more important as an export partner to Scandinavia, Poland, Russia and the Baltic States as vice versa. In 1991 Germany was already the single biggest export market for most of the northern countries, with exports ranging between 13 and 25 per cent for the single countries in the region.
German exports to the region were of lesser significance. None of the countries was among the six leading export markets for German products. The four Scandinavian countries together would make up for the 6 th biggest export market for Germany. 13 Summung up one can state, that merely every country in the Baltic Sea region depends on Germany as an export market. Due to the rather limited size of markets in the region, Germany does not have any major export market in the region.
The general economic picture of the region has improved considerable during the recent years. The economies have turned from a dramatic decline in the eastern part of the Baltic Sea region to favorable growth rates in all sides of the Baltic Sea. The Baltic Sea region is right now experiencing a stronger economic expansion than most other regions in Europe. A growing number of foreign enterprises are rediscovering the region as offering good business opportunities. 14
Obviously, with the beginning of the 90s the Baltic Sea region became more crucial for the economic prospects of Europe. 15 It constitutes the gateway to Russia and the best way to link Russia to Europe. The richer countries in the west are supporting the countries in the east with capital, technology and know how. The results are stunning. Taking into account their low point of departure, the newly independent democracies in the Baltic Sea region constitute a booming spot. Europes two fastest growing economies (excepting those rebuilding from war) are Estonia and Poland with an growth rate of 8 per cent in Estonia and 6.9 per cent in Poland in 1997. 16 How the present serious economic and financial crisis in Russia will affect the situation needs to be seen.
In 1996 Germany and Scandinavian countries exported goods worth approx. 29 billion dollar to the eastern Baltic countries and regional trade is expected to rise approx. a third every year. 17 This has also impact on the export trade of Schleswig-Holstein. The export to Russia alone, nearly doubled in 1997, rising from 250 Million DM in 1995 to 450 Million DM in 1997. 18
The economic importance of the region is obvious and economic exchange between the countries grew significantly in the recent years. It seems obvious, that the European Agreements between the EU and the applicant countries in the region as well as the liberalization of intra-regional trade have provided a considerable boost to the well-being of the countries in the region. 19
Today, the stronges trades links are among Poland and Germany. During the recent years Poland sent aprrox. 30 to 50 per cent of ist exports to Germany. The second strongest trade realtion between East and West is among Estonia and Finland. Approx. 20 per cent of Estonias export went to Finland. The conclusion is that new trading patterns are rapidly building up in the BSR. The two distinctive former blocs, centered around Germany and Russia respectively, have been dissolved and a new, much more complex trading pattern is being established. 20
At present, the largest markets and trading partners within Germany are still located in the central and southern Länder. The northern parts with their direct borders to the Baltic Sea mostly play a role for transit and a base for distribution and trading activities . 21
The economic developments show the importance of trade for the region. The region is interdependent on trade. Trade interdependence between the countries is one of the key justifications for referring to these diverse group of states as being part of a region. 22 Therefore, trade is an important factor for a country as Schleswig-Holstein with its relative less developed industrial sector.
Even though economic diversity is still a prominent feature in the Baltic Sea region, the recent accelerating process of economic and political integration with the accession of new members into the European Union has started to change the picture. However, when the region will become more coherent in economic terms can only be speculated. But if the present process can be successfully continued, economic divergence certainly will become considerably smaller.
III. The frame: German politics between transatlantic and European orientation
After the end of the bloc confrontation Germanys political and security interests are basically directed towards two goals: first to continue to embed the unified Germany into the European order by an intensified integration process and second to strengthen the stabilization of the Central East European Countries (CEE) by enlarging the EU and NATO. 23
The first goal of integrating Germany into Europe was already a political cornerstone during the last decades since the end of World War II. Still, the question remains, in which way Germany will further develop its foreign and security policy. Will it continue to remain a economic giant and a political and military dwarf or will it rather develop into an independent power, i.e. giving up the integration for an autonomous, independent foreign and security policy?
Obviously the general guidelines for German policy did not shift from a Bonn Republic to a Berlin Republic. Instead continuity seems to be the overriding scheme. So far, there are no signs to shift from European integration to global ambitions.
Basically Germanys structural policy orientation consists of three patterns of behavior. 24
First, the renunciation of autonomy.
German politics is based on multilateralism, integration and cooperation. Germany believes that its national interests are best served by being voluntary tied into the European system. After the end of World War II Germany did focus on a strong and export oriented economy and the European integration as the two pillars for the West-German success story. Technological and economic competence, social stability, and the willingness to find compromise within international organizations became the specific label for German politics.
The fundamental structural breaks we witnessed in international politics had no equivalent in German foreign and security policy. Therefore, the unified Germany stays within the frame of NATO and EU also after the end of the block confrontation.
Still, two major changes took place. First, Germany became much more a security provider, after the German constitutional court settled the political disputes about participation of German armed forces in out of area missions. Second, the armed forces were drastically reduced. A process which might probably continue. But also if the new government coalition decides for further reductions, the German armed forces will constitute a major factor in the alliance. Thereforee, the German weight in security policy might grow, but not at the expense of military integration and cooperation.
Second, German adherence to civil diplomacy.
German foreign policy was and is guided by a preference for cooperative non-military strategies and instruments. Military instruments only come into consideration in context of and under mandate of international organizations, not for national military power projection.
The long and sometimes painful political process to German participation in operations under UN mandate proved that the rhetorical accusation of a possible militarization of German foreign and security policy lacks reality. The dispute on out of area showed, how deep rooted the restraints towards military instruments in the German political culture are. 25
To avoid any impressions of a possible militarization Germany acts with its neighbors basically on multilateral levels, such as NATO, the European Union or some recent trilateral initiatives such as the joint Danish/German/Polish agreement on military and defense cooperation as well as the so-called Weimar Triangel between France, Germany and Poland.
Within this multilateral level Germany is also supporting the OSCE with its instruments for preventive diplomacy and conflict resolution. This organization proved particularly successful in the Baltic Sea region and Germany still seem to favor a continued presence of the OSCE in Estonia and Latvia. Despite the fact that both countries would rather see the OSCE moving out to get away from their image as a European trouble spot . 26
Third, to optimize the welfare of the affluent German society
Economic and social stability is understood as a precondition for societal loyalty. This makes supranational cooperation and interdependent relations among states necessary. Walther Rathenau the former foreign minister of the Weimar Republic once said, economy is Germanys fait. Today this dictum needs to be socially and ecologically modified, but still, German policy puts forward the goal to place Germany in a zone of political stability and economic prosperity, to create predictability by means of a cooperative regulation of international relations and to support the integration and enlargement of the European union as a community of states which is able to interact with the global commercial market developments.
However, even a strong market economy such as Germany has difficulties to cope with the present problems. Financial resources get strained and particularly the problems which stem from the resultant costs of unification significantly burden the domestic solidarity. The result is a growing political disappointment. Particularly the people of the former GDR experienced that the model Germany does not lead to the promised flourishing landscapes. Instead Germany faces a deep structural crisis with massive unemployment, a de-industrialization and a declining democratic support in the new Bundesländer.
This developments might result in a German policy which is not able and willing to spend more financial resources for the EU, NATO, or the CEE countries. Instead a great deal of money will continuously be transferred to economic alimentation and reconstruction of the new Bundesländer, for example leaving limited room for the upcoming costs of enlargement. 27 Also the share which the German Bundesländer have to take according to the Länderfinanzausgleich is increasingly questioned. Still, so far most German Länder dont favor radical cuts as were put forward by Bavaria. The basic ideas behind the financial flow is still commonly shared.
