Opportunities and Challenges of a Small State Presidency: The Estonian Council Presidency 2017

Jana Bendel, Gunnhildur Lily Magnusdottir

Abstract


This article discusses some of the opportunities and challenges that the Estonian Council Presidency is facing during its first term in 2017. We also explore how Estonia is likely to appreach this position. The Council presidency provides a position to propagate national interests and an opportunity for leadership within the Council but can also be preceived as a silencer of domestic narrative. We claim that the Estonian presidency is expected to silence its interests in most policy areas in order to portray Estonia as a pro-European mediator. Through qualitative text analysis of key documents, interviews with Estonian, Danish, Finnish, and Latvian officials and comparative reflections on these states' presidencies, we find that Estonia is likely to excercise a problem-solving leadership during its term and that the main challenge and opportunity will be the further Europeanization of its public administration.

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