Influence, Interests and Coalition readiness of European Union’s Member States in the Judgment of Estonian officials
A study conducted among officials confirms that knowledge of the influence, interests and coalition readiness of European Union Member States is one of the primary success factors for representation of Estonia’s interests in Europe.
The research conducted by master’s degree students in University of Tartu’s EuroCollege elicited the opinions of key Estonian officials dealing with European Union issues regarding the influence, readiness for compromise, comprehensibility of positions of other European member states as well as on the establishing of contacts with other countries. Tabulating the assessments by officials allows conclusions to be drawn regarding Estonia’s potential and current partners. In addition to practical skills, negotiations are based also on Estonia’s priorities and knowledge of the special character of other member states.
By combining the responses, information was gained on how the knowledge of the respondents about the areas of interest of other member states is used in practice, in the course of negotiations, and to what extent knowledge of Estonia’s interests depends on the stage of the European Union’s decision-making process, which methods are considered important for achieving the goals and which ones are actually used.
The most substantial findings of the research stemmed from the part in which respondents were asked which member states are considered the most and least influential, which states must usually make concessions and which usually get their wish. The states with the greatest influence, in the opinion of the officials, are the large countries. It was surprising that the number of most influential states and the number of states that do not make concessions was limited to eight countries in both cases, even though all 27 countries were in the sample. Even though the officials believe that cooperation with other member states is based more on the specific issue, they listed states in Estonia’s geographic proximity as Estonia’s primary partners. The study findings showed that these are the states with which the most contacts have been established.