So far the Länder always tried to find a more common position, based on horizontal self-coordination and facilitated by certain rules, where the mutual result was negotiated with the federal government. 28 However, there are complains that for example the New German Länder seem to follow their specific interests, thereby violating the pattern of cooperative federalism. The ongoing and in future possibly growing economic and financial problems of the Federal Republic and its BundesLänder might therefore result in a stronger competition within the federal system. All Länder might express and pursue their specific interest more strongly, not only among each other but also towards the central government.
III.1. Special foreign policy issues
Männerfreundschaft as we call it in German seem to have been a foreign policy force. Therefore this friendship deserves a few words. The term thereby characterizes the special relationship German foreign policy has with countries such as France and Russia.
The former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt once stated, that the US must understand that in the next century Germany will not automatically take the side of the US in conflicts for example between Washington and Paris. 29 German/French relations seem too vital.
However, the French policy goals are rather ambitious: Europe shall not only develop military security capabilities to assure stability on the continent but also to be able to a certain kind of global power projection. This seem to create a dilemma, as most of the other European countries dont share that vision, but rather stick to the well established transatlantic ties or try to follow neutralist traditions. Recently French desires were raised in the field of security policy, i.e. NATO HQ in Naples etc. The French national interests became also obvious during the unpleasant decision making process for the directorship of the newly founded European central bank. The French/German relation can well be described as a relation of cooperation and control.
France as well as Russia would like to see the role of the US in Europe reduced or minimized and want to gain a bigger say in European affairs. The general weight of the German/French-friendship and a growing German support of French positions in European affairs could fuel suspicions that this might happen at the expense of the traditionally strong transatlantic ties.
However, I would argue one should not underestimate the differences in German/French security interests. First, Germanys security interests are clearly directed towards the East, while France considers the Mediterranean and Africa to be vital, second, besides strongly supporting a European defense component with the WEU, German politics still remain transatlantic and do not want a NATO à la francaise. Thirdly Germany favors a Europe that is economically prosperous and politically stable but does not develop ambitious visions regarding global politics.
German/Russian relations are also well established. Due to the unification and the Russian support - fueled by substantial financial incentives - the relationship is rather close and the Russian presidents received substantial support from the German government.
To a certain extent Russian interests are anticipated within German politics. Without giving Russia a droit de regard, German politics have to fulfil the difficult task of reassuring the CEE countries and the Baltic states while not putting off Russia. 30
Therefore, the Russian objections against NATO enlargement cause problems also for German politics. They were and are one of the more difficult issues to be dealt with. The German policy focus on the Russian president seems rather one-eyed. It gives no answers how to deal with the upcoming instabilities in Russia after the Yeltsin period comes to an end. Additionally it seems clear that for example a necessary program for institution building in Russia is a too gigantic financial task for any country in Europe or elsewhere. Russia itself has to more actively and strongly support its transformation, finally stabilizing its political and economic system. However, the recent developments in Russias domestic politicy and economy are not very promising.
Germany is confronted with the dilemma that it wishes to preserve NATO as an Atlantic security community and additionally wants to empower the EUs authority in foreign and security policy. Thats not an easy task. When the US senate decided on NATO enlargement senator Jesse Helms stated rather bluntly: The Europeans are not even capable of punching their way out of a wet paper bag. Even though exaggerated, talking about European Security is a vague undertaking. Therefore, Germany should ensure that the EU-WEU structure does not develop into an alternative to NATO but enhances the two-pillar concept on which European security rests. 31
Certainly, a viable European security structure would have considerable impact also on the Baltic Sea Region. Possibly offering a security alternative to those countries who did not want to or did not manage to reach the stake of NATO membership. Such a European security structure is not yet visible. Even though its not clear, what a European defense identity will look like, one concrete outcome of the present discussions is the so-called Petersberg-declaration. However it is obvious, the tasks within the frame of Petersberg bring forward capabilities for crisis management but not for a European defense.
Summing up one can state that the different German foreign policy goals ranging from pursuing political, economic and security interest create a rather ambitious setting. One can argue that it might become difficult to meat certain policy goals. Particularly the outspoken advocacy for the Baltic States if taken serious might very well collide with the close German/Russian relations.
An absolute precondition to further integration is the structural reform of the European Unions agricultural commodities market and agricultural policies. This would have strong impact on Germany as well. Certainly causing extreme resistance by the strong lobby of German agricultural industry and farmers. Another example for conflicting policy goals are the upcoming costs of enlargement and the German wish to cut in its budgetary contribution to the EU.
However, taking up the question whether Germany is trying to increase its power in the international system and in Europe, the answer seems rather clear. So far the multilateralization of Germanys foreign and security policy does not indicate an interest in gaining more power. However, even though not an official policy goal, the underlying political power exists due to Germanys political and economic strength. To a certain extent, Germany seems to deny ist political weight, but at the same time gains even more by incorporating and actively participating in multilateral institutions. However, such policy behavior makes the German weight more acceptable to its neighbors.
III.2. Bonn and the Baltic Sea Region
If we try to identify German politics in the Baltic Sea region, we must consider, that for a rather lengthy period of time there was a total absence of a European perspective for the Baltic Sea region. 32 Also Germany did not give specific interest to the region. i.e., until the beginning of the 90s, the region hardly was on the political agenda in Bonn. Germanys interests were specifically directed towards central and eastern Europe.
For decades an overriding German policy aim was the establishment and continuation of Ostpolitik. Started by the former chancellor Willy Brandt it became a rather successful story which was continued by his successors in power. Therefore, Germanys policy towards the Baltic Sea region is part of and complementary to the new Ostpolitik . 33 Germany is a strong supporter of NATOs enlargement and the extension of the EU. But within the new Ostpolitik obviously the CEE region seems to be of comparably greater importance than the Baltic region. A Baltic Sea or northern orientation similar to that directed towards the central eastern countries has not yet developed.
In the Baltic Sea region, Germanys primary interest was to support Poland. Not to endanger the Polish integration into NATO and the EU was an overriding foreign policy goal, which was based on security logic and historical grounds. Germany tried everything not to irritate Russia, for example by giving stronger support to the Baltic states. The close and well established German/Russian relations, which are of fundamental importance, were not to be irritated and not used for taking a more active part in the region.
Germanys violent past is another reason for its rather cautious policy towards the region. Germany was reluctant in engaging itself more in the eastern part of the Baltic Sea region not only because of possible Russian irritations. But also to avoid any impression that there might be a special German interest in turning time back, i.e. possibly claiming territorial interests in the region.
Still, the political developments in Europe after the end of the Cold War forced also Germany to get more involved in the region. In March 1992, the Council of Baltic Sea States as a new cooperative intergovernmental body was established in Copenhagen. 34 Germany was among the founding members, as were Denmark and other Baltic littoral states and Norway. This initiative gained considerable public recognition, particularly in northern Germany.
Even though a general supporter of the CBSS, German politics were somewhat reluctant in tghe beginning, as Germany was not supporting any further institutionalisation, for example with the establishment of a permanent office. Additionally Germany saw to it that security is exempted from the agenda of the CBSS. However, in the field of soft security, i.e. customs and border control and the build-up and training of police forces Germany is supporting a growing cooperation. Meanwhile also a further institutionalization of the CBSS is supported by Germany, for example with the establishment of a permanent secretariat in Stockholm in autumn 1998.
