The purpose of the project is to map and explain patterns of transnational contacts and lobbying in the Baltic Sea region (the nine littoral states). The research focuses on two research questions. First, why are some non-state actors more successful in developing and maintaining durable patterns of transnational interaction than others? The patterns of transnational contacts were mapped with the help of an e-mail questionnaire to 858 NGOs from the Baltic Sea countries (response rate 52.1 per cent). It was found that the relevance of structural conditioners depends on which type of transnational contacts we are studying, while actors’ interests appear as a given conditioner. If we want to know why some types of NGOs have more transnational contacts than others, then the Baltic Sea case suggests that we should pay attention to actors’ interests, democracy, technological progress, and international governmental institutions. If we instead want to know why NGOs from some countries have more transnational contacts than others, then our findings stress the importance of actors’ interests, geographical distance, and economic interdependence.
Second, why are some transnational actors more successful in their lobbying than others? This question was approached through seven case studies of attempts by regional networks of non-state actors to lobby the Council of Baltic Sea States. It was found that successful transnational lobbying depends on a number of variables related to actor (capacity, bargaining chips, and strategy) as well as to structure (regional interdependence, and regional institutions). However, two variables proved to have less explanatory power than expected. We assumed transnational lobbyists with an informal organization to stand a better chance to exert influence. This was only supported by two case studies. As regards the role of democracy, we assumed a positive effect when it comes to access to policy-makers, while at the same time making it more difficult for a single lobbyist to exert influence. The conclusion on this point is mixed. We found support for democracy’s positive role in making access to po