Center for Strategic Assessment and forecasts

Autonomous non-profit organization

Home / Politics and Geopolitics / Present and future of Europe / Articles
Era neutrality in Europe was coming to an end?
Material posted: Publication date: 05-04-2018
There are discussions about how feasible it is to maintain neutral status and full-fledged participation in building the European security and defence within the European Union. So, the supporters of neutrality concerns the fact that the EU is increasingly strengthening its military component, as well as the trend towards convergence of the EU and NATO.

In the XXI century the development of the concept of neutrality continued. Originally neutrality was defined as a condition in which the state is not only involved in the conflict. This type of is called military neutrality, i.e. neutrality during the conflict. However, at present, more and more countries began to follow the other type of neutrality is the permanent or long-term neutrality.

Permanent neutrality of the country voluntarily proclaim and fix documented. With the adoption of the neutrality of each country makes commitments not to use force against other States, and not to join the transactions that may lead her to participate in military conflicts. Such neutrality shall cease to have effect only in one case - in the case of defense against aggression.

Thus, for the proclamation of permanent neutrality, the state must adhere to several conditions. The country needs to avoid the various events that can cause a military conflict and not to be a member of the military blocs. It cannot provide its territory for construction of foreign military bases and allow the passage of armed forces of foreign States through its territory. Its status as a neutral state must be recognized everywhere.

In modern Europe there are five countries that adhere to these criteria - Austria, Sweden, Switzerland, Finland and Ireland. For some of these countries neutrality is a tradition and is perceived as a component of its development. These countries are Sweden and Switzerland.

Switzerland is the first country, which recognized the status of a state with permanent neutrality. Its permanent neutrality provided the following documents: the Declaration of the States (20 March 1815), the Swiss Act of Parliament (27 may 1815), Paris Declaration (20 November 1815). But the emergence of Swiss neutrality can be seen in the middle Ages - 1515, the year when the country suffered a defeat in the war with the French. After this defeat the attempts of conquest of neighbouring territories ceased. Although not a means of permanent neutrality, but the pattern of behavior started to change already. Now, the Swiss neutrality has changed. Although membership in the EU, the Swiss refuse, but Brussels has a number of sectoral agreements, in 2002 the country entered the UN. She, along with other neutral countries, began to cooperate with NATO in PFP ("Partnership for peace").

Sweden's neutrality was due to several reasons. It is a small country with little human resources and little economic potential, which exported raw materials in the countries of the Entente, and to the countries of the Triple Alliance. This has brought considerable profit, so Sweden tried not to spoil relations with other countries. Now, however, Sweden has quite an active foreign policy, participating in international organizations and programs. In 1920, Sweden became a member of the League of Nations in 1946 joined the United Nations. The UN has repeatedly participated in military operations. All these actions are actively criticized, because all of these actions can not be combined with the principle of neutrality.

Some countries have declared its neutrality after the Second world war - Austria, Finland, Ireland. In these circumstances, the neutrality of these countries developed not so long, like Switzerland or Sweden, and has a long history. He appeared instantly as a response to the geopolitical situation in the world.

Austria is a country with the youngest neutrality. Austria was recognized as a sovereign and independent state in 1955. In October of the same year, the Austrian Parliament adopted a constitutional law declaring perpetual neutrality and a refusal in the future from participation in any military alliances and the ban on the deployment of any military bases on its territory. From this moment Austria has built its foreign policy based on the principle of permanent neutrality. In spite of permanent neutrality, Austria has partnered with organizations such as NATO, OSCE, is a member of the United Nations. This cooperation can be seen as a deviation from her chosen course and thus becomes the question of the legality of this cooperation.

The neutrality of Finland has a short history. Finland pledged to respect the neutrality due to the emergence of the system of the bipolar world after the Second world war. Finland's neutrality during the cold war, reflected the geographical proximity of the country to the Soviet Union and its malonamides in the face of Soviet military power and political influence. Now Finland has consistently advocated the strengthening of friendly relations with all countries, especially neighboring, plays an active role in the European process.

The neutrality of Ireland, was based primarily on the problems between Ireland and Britain, and not on confrontation of the cold war. In 1949, Ireland was ready to hold talks with the US on bilateral defense Treaty, but protested against joining NATO as long as is not resolved with great Britain the question of Northern Ireland. The result was that Ireland was in some way potentially provided its security at the expense of the United Kingdom – at the very least, NATO will have to defend the entire island, as part of his is one of the key members of the Alliance.

What are the chances of these countries to maintain their neutrality? The future of these countries may take place under two scenarios. They can continue the traditional policy of freedom from military alliances. But this policy increasingly difficult to pursue. Each of these countries has a close relationship with NATO. All of them take part in such initiatives as the creation of "battle groups" of the EU, and the NATO program "Partnership for peace". This can lead to their membership in NATO, which means a total loss of their neutrality. And this is the most realistic forecast of developments - the EU increasingly strengthening its military component, and there is a tendency to rapprochement of the EU and NATO.

Tatiana Ivanova


RELATED MATERIALS: Politics and Geopolitics
Возрастное ограничение