Common fears, common opportunities? Czechia and Norway in the changing international context

Researchers from the Institute of International Relations Benjamin Tallis, Mark Galeotti, Elena Zhirukhina, and Jan Mazač together with researchers from Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) recently published a policy brief called "Common Fears, Common Opportunities? Czechia and Norway in the changing international context". The authors of the policy brief participated in the COMFEAR project number EHP-BFNU-OVNKM-2-039-2019, financed by EEA and Norway Grants 2014-2021, Bilateral Fund, whose aim was to identify common fears among Czech and Norwegian public and policymakers and their role in forming public opinion and foreign policy. Moreover, the project aimed to deepen cooperation between IIR and NUPI.

The policy brief is a result of conclusions from roundtable discussions with policy makers and researchers that took place in Prague and Oslo in late 2019 and early 2020. The researchers studied how to better respond to fear factors and move beyond them in foreign policy. A key observation made in the new brief is that while changes in American, Chinese and Russian foreign policies may trigger anxiety and uncertainty among smaller European states, fears like this can also have productive effects on foreign policy thinking and practice. For states like Czechia and Norway, it can create opportunities for re-thinking support networks and reaching out to new partners.
While Norway and Czechia have different historical, geographical and (sometimes) political points of departure, the two states’ assessment of recent international developments is similar. This creates room for conversation and mutual learning - including how to best respond to increased levels of rivalry between great powers, and changing dynamics in the EU and NATO. There are also similarities in how Norway and Czechia perceive their regional collaboration with their respective Nordic and Visegrad states – and how there is considerable scope for them to branch out from their regional formats.
The policy brief is available here.

You can also learn more about the whole project here.

Benjamin Tallis is a Senior Non-residential researcher of the Institute of International Relations. 

Elena Zhirukhina is a Researcher at the Institute of International Relations.

Mark Galeotti is a Senior Nonresident Fellow of the Institute of International Relations. 

Jan Mazač is a Junior Associate of the Institute of International Relations. 

This policy brief was financially supported through the EEA and Norway Grants 2014-2021 (Bilateral Fund), project name: Common Fear Factors in Foreign Policy (COMFEAR), project number: EHP-BFNU-OVNKM-2-039-2019. 


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