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Governing the Baltic Sea Region at critical junctures (1991–2021): How do transnational and intergovernmental organizations cope with external regional change?


Stefan Gänzle, Kristine Kern &  Nina Tynkkynen


Since the end of the East-West conflict, various intergovernmental and transnational organizations have collectively governed the Baltic Sea Region. Exploring key features of the organizational architecture of three such organizations – HELCOM, the Council of the Baltic Sea States, and the Union of Baltic Cities – we ask how their institutions evolved in the aftermath of critical junctures affecting the region over the past three decades. Findings show that specific-purpose organizations are robust with respect to changes than general-purpose organizations whereas general-purpose maybe less so. With growing geopolitical tensions and global turbulence, this finding holds lessons for the design of transnational cooperation in the future – and beyond the Baltic Sea Region.