Vulnerability without capabilities? Small state strategy and the international counter-piracy agenda

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Today, small European states regularly need to go out of area and out of tried and tested institutional settings to defend their security interests. How do small European states meet this challenge most effectively? This analysis suggests that small states can influence multilateral decisions on international security by combining norm entrepreneurship with lobbying and taking on the role as an ‘honest broker’. However, economic capacity, an effective state administration and interests compatible with the agendas of the great powers are key to success. Based on a comprehensive empirical material including 19 elite interviews as well as official documents and other written material, we process trace how one small European state, Denmark, influenced the development of international counterpiracy cooperation and the development of an international counterpiracy strategy for the Gulf of Aden and off the Horn of Africa and discuss which lessons the Danish case may hold for other small states.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Security
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)79-98
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2017

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Social Sciences - Maritime security, Norm entrepreneuership, Small state strategy, Danish foreign policy, counterpiracy, influence seeking, Piracy

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