Eloi Laurent

The "Swedish method" refers to the Swedes' collective capacity to adapt to the successive economic and social challenges they face in today's world. The present study attempts to raise and shed light on two issues: the inner workings of the "Swedish method"; its sustainability in the current phase of globalization. More specifically, we try to determine whether confidence and social cohesion, at the heart of Sweden's success, may be affected by the changes in public policy induced by a strategy of openness and adaptation that Sweden has considerably encouraged in recent years. We begin by surveying the literature on the relationship between confidence, social cohesion and economic performance to measure the respective importance of the factors of social cohesion. We then show how these components have been crystallized into institutions according to three socioeconomic rationales, the social democratic rationale at the heart of the Swedish system differing from the rationale of social segmentation. The study then takes a fresh look at Sweden's economic and social performance today and describes in detail the contemporary Swedish growth strategy, typical of a "small" country. We then describe the evolution of macroeconomic, fiscal, immigration and education policies and point out a weakening of collective protection schemes and the alteration of certain crucial public policies, an evolution that in the long run could call into question the Swedish governance strategy by eroding social cohesion.

Odette Tomescu-Hatto

The enlargement of the EU to the Central and Eastern European countries raises interrogations concerning the new borders traced by Brussels between the Member States and their future neighbors. What is the impact of the EU enlargement on the Romanian-Moldovan relations and how might the cooperation between the two countries affect the security of the Eastern border of the EU? The analysis on the one hand of the impact of Romania’s preparations for EU membership on its relations with Moldova and the evaluation on the other hand of the limits and success of the European Neighborhood Policy towards Moldova, show that one of the main challenges for the EU will be to reconcile at the same time security and integration.

Alexandra Goujon

Since May 1, 2004, the Ukraine and Belarus have become the European Union’s new neighbours. Moldova is bound to follow suit with Romania’s entrance, scheduled for 2007. Enlargement of the EU to the East has sparked debates on what relations the EU should have with its new border states that are not slated for membership in the near future. The discussion has led to the design of a European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) that blends a regional approach based on shared values with a process of differentiation taking into account the specific characteristics of each country involved. Since their independence, the Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova have developed different identity-based strategies that the new ENP hopes to address while avoiding the creation of new divisions. These strategies in fact oppose those who wish to incorporate European values into their country’s political model and those who, on the contrary, reject these values. The relationship between identity and politics is all the more crucial for the EU’s eastern neighbours since it involves practices with a low level of institutionalization, in the areas of nation-building, the political system as well as foreign policy. A comparative approach confirms the idea that the EU’s new neighbours constitute a regional specificity due to their common past as Soviet republics and their geostrategic position. It also points up the differences between these states as they gradually transform into discrete political spaces with nationalized modes of identification and politicization.

Enlargement today is a priority on the European agenda. Examining Portugal and Greece from a comparative perspective with respect to Poland, this Study analyzes the original and specific paths each of these national configurations have taken as regards administrative and institutional changes, particularly through the regional dimension, policy reorientations and modes of government. Given the large body of acquis communautaire that must be integrated, the nature of Commission involvement and the highly regulatory nature of European directives, this dimension emerges as the most significant in the process of Europeanization: public administration acts as a filter in this dynamic and nation-states are paradoxically strengthened by European integration. This comparison is an opportunity to underscore the importance of innovations and the singularity of modes of government, suggesting that certain arrangements put into practice in cohesion countries may provide sources of inspiration for the new entrants, which are faced with similar problems of administrative competence, bureaucratic blockages and political and state legacies that are remote from the European model of public administration, civil service organization and rules. With the effect of European constraints, a threefold dynamic is at work: a dynamic of delegation, or privatization, through the creation of agencies, offices and institutes, a dynamic of politicized (re)centralization, and a dynamic of political, institutional and social innovation. Thus components of these models are constantly borrowed and reshaped, hybrid constructions are formed and configurations take shape that are no less European than what can be found in the “heart” of Europe.