The Europe Neutrals and NATO: Future Prospects

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


This chapter provides an assessment of the partnerships between the European neutral states and NATO since the end of the Cold War. Austria, Finland, Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland’s maintenance of long-standing policies of neutrality reflects a logic of ‘if ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ A radically changed European security environment and a ‘new’ NATO, however, also led the European neutral states to become proactive partners of NATO. Reflecting their vulnerability to Russia, Finland and Sweden have opted for maximalist policies of ‘everything but membership’. Austria, Ireland and Switzerland’s relations with NATO have been more limited and focused primarily on peacekeeping. As NATO re-focuses on collective defence against Russia, this divergent pattern of partnership with the various European neutral states is likely to be reinforced.


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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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