News from the Finnish Institute of International Relations


Programme period 2017-2019

FIIA’s new 3-year programme period started in January with some new emphases on the research agenda.

The European Union research programme will focus on the EU’s external relations, the Union’s major trends of development as well as on its political system and institutional structure. The study of Nordic cooperation both within the EU’s context and in general will be enhanced during the new programme term as well as the study of the EU’s role in global trade policy.

The EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood and Russia programme will focus on Russian foreign and security policy as well as on those of the EU’s Eastern partnership countries. During the new programme term the study of Russia’s policies in relation to its immediate neighbourhood, including the Baltic Sea region, will be further strengthened. The study of Russian internal political developments including their ideological undercurrents forms another strengthened focus.

The Global Security programme will cover changes in global power structures, with particular emphasis on the roles of the US and China – and in the future also India – as well as main trends in global governance in particular in the field of security policy, broadly defined. The Arctic policies form a specific theme for the programme which also focuses on new areas of interdependence such as cyber politics and geoeconomics


Project on the EU’s future

FIIA is preparing a report on major trends in the EU. The report, entitled The European Union – Between Deepening and Disintegration, identifies four key areas for the EU’s future:

  • developments in the common political space, including the rise of populism and the Brexit process;
  • common economic space, including reform of the Economic and Monetary Union;
  • common territory, especially governance of migration;and
  • common security, including the EU’s efforts to defend the European security order, deepen defence cooperation and fight terrorism.

Under each of these subtopics, the report analyzes the drivers, processes and implications of further integration and cooperation on the one hand, and disintegration on the other hand. The report is part of a larger research project of FIIA on “Finland and the Tightening Competition in Global Politics”, funded by the Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities unit. The project is led by Director Teija Tiilikainen. Several researchers of the EU Research Programme are contributing to the report which will be published next spring.


FIIA to launch several research projects with external funding

Government’s Analysis, Assessment and Research Activities unit has commissioned two research projects from FIIA. Director Teija Tiilikainen will lead a project on the prospects of Nordic cooperation in foreign and security policy until the end of March 2018. Programme Director Mika Aaltola will lead a project on US global role and transatlantic relations until the end of 2017. Both projects were granted 80,000€ and they will be launched in the beginning of March.

FIIA has also been granted MATINE (Scientific Advisory Board for Defence) funding (51,030€) for a 1-year project entitled “Societal Resilience in the Age of Competitive Interdependency: Prospects and Challenges”. Programme Director Mika Aaltola and Senior Research Fellows Harri Mikkola and Juha Käpylä will take part in the project. Harri Mikkola will act as a project coordinator. At the end of the project, a FIIA Report will be published and a closing seminar organized.

Furthermore, the Korea Foundation has granted $25,000 to Senior Research Fellow Elina Sinkkonen for a research project on “Geopolitical and Ideological Tensions on the Korean Peninsula and Their Regional Ramifications”. The project started in January and it will produce a FIIA Report to which Elina Sinkkonen and Senior Research Fellows Bart Gaens, Jyrki Kallio and Katja Creutz will contribute. The report and the closing seminar are planned for later this year. After this project, Sinkkonen will stay at FIIA on a 4-year Kone Foundation research grant. Her research project will focus on changing authoritarianism in China.


Staff News

M.Soc.Sc. Ville Sinkkonen joined FIIA’s Center on US Politics and Power as a Research Fellow in the beginning of January.

Senior Research Fellow Jyrki Kallio defended his PhD thesis, Towards China’s Strategic Narrative, at the University of Lapland on 25 November.

Enemmän kuin puoli taivasta, written by Tiina Airaksinen, Minna Valjakka and FIIA’s Senior Research Fellow Elina Sinkkonen, was awarded the Kanava Prize for the best non-fiction book on 3 November.

Senior Research Fellow Teemu Tammikko (formerly Sinkkonen) will return to FIIA in January after having spent a year at DIIS in Copenhagen.

Senior Research Fellow Charly Salonius-Pasternak will be visiting Oxford University in January-March.

Senior Research Fellow Mikael Wigell has been elected the chairman of the Finnish International Studies Association.