The north German Länder were already more positive from the beginning. Schleswig-Holstein did for example always support the establishment of a permanent secretariat. As Gert Walter, the minister of Justice, Federal and European Affairs of Schleswig-Holstein stated that the final decision by the CBSS to establish a secretariat is a encouraging signal for the future development of cooperation in the Baltic Sea region. 35
Meanwhile Germany gives more recognition to the Baltic Sea region particularly in terms of security policy. Germany conducted more than 600 cooperative activities with neighboring countries in the CEE region. The greatest amount of cooperation went to Poland and Hungary, but also the Baltic States received a growing and substantial support in military aid and cooperation from Germany. Not least in support of the new Baltic Maritime Squadron BALTRON, where Germany took the lead. In 1998 more than 100 projects were conducted with the Baltic states and since 1992 the armed forces received humanitarian aid of approx. 4 Mio. DM. 36
Obviously the German attitude towards the Baltic Sea region is slowly changing and Germany starts to express its interest in the political, economic and security developments in the region. This became particularly obvious when the German chancellor Kohl agreed to a Baltic Sea summit in Visby 1996. In January 1998 the second summit took place in Riga. In this context, the former chancellor Kohl finally paid his first(!) visit to one of the Baltic countries in January 1998.
In official statements Germany is presenting itself as a strong and reliable advocate of the Baltic states. If this is to be taken serious by the neighbors in the Baltic Sea region, such signals will have to come more often and be more clear to the kind policy interests Germany has towards the Baltic Sea region.
Also the German suggestion of a regional table for discussion of regional security and arms control in the Baltic Sea region within the OSCE framework, including the US and Russia certainly gives a signal towards a changing view on the importance of the region. However, it received little or no support from the other partners in the region. They seem skeptical towards a regionalization of security which might end up with more financial and political commitment for example by the Scandinavian countries and the fear to be left in a grey zone of security by the Baltic states.
It is obvious that also in future the Baltic Sea region will not become the focal point of German foreign and security policy. But Germany should anticipate, that in the long run the Baltic Sea region might extend its regional focus towards a broader European perspective, i.e. establishing a Baltic Sea policy towards the European Union with a comparable weight and importance as the Mediterranean policy.
At present the Baltic Sea attitude towards Europe is not unanimous. The political understanding to which degree cooperation should lead to integration is different in the Baltic littoral countries. The Scandinavian countries Denmark and Sweden seem to favor a more British approach towards the European Union, while Germany is more inclined towards further integration according to the French/German approach. Irrespective of the outcome, it should be clear that Germany can only influence the policy in the region by active participation. In this context the policy of Schleswig-Holstein constitutes a possible bridge-building function between the regional, the domestic and the European level. The active support of the cooperation in the Baltic Sea region by Schleswig-Holstein is not to be seen as competitive to but rather as supportive to the general German position in the region.
IV. Schleswig-Holstein and the Baltic Sea Region
Germanys neighbors in the Baltic Sea region are mostly comparably smaller states in size or population and they share the experience of Germanys violent history. In this context the specifics of German Federal structure comes into perspective. The federal state system offers opportunities for the German Bundesländer to develop and pursue their own interests. They do it not only within the German state system but also and with their neighboring countries. The latter done by pursuing their own, however limited, foreign policy relations.
Obviously Schleswig-Holstein takes great interest in the developments in the region. Unlike the government in Bonn Schleswig-Holstein was always expressing the importance of increasing cooperation among the different actors in the region.
As said above, the substantial and constant flow of financial resources towards the eastern countries, together with the growing economic crisis and unemployment might in future cause more domestic political and social cleavages. The result might be a certain domestic imbalance, where it will take much longer before those grow together which belong together. Within such a scenario the single BundesLänder will have to pursue their specific economic and policy interests possibly not only stronger against each other but also against the federal governments policy orientation outlined above.
The German federal structure offers opportunities for its neighbor countries as well, i.e. not having to pursue their political and economic interests with the politically and economically heavy weight Bonn or later Berlin, but with the smaller entities such as the governments of Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Cooperation with the Bundesländer is not only easier because of greater similarities in culture and regional economic and political interest, it also helps to diminish negative perceptions of the big neighbor. Particularly as the Federal Republic is perceived as having a rather heavy political and economic weight in Europe, a sub-german foreign policy on the level of the Bundesländer has its importance for the region.
As regards Schleswig-Holstein, a different attitude towards the Baltic Sea region is obvious, if compared with the rather limited interest of the Bonn government.
Obviously, the German federal system provides for more diversified German politics towards the Baltic Sea region. However, the federal system does not describe a system of Länder with homogeneous interests. Vice versa. There always was a type of north / south divide in Germany. Not only visible in culture and religion but also in a relatively higher economic prosperity on behalf of the southern parts in Germany. Their policy orientations was always directed towards France and central Europe with rather limited interest in the northern parts of Europe. After unification the picture became even more diversified.
Since more than ten years Schleswig-Holstein is stressing the importance of a growing Baltic Sea cooperation. Such cooperation receives common support by all parties in the Kiel parliament. The importance of cooperation with the neighbors in the region as a cornerstone for the policy of Schleswig-Holstein is constantly stressed. In the late eighties the picture was blurred with regard to a concrete policy strategy for the future position of Schleswig-Holstein and Germany in the region. Still, based on common interests on the political, economic and environmental level the growing cooperation resulted in a variety of activities which developed into a rather intense cooperation network.
In 1987 the so-called New Hanse Concept 37 was brought up as a term to describe different means to facilitate cooperation and economic exchange within Northern Europe. To develop a policy strategy, the then prime minister Björn Engolm established a small government think tank, the so-called Denkfabrik. The Denkfabrik was active in producing concepts and background material on the Baltic Sea region. Their output was widely recognized and the response was quite positive and showed that there was a demand for such information. Under the head of Werner Jann the Denkfabrik started in 1988/89. Since then, the region in the making developed considerably and Schleswig-Holstein took an active part in it.
IV.1. A historical case: minority problems between Denmark and Schleswig-Holstein
If we look at the European picture, it is quite heterogeneous. We have to consider differences and conflicting interests on various levels and in a variety of issues, i.e. an imbalance in level of economic development, religious and cultural cleavages, the absence of a common language for communication, the search for new identities, which sometimes appear to be old ones, growing heterogeneous societies with diminishing solidarity due to social and economic imbalances, and the appearances of large minority groups additionally complicating the social conflict resolution. 38 All such problems and cleavages are also present and largely visible in the Baltic Sea region. The region is part of the overall European setting and not a sanctuary. Additionally she constitutes a bridge to Russia with its very diversified structure.
On the regional level more or less well-defined interests are shared by all actors in the Baltic Sea region. The result is a growing cooperation within a great number of networks. This intense networking by actors from different levels of policy, from the European down to the local governments and administrations is one of the main factors for the rather peaceful and promising picture in todays Baltic Sea region.
This picture gets only slightly disturbed by the Russian attitude towards the so-called minority problem in the Baltic States. This problems with the Russian population in the Baltic States are somewhat different from traditional minority cases. In the Baltic States the Russian minority was formerly, i.e. under the period of the Sovietunion, a rather privileged qualified minority which received preferential treatment by the authorities.
However, in many regions of Europe minority problems have taken a comparably much more dangerous course, not so in the Baltic Sea region. Luckily the Baltic is not the Balcans. Still it proves the importance for the settlement of such minority questions. Which in fact are not just a Baltic/Russian problem in the region. Minorities can be found in many countries such as Germans in Poland, Lithuanians in Poland and Poles in Lithuania or the large group of Swedes in Finland. The latter however, ceased to be a problem since long. Another group, the Sami people live as a minority in their own countries such as Finland, Sweden and Norway. Similar problems had to be solved there.
Minority problems are also not a new issue to be dealt with. Therfore, another rather serious minority and territorial problem deserves some elaboration in the context of this paper. For almost a century it was a major obstacle for friendly and peaceful neighborship between the two states Denmark and Germany, or rather Denmark and Schleswig-Holstein.
Compared with the ongoing vicious conflicts in other regions, the minority question both countries had to solve, was certainly of a minor violent character. Still it is important to keep in mind that it was a long lasting conflict between the two countries. During that period of time it had major impact on politics and people. The process of resolving the problem took place within a historical period which, of course was very different from todays situation in Europe, i.e. after the end of World War II.
