The bizarre recent phone conversation between the president of the US and his counterpart in Ukraine returned to the public mind a neglected country with a frozen conflict.
Two small countries, Iceland and Latvia, were severely affected during the global crisis in 2008. Iceland was the first to be hit and Latvia the hardest hit. Two fundamental differences influenced their response. Iceland’s banking system was in local ownership and Iceland was not an EU member state, but Latvia was in the EU and […]
Since independence in 1991 the Baltic states have implemented neoliberal economic policies with weak social systems and income and wealth distribution that is among the most unequal in the European Union. Among the consequences is large-scale outward migration. At independence the Baltics collectively had about 7.8 million inhabitants and Sweden about 8.6m. Now the Baltic […]
When thinking about the state of affairs in Europe, including post-crisis developments and Brexit, Albert Hirschman’s classic book Exit, Voice and Loyalty comes to mind. Hirschman noted two ways in which customers can respond to a firm´s deteriorating performance: switch to another product, or complain to management. Thus, they can exit or they can exercise […]
It is not always easy to be a small state in a global world. Many small states seek shelter, some by building alliances with larger states, others by joining international organizations such as the European Union. A shelter can be political, military as well as economic. The Nordic and the Baltic States have all sought […]
I lived in Riga, the Latvian capital, from 1999 to 2003 just before the Baltic States became European Union member states in 2004. EU membership was to be a ticket to prosperity, and along with NATO membership, provide security. There was optimism that the Baltics would catch up with the richer EU15 countries and perhaps […]