May 27, 2019

15th Anniversary of Estonia’s EU Accession


Estonia joined the EU 15 years ago. The May issue of Diplomaatia explores the lessons Estonia has learnt from being an EU member, the fears people had before joining and the essence of European values in general, which have again been in focus a lot in recent times. We also look at some other global topics.

Siim Kallas, Second Vice-President of the Riigikogu (Estonian parliament) and a former Vice-President of the European Commission, writes about Estonia’s 15 years in the EU and the time before it. “We had to prove that we could manage our finances. We had to prove that we weren’t SS sympathisers or neo-Nazis,” writes Kallas. “We had to prove that Estonia wouldn’t be fertile ground for interethnic conflicts. We had to prove that Estonia’s considerable Russian minority felt comfortable here.”

Toomas Sildam interviews Kaja Tael, Estonia’s Permanent Representative to the EU, who focuses on the intricacies of working in Brussels.

Writer and historian Milvi Martina Piir writes about European values. “Estonians, Greeks, the Irish and others are made of similar psychological fibre and have a notable capability for mutual understanding thanks to their religious, scientific, legal, artistic, social and erotic values,” she writes. “On this basis, we can tentatively draw the conclusion that a European is not so much a category based on geography, citizenship or racial characteristics as an attitude.”

Mele Pesti, an expert on Latin American affairs, looks at the processes that are changing the region. “The red Marxist balloon that was left lying around in the room is deflating quickly and could go with a bang, as seems to be the case in oil-producing Venezuela,” she observes. “The innovative pink tide of the early 2000s has mostly come to nothing, but the very progressive Uruguay as well as Ecuador and Bolivia continue steadily with their projects. Peru, Argentina and Brazil have turned to the right; the last of them extremely so. Mexico remains on its course despite its recent shift to the left.”

Analyst Andres Mäe writes about how difficult it is to find out the actual growth of Russia’s economy.


This article was published in ICDS Diplomaatia magazine.

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