Today these difficulties are overcome and one can state the minority question as being answered and the problem became a non-problem. The results are still obvious in the present political system of Denmark and Schleswig-Holstein, which guarantees the minorities political representation. However, such a positive outcome was not necessarily written in the books. The present good neighborly relations on nation state and on cross border level did not come out of the blue, but were the result of a long and difficult way to overcome the old animosities and territorial border questions.
For a long time the minority and territorial question fueled a regional conflict between Germany and Denmark which had considerable impact on their relationship. Only after the resolution of the territorial dispute in 1920, the minority problems could be solved. However, this again took time. The enmity caused by the disastrous political developments in Nazi-Germany, and the occupation of Denmark in World War II had to be overcome first. A solution could take place not only after the Third Reich came to an end and a democratic system became established in Germany, but only after both parties came to the insight, that a common arrangement would suite them better than a prolonged dispute.
A major factor supporting such understanding, was the emerging bloc confrontation in Europe and the common interest by the western allies and the German government to incorporate Germany within the new security structure.
As a result the Bonn government made it finally clear to the government in Schleswig-Holstein, that a solution had to be found with Denmark. The changing political situation in Europe and the build-up of the common transatlantic military alliance finally paved the way for a solution. Not to endanger primary policy goals, one might argue, particular regional sensitivities (or national stubbornness) had to be given up. The results are known. Even though it still took some years before the Bonn-Copenhagen declaration finally settled the dispute in 1955.
Is there a lesson to be drawn from this historical experience? Obviously the specific German-Danish regulations do not offer a blue print for other minority questions. What distinguishes the conflict from others? Even though long-lasting, both parties were willing to act within their democratic system and legal frame. Certainly a policy behavior which is not to be generally expected in other conflicts.
Still, common sense alone, on behalf of the minorities as well as on behalf of the political elites in Bonn, Kiel and Copenhagen, would have hardly solved the problem. The impact of the overall political interest based on threat perceptions vis-avis the Soviet union and resulting in the incorporation of West Germany into NATO should not be underestimated. However, the mediation of this long lasting conflict at a stage where it had not developed into violent clashes, clearly supports ideas of and instruments for early observation and crisis management. The present close Danish/German relations and the emerging cooperation network in the Baltic Sea Region is not conceivable without such problems being solved in a satisfactory way.
IV.2. Kiel and the European Union
For centuries Germany had very close and intensive relations with northern Europe. 39 They only started to crumble after World War I, finally being replaced by an emerging Scandinavian transatlantic orientation after World War II and a strong central-European policy orientation by Germany. Unlike the Bonn governments, Schleswig-Holstein as the most northern German Bundesland - perceived the Baltic Sea Region as the regional frame for orientation. The present government of Schleswig-Holstein declared cooperation with the Baltic Sea region to one of her main points of political emphasis. Meanwhile not only government officials but also a variety of different organizations and institutions in Schleswig-Holstein facilitate bi- and multilateral projects in the region . 40
The extension of the European Union by incorporating Finland and Sweden as new members is understood as a clear signal for a growing and integrating Europe. It is seen as a precondition, that the north eastern parts of Europe dont become the backwater of economic and political relations. Baltic Sea cooperation has to build bridges between the new but in historical perspective old actors in the Baltic Sea region and the traditional players in western central Europe. Regional initiatives will become even more important in future. It is government policy that cooperation in the region shall facilitate closer ties with the EU for members and non-members. In this context regional cooperation is also understood as an example for decentralization and subsidiartity in Europe . 41
Cooperation in the region can be understood as a means to give a Nordic answer to the questions arising from the developments in overall Europe. Schleswig-Holstein understands its regional orientation as a support for the idea that Europes future is not based on a Brussels dominated super state, but rather in a federative structure where European cooperation and integration are only one side of the European coin but regional originality, independence and identity are the other. 42
The basic understanding is, that northern Germany has a lot of common interests with its neighbors in the region. 43 Besides, Schleswig-Holstein did not want to be placed in a region which was regarded by many as an European periphery, and started to mobilize its own forces - not waiting for support from the center. To pursue its own interests, it was obvious that northern Germany would need partners to gain more political and economic weight towards Bonn and Brussels.
The accession of Finland and Sweden to the European Union and the forthcoming enlargement of the union by incorporating the Baltic Sea states Estonia and Poland, strengthens the position of Schleswig-Holstein as the regional economic geography 44 changes. Schleswig-Holstein constitutes a south-west cornerstone in the Northern European economic region, as the country became an important link in the chain of transportation between the Baltic Sea region and Central and Western Europe.
The driving force was to gather common political and economic interest in developing the region and in drawing attention i.e. financial transfers from central Europe to the north. It was not a primary policy goal to build a common identity in the Baltic Sea region. But based on common cultural and historic ties and fueled by an increasing inter- and intraregional political and economic exchange, the process also works in the direction of possibly shaping a common identity.
Even though being far from homogeneous, this increases the weight towards the center in Europe. In this respect identity follows the implementation and successful work of various forms and functions, visible in an ever growing cooperation network in the Baltic Sea region. As it was pointed out at the recent Parliamentary conference in Luebeck, pragmatic cooperation is the solution which all of the actors in the Baltic Sea region have been practicing for a decade. 45 The fact that for the first time the conference was hosted by a regional actor, Schleswig-Holstein, might also be interpreted that regions are increasingly accepted by states as being partners.
Certainly the European level gaines more interest in the region. Schleswig-Holstein has taken the initiative towards a Baltic Sea policy of the EU, aiming at the specific Baltic Sea program of the European Union. 46
Already from the start, the goals of enhancing cooperation within the region and strengthening the regional position in Brussels were pursued by a two track policy. First, direct bi- and multilateral cooperation of Schleswig-Holstein with the neighbors in the region and second, facilitating regional cooperation via the European Union for example by establishing a Hanse-office in Brussels already in 1985.
The latter seems particularly important, as the EU-Baltic Sea policy is becoming more concrete, for example with the formulation of the Baltic Sea Region Initiative in 1996 and the establishment of a Baltic Coordination Committee (BCC) by the European Commission. This body has the task to coordinate the EUs policy towards the region. 47 With the decision to enlarge the European Union by Poland and Estonia, (together with Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Cyprus) Baltic Sea Cooperation gets particularly important in preparing a pre-accession strategy for membership.
Implementing a special Baltic Sea policy by the European Union required a good deal of lobbying on behalf of the Baltic littoral states. For Schleswig-Holstein the Hanse-office is the countries representation in Brussels. The Hanse-office was established as an information bureau by the city of Hamburg and became a common liaison office for Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg in 1991. The office aims at supporting the interest of the two countries towards the European Union. The Hanse-office is a liaison partner, information and advisory body not only for the governments but for anyone from the two countries.
It informs the governments of the Länder about interesting developments on the European level , and it helps to establish contacts with institutions of the European Union, for example for enterprises and public institutions. The office building Baltic Sea House meanwhile houses eight other regional Baltic Sea bureaus: The regional offices of northern Sweden, Ostrobothnia, Copenhagen, Fredriksborg, Sønder Jylland, Fyns Amt and the EU-Bureau B7 (Baltic Sea Islands). The regional office of Kareliea is considered to be the next guest under the roof of the Hanse-Office.
Applicants for European Union programs are advised and assisted as well. 48 The office hereby supports them and is functioning as a coordination body for the region specific interests. Assistance in utilizing the financial programs of the European Union is certainly an important task. 49 Particularly if we take into consideration that northern Europe has to compete with other regions in Europe. The basic aim is to help the regional-bureaus to become self sufficient in acting with the European Union.
