Nortia Defence Series

This defence series entitled, The Security and Defence of Small European States: Challenges, Options and Strategies, is composed of three research-based, half-day seminar series organised by the IIEA with the support of the ERASMUS+- funded NORTIA academic network and engages a broad cohort of decision-makers, opinion leaders, commentators, experts and engaged citizens. The defence series. The series runs until February 2020 and aims to further debate in Ireland on defence policy with the input of leading scholars and practitioners on three subjects i) threats to small states in Europe ii) the contribution of small states to European security and defence iii) strategy building for small states in European security and defence. A briefing paper will follow each facilitated discussion in addition to speaker blogs.

  • Video
  • Blog
  • Publications

Ben Tonra, Full Professorof International Relations, UCD School of Politics and International Relations

Dr Kristi Raik, Options and Strategies Director
of the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute,
International Centre for Defence and Security

Alexander Kmentt, Senior Visiting Research Fellow, King’s College, London

Declan Power Adjunct Lecturer,
NATO School, (CCOE)

Nick Witney Senior Policy Fellow

Hanna Ojanen, Adjunct Professor,
Finnish National Defence University
Niklas Granholmes, Deputy Director of Studies,
FOI, Swedish Defence Reserach Agency

Ireland has a unique global brand as a smaller, even-handed state with balanced foreign policy approaches, strong moral and soft power. It is imperative that our approaches to national security support Irish interests and values.

Whatever size a state may be, these new defence initiatives presume that success can only be achieved if governments pool more of their sovereignty together.

European security and defence has gained increased momentum over the past two years. But has anything, in political and capability terms, really changed?

Finland is no doubt seen as a net contributor to security in Europe, and certainly wants to be seen as such. It takes care of its own defence, and thereby contributes to overall security.

Is it really useful to think about “small states” when discussing European defence and security?

The tremendous changes in the European security landscape in the early 1990s led to fundamental changes in Swedish security policy, both in stated doctrine and in practice.

While our EU partners face real and present threats, we in Ireland primarily face threats, other than domestic terrorism, that are not readily apparent.

Close cooperation and the integration of state efforts are inevitable and necessary. Viewed against global trends and challenges, all states in Europe are small.