Introduction: The European Neutral States

  • Andrew Cottey
Part of the New Security Challenges book series (NSECH)


This chapter introduces the position of Austria, Finland, Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland as neutral states in European international politics. The chapter examines which European states may be viewed as neutral, noting that Austria, Finland, Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland (along with Yugoslavia) emerged as a distinct group of states outside NATO and the Warsaw Pact during the Cold War. The five states’ status as long-established European democracies but outside NATO now marks them out as unusual in the larger context of European international politics. The chapter also reviews existing academic literature on neutrality and the European neutral states, noting that while quite a lot has been written on the changing character of neutrality and on the impact of European Union membership on Austria, Finland, Ireland and Sweden’s foreign and security policies, the European neutral states’ post-Cold War partnerships with NATO have received less attention.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew Cottey
    • 1
  1. 1.University College CorkCorkIreland

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