So far the Mediterranean region is much better established and functioning in pursuing their financial interests. Competition on EU fonds will certainly grow as more money needs to be distributed due to the enlargement of the EU to the East. Regions in the Baltic Sea area need to approach EU sources commonly for financial transfer. The representative of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern pointed out at the recent Parliamentary meeting in Luebeck that the funds available will have to be redistributed in such ways that the candidates will be able to catch up with the current EU members. For many West European countries, this will mean painful cuts. 50 Taken into account limited financial sources also on behalf of the European Union and an increasing demand for financial subsidies, it seems not unlikely that this will possibly lead to a stronger competition among the different actor, be it states, locals or regions in Europe.
The agreement by the four EU members Denmark, Germany, Finland and Sweden to present a common program for the region utilizing the sources of INTERREG IIc is an example for an intra-regional approach to make common use out of an EU initiative. 24 Mio ECU (approx. 47 Mio. DM) are available for interregional cooperation from 1997-1999. Together with the necessary co-financing from private and national sources the initiative has an overall volume of approx. 100 Mio DM. 51 The Landesbank of Schleswig-Holstein is responsible for the administration of the secretariat in Rostock, which started in 1998. First decisions on projects were taken this year.
To draw money from the central administration in Brussels to the diversified regions is among the important present and future tasks for the regional actors. A common approach would help to gain weight towards the central European bureaucracy, draining financial transfers away from the traditional lines of distribution to the new Nordic region.
Such a common approach will for example be pursued with a forthcoming project. Schleswig-Holstein, the county of Storstroem, the Oeresund Committee, the county of West Sealand and the city of Hamburg are going to apply for EU funding. Thereby crossborderly involving the three states Denmark, Germany and Sweden . 52
Another important program is the program Baltic Small Project Facilities, which was established in 1996 to support the level of regional and local governments. Partners from CEE countries and Russia can use their resources from PHARE and TACIS within this cooperation program. The program allows central- and easteuropean countries to participate and the financial volume amounts to 14 Mio ECU (approx. 27 Mio DM). The program shall support a wide range of projects from topics such as environment, human resources, economic development, tourism, to local and regional democratization, or education and culture. The program is administered in West Sealand, Denmark, which also might give an example for an increasing willingness by the commission to act according to the principles of subsidiarity. 53
To pursue a more adequate use of funding programs in the Baltic Sea region is also among the tasks of the forum Baltic Sea States Subregional Cooperation (BSSSC). 54 A recent workshop organized in cooperation with the Hanse-office and the European Department of the Government of Schleswig-Holstein discussed these problems with regional and local actors and representatives of the EU commission in June 1998. 55 The workshop evaluated the regional and local experiences with EU fundings and tried to draw conclusions for future applications of EU programs.
The results of the workshop underlines the importance of the existing funding instruments and a long term strategy for a multi-country Baltic Sea Program. They underline that local and regional authorities are strong partners for national governments and for the European Union to implement the EU programs. The importance of a further support of the complex process of the pre-accession strategy of the EU enlargement and the realization of a policy of partnership with Russia was specifically outlined in the workshop.
IV. 3. Kiel and the Baltic network
When the cooperation network in the Baltic began to develop, Schleswig-Holstein took an active part, in bringing the region on its way. The early days are mainly connected with the social democratic prime minister Björn Engholm. He actively supported the idea of a common Baltic Sea region. He supported the political process by establishing the above mentioned think tank in Schleswig-Holstein for a necessary policy consulting.
A second project group in this Denkfabrik started to work in August 1989. 56 It was to elaborate and investigate on basically two questions. First: Where are chances and problems for Schleswig-Holstein as a bridge between West and North-Eastern Europe? Second: How can the incorporation of Schleswig-Holstein into the Baltic Sea region be intensified?
The results, published 1992 in a report on: Chances for a stronger involvement of Schleswig-Holstein in the Baltic Sea region 57 , pointed out certain fields for an intensified political engagement of Schleswig-Holstein.
Basically these aims outlined in the final report as guidelines are still valid today. They can be summarized under three headlines; Europe of the regions as a challenging environment, the Baltic Sea as a future region and finally, chances and risks for Schleswig-Holstein. They presented the region making as an inevitable result of the economic and political changes in eastern Europe. In the new open Europe 58 the regions were expected to play a vital role in the economic and political cooperation.
To avoid a possible peripherization of northern Germany but also of Poland and the Baltic states was understood as a major policy goal. The region was thereby understood to be a strong and innovative economic sphere. Therefore, looking for partners was among the guidelines too. In this context the report also stressed the possible bridge-building function of Schleswig-Holstein and the city of Hamburg. 59
Rather productive and successful, the think tank helped to bring Schleswig-Holsteins engagement in the Baltic Sea region under way. Finally the Denkfabrik died after the new prime minister Heide Simonis got into power, who, by that time, seemed to have had a somewhat less outspoken interest in the Baltic Sea region.
Among the first outcomes indicating the growing interest and engagement of the government of Schleswig-Holstein in the Baltic Sea region, was the presentation of the so called new Hanse idea. Certainly, in a strict historical sense a somewhat misleading title for the envisaged Baltic Sea cooperation. However it became a handsome label for the growing interest and the activities around the Baltic rim. The new Hanse was later replaced with the more technical term Ostseekooperation (Baltic Sea Cooperation). Besides a more general aim to overcome the remnants of the Cold War, this Ostseekooperation was also to function as a bridge building concept for the new independent democracies. Another early initiative by Schleswig-Holstein was the founding of Ars Baltica. A cultural exchange program which also proved successful and is still functioning.
Certainly, political more relevant was the strong support for the founding of the CBSS and the BSSSC. The minister of European Affairs of Schleswig-Holstein, Gerd Walther, became speaker of the BSSSC in 1994, which highlighted the interest of Schleswig-Holstein in such a decentralized form of Sub-regional cooperation. 60 Particularly this body fosters cooperation on local levels. Exchange and training of local administrators became a major field of activity.
Meanwhile Schleswig-Holstein is acting in numerous organizations and institutions, from the top-level CBSS, BSSC and Parliamentary Conference down to Sub-regional and local activities, i.e. in the field of economy, traffic, infrastructure planning, culture and ecology, the VASAB 2010 (Vision and Strategies in the Baltic Sea Region 2010), the union of Baltic cities, (UBC) and last but not least the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM), one of the oldest Baltic Sea cooperation bodies.
The emerging cooperation network enabled Schleswig-Holstein to develop a growing participation on the sub-regional and local level. To give some examples: SydSam in Sweden and Oslo and Akershus (1995), Vaasa in Finland (1994), Sønderjylland Amt (already 1988), Størstroms Amt (1991) and Fyns Amt in Denmark (1995). Also the eastern part of Baltic became involved in cooperation with Schleswig-Holstein at a relatively early stage, i.e. Gdansk in Poland and the Kaliningrad oblast in Russia in 1992. 1995 Schleswig-Holstein opened up representations in Gdansk/Poland, Tallinn/Estonia, and Malmø/Sweden.
Besides the level of local governments, various institutions in Schleswig-Holstein are also taking an active part in the cooperation network in the Baltic Sea region. They range from the chamber of industry and commerce (Industrie- und Handelskammer), which cooperates with the Baltic Sea Chambers of Commerce (BCCA), where a total of 34 chambers of industry and commerce from all Baltic littoral countries are represented, to the Nordkolleg Rendsburg which does language training. Additionally the Landesbank of Schleswig-Holstein opened a dependance in Copenhagen and so far is the only German bank directly represented in Scandinavia. 61
Among recent promising undertakings is a project together with Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, which will go on for several years. The aim is to adapt the legal system of Estonia according to European standards. Programs for training an continued education of judges, public prosecutors, probation officers and bailiffs are implemented. An additional project is planned evaluating measures needed for training and development of the police force in Estonia. Such projects are rather small but give examples of how German Länder contribute to soft security issues and mutual confidence building.
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is also a member of the Euroregion Pomerania, which comprises the northern part of the Polish/German territory at the Baltic Sea coast, including approx. three million inhabitants. 62 Among others, a major aim is to raise the standard of living in the region, develop a common approach towards economic investment and unemployment. Thereby fostering the ideas of European unity and international understanding. 63 This Euroregion certainly is an important player between the old West and the new East. Also in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern there is strong support by many organizations and institutions at the local level. One example is the Kommunalgemeinschaft Pomerania an association of local authorities, which is implementing projects. They vary from discussion fora among entrepreneurs on maritime trade and commerce or the use of renewable raw materials, as to developing cross-border youth encounters and pupil exchanges . 64
Meanwhile a great variety of organizations and different bodies exists, of which only some could be mentioned above. Obviously the question arises whether there are not too many initiatives for such a small region and if all this bodies produce results which meet a particular need. Certainly more coordination of the different undertakings seem necessary for an optimized output, particularly as financial resources are limited.
V. The way ahead: Schleswig-Holstein goes international
The Europe of the regions creates a challenging new environment. The political elite in Schleswig-Holstein understood that the regional and economic structures in Europe will face a fundamental change during the next decades. Integration and enlargement of the European Union will force traditional political and economic structures to adapt and seek new alliances.
Particularly the political changes in Eastern Europe brought up a reorientation and reformulation of region as an important political factor not only for regional and local but also for European politics. Already the early report by the Denkfabrik outlined, that the regions will become an independent an important actor in politics and economics within Europe . 65 Even though not fully independent, their growing importance is unquestioned.
Obviously the post-war period came to an end in the Baltic Sea. The cooperation network is largely established and institutionalized. Schleswig-Holstein once kicked off and supported the process of growing cooperation in the region. At present however, their seems to be limited need for great visions and honorable intentions, but more for a pragmatic redefinition of the position of Schleswig-Holstein in the region.
Therefore, in August 1997, the Ministerpräsidentin Heidi Simonis asked the minister for Justice, Federal and European Affairs Gerd Walther and the minister of Trade and Commerce Peer Steinbrueck to prepare a discussion paper on the future strategic position of the country in the Baltic Sea region. 66
The paper was presented in February 1998 and gained considerable public recognition, as it seemed to raise the rather old question of restructuring the federal system in Germany by establishing a Northern state (Nordstaat), integrating Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Such idea came up every now and then during the last decades, but never gained no real support by the political representatives, neither in the Bundesland nor in Bonn. To a certain extent however, the private industry seemed to be more in favour of the idea.
Certainly, the realization that Schleswig-Holstein is too small to be a competitive partner in the politcal and economic structures in Northern Europe and particularly in the European Union is not a new idea. Therefore, close cooperation with the other North-German Länder is obvious and necessary. However this seems possible without raising a quite tricky and rather dead horse such as the debate on a Nordstaat.
In fact the desire for a Nordstaat was not even mentioned in the paper, but only expressed by the minister for Trade and Commerce. Once public, the whole issue caused considerable political trouble in the government. Still, the discussion paper proves that the present government in Schleswig-Holstein understands the importance of the new structures in the region and tries to develop strategies to place the country as a competitive partner within the cooperation network. Even though not merely orientated towards traffic and communication, the paper is much less Hanse but for example pragmatically emphasizes the importance of infrastructure.
It is based on the understanding that the region will see an increasing process of region-building with growing competition among the regions. Here, the Bundesland Schleswig-Holstein has to compete with nation states that understand Baltic Sea policy as an integral part of their general foreign policy. This is so far not the case for the German foreign policy.
Within the next years Denmark and Sweden will invest approx. 20 Billion DM in the region. Unlike Germany, the states are actively pursuing the build up of alliances, supported by private industry and other organizations. The Swedish prime minister Persson gave foreign policy priority to Baltic Sea politics and established an Advisory Council for Baltic Sea Cooperation to coordinate the Baltic Sea policy of Sweden. The Swedish government will also spend approx. 1 billion SEK as co-financing for projects in the region.
Schleswig-Holstein has to make sure that it remains actively involved within the alliances of subregions. They produce considerable economic dynamic, such as the Øresund region. Targeting only some issues which prove the growing importance of active participation and preparedness, the following can be identified:
They all prove the economic and political dynamism of the region, which provides not only possibilities for growing cooperation but also for an environment of competitiveness. Therefore, Schleswig-Holstein tries to define its strategic position and to place itself in the region in flux.
Several requirements are precondition to a successful future implementation of the Bundesland. Among others they are: a knowledge based infrastructure with internationally oriented university and research institutes, particularly in fields key technologies, an internationally oriented education of the people, in connection with enhanced mobility and flexibility, an advanced infrastructure for telecommunication and traffic, and a strategy for a sustainable use of the environment.
The government recently put its main emphasis on fourteen projects which are supposed to work as a focus for the involvement of Schleswig-Holstein in the region within the next future. Geographically the Øresund-region is obviously of major importance and Schleswig-Holstein wants to engage itself in the sub-region which is perceived to become a dynamic center in the southern Baltic. The above mentioned common approach with the INTERREG II program is one step in that direction.
To intensify educational planning and policy is another one. An early start with foreign language courses at school and the exchange of pupils and teachers are under planning. Generally an increased international youth meeting is to be developed. The Baltic Sea States Subregional Conference (BSSSC) suggested the funding of a Baltic Sea Youth Foundation. Schleswig-Holstein is actively supporting this idea.
At the level of academic education a university structure and academic education is envisioned, that is better fitted to future needs and the universitys position in the region. A stronger internationalization of the university in Schleswig-Holstein shall result in a strong and particularly co-ordinated profile as a Baltic Sea university. 67 Taking into account the inflexible and antiquated structure of the university system, this certainly seems to be among the more ambitious goals of the government.
In future it is also planned to make better use out of the various international and well known cultural activities in Schleswig-Holstein. The Kieler Woche, the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival or Ars Baltica to mention some, have great importance for the image of Schleswig-Holstein as a culture provider in the region.
Also the field of security cooperation is included in future activities. Operative cooperation in police work, training and education as well as an exchange of police staff is among the activities in the field of soft security. As organized crime, illegal migration, weapons and drug trafficking are among the major sources of possible instabilities in the region, soft-security certainly is among the important fields for future cooperation.
As outlined above, technology, energy supply and development of common infra-structure for commerce and traffic are fundamentals for the future development of the region. Therefore Schleswig-Holstein is going to facilitate a great variety of different projects in this fields. Particularly the infrastructure gains more and more importance as other regions develop further and competition, for example in the fields of port and transport capacities, becomes stronger. So far Schleswig-Holstein constitutes a major transit route, but has to be aware of future developments and prepare for maintaining its competitiveness.
VI. Summing up
The Baltic Sea region still is a diverse entity. However, a further intensified cooperation in the Baltic Sea region seems likely, as all Baltic littoral countries share the same interests in stabilizing the region. This does not exclude diverging interests in specific aspects of the political processes in the region, but cooperation and competition among the Baltic littoral countries provide the network which finally creates stability in the region. The region is not static but the cooperation network provides for the frame that connects the actors. So far this system functioned rather successfully. However, to what degree the region will be viable in case a major change in Russias policy behavior occurs, needs to be seen. The more developed the cooperation network, the more likely it is that it will prove to be more than a fair weathersystem.
At present Germany continues to embed itself in the western European political, economic and security community. From this position Germany aims at the extension of the European zone of stability to the East. This is considered to be a key task for German foreign and security policy. In this context, support of the political geography of the Baltic Sea Region certainly is in the German interest and gets visible in a growing number of cooperation with the neighboring countries around the Baltic rim. Germany increasingly contributes to the region in the making.
Certainly the new German Ostpolitik will be continued in future. Even though the BSR receives more attention and cooperation, Germanys centraleuropean and easteuropean policy focus, as well as financial and personal limits left limited energy to be directed towards the Baltic Sea Region.
The picture is different when we take a look at the regional actor Schleswig-Holstein. Summing up one can state that Schleswig-Holstein sees itself as a driving force in the cooperation structure in the Baltic Sea Region. At present, a relatively comprehensive network of political, economic and cultural links has already developed and Schleswig Holstein is an integral part of it.
The political elite in Schleswig-Holstein did reinvent Baltic cooperation in the late 1980s and since then tries to use it safeguarding Schleswig-Holsteins interest in Bonn/Berlin and Brussels. 68 However, this is not an easy task, as the general orientation of German politics goes towards the EU and NATO, as well as France, USA and Russia. As said above, this seem to leave limited room for big politics oriented towards the North. Also the new government will certainly follow such ranking. Particularly as the Social Democrats might feel that they have to prove their reliability in European and transatlantic relations. Continuity rather than change will be the dominant label of the forthcoming German foreign policy. The fact that the government moves from Bonn to Berlin does neither represent a shift in the general foreign policy orientation of Germany, nor does the near vicinity of the Baltic Sea automatically lead to a stronger orientation towards the North.
Under the assumption that dividing lines in Europe are not be overcome totally, Europe will still see regions of considerable wealth and stability and others, much less successful in providing prosperity. At the beginning of the 90s the authors of the early report by the Denkfabrik in Schleswig-Holstein saw the possible danger of a marginalization and de-coupling of Northern Europe from the developments in Central Europe. The northern parts of Germany, Poland and the Baltic states were seen in danger of getting into a peripheral position (Randlage).
The recent developments with a growing cooperation in the Baltic Sea region, the Swedish and Finnish membership in the European Union and the forthcoming incorporation of Poland and Estonia seem to have removed such dangers. All countries around the Baltic rim are either members of the west European organizations EU and NATO or at least affiliated with them in different ways. The Baltic Sea region thereby became an integral part of the general European frame work. The fact that the European Union and NATO are increasingly and actively involved in the region adds to the close connection.
Therefore, a de-coupling of Germany from the region is not possible in any circumstances. However the degree of German foreign policy presence in the region might vary. As a result one can develop two possible scenarios, depending on which foreign policy direction Germany might follow in future.
The first scenario describes a situation where Germany will not be as present in the Baltic Sea region as it could and as it seem to be expected by some neighbors. If Germany sticks to a merely central and east European orientation, the Baltic Sea region would constitute a type of back water with rather limited importance to the federal government in Berlin. Thereby less connecting itself to the ongoing and ever more important developments. In this scenario, Schleswig-Holstein has an important role to play. It would have to function as a domestic bridge to the region. Serving its own interests and that of the neighboring countries by continuing and possibly increasing its cooperation with partner countries in Northern Europe.
The second scenario describes a generally stronger German interest in dealing with its northern neighbors. Thereby reviving its old cultural and political ties to Northern Europe via the Baltic Sea. In this scenario Schleswig-Holstein could well function as a corner stone for a stronger German engagement based on its decade long experience in networking cooperation in the region.
To influence the federal government in Berlin towards such a policy direction therefore should be among the major tasks of the government in Schleswig-Holstein. If the federal government would develop a clear policy orientation in support of the region, it could actively influence possible processes which develop in direction of a stronger realignment of other state interests. It could also better support and safeguard the interests ot its northern Bundesländer.
A stronger presentation of the federal government in the region might harbor another interesting foreign policy implication. It could give German politics the opportunity to deal with the important German-Russian relations on two different but interacting levels, i.e. state level and regional level. Certainly this could open new opportunities for the relationship among the actors in the region.
However, it is dependent on Russias acceptance to be treated as and to act as a regional partner. Certainly, Russia would have to be prepared to make concessions in modifying its centralism. It remains to be seen whether Russia is willing to grant its regions more autonomy. Self-confidence and readiness on behalf of the Russian regions alone will not be enough to shape future policy in the region. 69 So far, Moscows reactions towards regional independence for example in the Kaliningrad oblast seem hardly promising. 70 Future will show, whether the Russian position will change, or whether the central power will become so weak that it would largely loose its grip on the regions.
Stability by cooperation is the underlying assumption of the foreign policy orientation of Schleswig-Holstein. So far, Schleswig-Holstein perceives the Baltic Sea region as a Europe en miniature, 71 opening up a variety of opportunities. Many reject the idea of a Europe with a top down approach. The development of a transnational European identity by establishing a Baltic Sea region with strong elements from the bottom up is also among the policy goals in Schleswig-Holstein.
Still, the structure of the region is not exclusive in the sense of either or, but certainly does contain both directions. The European Union is at present a more active and important player in the region than ever. Such are the many sub-regional initiatives complementing to the development in the region. The case of Schleswig-Holstein also proves, that a domestic actor can actively pursue its region specific policy interests at the European level. Thereby acting in a triangel between Brussels, Bonn/Berlin and the region.
Obviously Schleswig-Holstein alone is rather small for such a challenging environment. The emerging closer cooperation with the other north German Bundesländer Hamburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern seem to be vital.
A Baltic Sea Region being able to complementary include supra-national, state- and sub-regional levels would well function as a bridge between members and non-members and play a vital role in further European pre-accession strategy towards the eastern parts of the region. Thereby supporting the transformation process towards marked economy and democratization and strengthening the political weight of the region within the competitive frame work of the European Union.
A mutual Baltic Sea region policy by the Länder would help to position them within the above triangel in a strong and stable way. It would allow the Bundesländer to go international, fostering their mutual interests in politics, economy and culture by a common foreign policy. Certainly, the general foreign policy of the Federal Republic of Germany is a task of the ministry of foreign affairs and any parallel diplomacy would cause conflicts between the government and Schleswig-Holstein. But a stronger internationalization of a region specific policy orientation by the Bundesländer would not necessarily mean competing with or circumventing the federal governments foreign policy. However, it could rather nicely complement to the general German foreign policy if the Bundesländer manage to enlarge the foreign policy ranking of the federal government. Thereby giving the Baltic Sea region a stronger political weight within the general German foreign policy orientation.
Note 1: I wrote this paper during my stay at the Copenhagen Peace Research Institute COPRI in August/September 1998. I am grateful for the opportunity to work at the institute and I particularly want to thank Pertti Joenniemi for his comments and support. Back.
Note 5: See for a comprehensive description and analysis of the CBSS: Stalvant, Carl-Einar, The Council of Baltic Sea States, in: Cottey, Andrew / Stoltenberg, Thorvald (eds.), Sub-regional Cooperation in the new Europe, Building Security, Prosperity and Solidarity from the Barents to the Black Sea, New York 1998, pp. 46-69. Back.
Note 8: In addition to funding, the EU has also set up a framework for organizing and encouraging cooperation. The Baltic Sea Region Initiative was presented by the European Commission to the Visby Summit in 1996. Cooperation for regional ecenomic development is in the priorities listed in that Initative. Wulf-Mathies, Monika, Member of European Commission, The European Union policy for regional cooperation in the Baltic Sea region. The Baltic Sea Region, Business and Industry, Politics, Developments and Trends, 1998, p. 14. Back.
Note 9: Finlands prime minister Paavo Lipponen in an interview on Multi-dimensional North in: OSCE Review, vol. 6, No. 2/98, p.11. He outlined the general objectives of the concepts as follows: to promote basic values such as human rights, democracy, the rule of law, the market economy, prosperity and high employment and trade and economic cooperation. The Northern dimension does not include traditional elements of security policy. Back.
Note 12: See also: Lange, Peer, H. Das Baltikum als eine Aufgabe fuer die integrative Gestaltgebung Europas, Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, Beilage zur Wochenzeitung Das Parlament, B 37/98, 4 Sep. 1998, p.11. Back.
Note 15: See: Hedegaard, Lars / Lindström, Bjarne (eds.) The NEBI Yearbook 1998, North European and Baltic Sea Integration, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York, particularly chapter I: Economic Integration, p. 33-163. Back.
Note 24: See: Staack, Michael, Großmacht oder Handelsstaat? Deutschlands außenpolitische Grundorientierungen in einem neuen internationalen System. Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, B 12/98, 13.3.1998, p. 15. Back.
Note 25: Military action of German forces will neither take place unilateral nor under the article 51 UN-Charta (self-defence) but only under order and mandate of the collective security system. Back.
Note 26: Hyde-Price, Adrian, Germany and the Baltic Sea Region, paper presented at the third pan-European international relations conference and joint meeting with ISA, Vienna, Sept 16-19, 1998 p. 14. Back.
Note 27: To give just one example: The costs for the EU by the inclusion of the new members Hungary, the Chech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Slovenia and Poland are estimated up to approx. 150 billion DM for the years 2000 to 2006. Due to the burden sharing ratio Germany will probably have to finance approx. 29 per cent of this amount, i.e. approx. 43 Billion DM. To a certain extent complaints by Kinkel and Waigel seem understandable. Back.
Note 28: Boerzel, Tanja, A., Restructuring or Reinforcing the State: The German Länder as Transnational Actors in Europe, paper presented at the third Paneuropean Conference on International relations, Vienna Sept. 16-18, 1998, p. 12. Back.
Note 32: Jann, Werner, Common Security in the Baltic Sea Region: The view from the German Länder, Olof Palme International Center, Common security in northern europe after the cold war the Baltic sea region and the Barents sea region, Seminar 18.3.-20.3.1994, Stockholm 1994, p. 182. Back.
Note 34: See: Kukk, Mare, Ostseerat: Mitten im Teich, Nordeuropa-Forum, No. 1, 1994, pp. 20-27. For a general view on cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region see: Joenniemi, Pertti (ed.) Cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region, Washington 1994. Back.
Note 38: See also: Jann, Werner, Common Security in the Baltic Sea Region: The view from the German Länder, Olof Palme International Center, Common security in northern europe after the cold war the baltic sea region and the barents sea region, Seminar 18.3.-20.3.1994, Stockholm 1994, p. 186. Back.
Note 43: See for the following also the former head of the Denkfabrik Werner Jann, in: Jann, Werner, Common Security in the Baltic Sea region: The view from the German Länder, Olof Palme International Center, Common security in northern Europe after the cold war the Baltic sea region and the Barents sea region, Seminar 18.3.-20.3.1994, Stockholm 1994, pp.184-185. Back.
Note 45: Arens, Heinz-Werner, Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee, The Parliamentary Conference on Cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region -Concepts and Perspectives. Lübeck, Sept. 7-8, 1998, p. 4. Back.
Note 50: Rissman, Manfred, Cross-Border Cooperation as a Basis for European Integration, paper presented at the 7 th Parliamentary Conference on Cooperation in the Baltic Sea Area, Spe. 7-8, Lübeck 1998, p. 2. Back.
Note 52: The title of the project will be: Southwest Baltic Transregional Area Inventing New Geography (STRING). Among others, it is to develop a common view of and transregional structures and joint development possibilities. It is also to establish networks of local, regional and national authorities, universities, trade unions and other economic and social actors. Back.
Note 54: When the Ministers of Foreign Affairs from the 11 countries around the Baltic Sea founded the Council of Baltic Sea States as a platform for common development in 1992, the Council needed a body for the cooperation with the regional authorities (the subregions). Therefore, the subregions founded the BSSSC in 1993. From November 1997, the chairmanship was taken over by Denmark. Back.
Note 55: The discussion based on a report of the Swedish association Landsting Foerbundet and Svenska Kommunfoerbundet EU programs for the Baltic Sea Region Cooperation and a report Connnecting regional cooperation and EU programs for the Pre-Accession Strategy in the Baltic Sea Region. Information taken from a concluding draft received from the Hanse-Office, Brussels 1998. Back.
Note 56: Members of the group were: Dr. Marion Gräfin Doenhoff, (Herausgeberin, DIE ZEIT), Klaus P. Gehricke (Vorsitzender, DGB Nordmark), Prof. Dr. Jens Ch. Jensen, (Direktor, Kunsthalle zu Kiel), Prof. Dr Harry Maier, (Pädagogische Hochschule Flendsburg), Konsul Klaus Richter, (Präsident, Bundesverband des Deutschen Gross- und Aussenhandels), Gernot E. Scheffler, (Geschäftsfuehrer, Wirtschaftsförderungsgesellschaft Schl.Holst.), Prof. Dr. Karl Schiller (ehemaliger Bundes- Wirtschafts- und Finanzminister), Werner Schulz (Präsident, Landeszentralbank), Prof. Dr. Lutz Wicke, (Wiss.Direktor, Umweltbundesamt) Back.
Note 57: Der Ministerpraesident des Landes Schleswig-Holstein (Hrsg.), Chancen einer stärkeren Einbindung Schleswig-Holsteins in den Ostseeraum. Abschlussbericht der 2. Projektgruppe der Denkfabrik Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel 1992. Back.
Note 62: The Euroregion Pomerania was founded 1995 in Szcecin, and the agreement was finally signed in February 1998 in Lund, Sweden. The region consists of four members, the city of Szcecin, the Kommunaler Zweckverband der Gemeinden Westpommerns Pomerania, the Kommunalgemeinschaft Europaregion Pomerania e.V., and the Kommunfoerbundet Skåne. Back.
Note 63: Hansson, Bengt-Goeran, Swedish president of the Euroregion Pomerania, paper presented at the 7 th Parliamentary Conference on Cooperation in the Baltic Sea Area, Spe. 7-8, Lübeck 1998, p.5. Back.
Note 64: Rissmann, Manfred, Cross-border Cooperation as a Basis for European Integration, paper presented at the 7 th Parliamentary Conference on Cooperation in the Baltic Sea Area, Sep. 7-8, Lübeck 1998, p 3. Back.
Note 66: Walter, Gerd / Steinbrueck, Peer, Schleswig-Holstein und seine Chancen in der Ostseeregion. Ostseepolitik unter veränderten Rahmenbedingungen. presented at the cabinet meeting Feb. 24, 1998. Back.
Note 67: Among others, a stronger cooperation among the universities in the Baltic Sea area is envisioned. Courses in English for post-graduates shall be established and a virtual combine is planned between the college in Lübeck and partner colleagues in southern Sweden. Back.
Note 69: If Russia should roll back in direction of imperialistic power politics, this might well fuel the process of European security integration, which so far consists to a certain extend of more wishful thinking than political reality. In such a case, nation state and security policy would certainly start to play a much bigger role in the Baltic Sea region again. Back.
Note 70: However, after having been quite reluctant, the Russian position seem to change. During the second Baltic Sea Summit in Riga in January 1998 the then prime minister Chernomyrdin expressed a growing interest by the Russian government in cooperation in the Baltic Sea region and encouraged an increasing engagement by the regions in north-west Russia. Bericht über die Aktivitäten der Landesregierung im Ostseeraum 1997/1998 (Ostseebericht), Kiel 18.Aug. 1998, p. 12. Back.