September 10, 2008

English summary

The summer issue of Diplomaatia discusses the current crises in the European Union. Estonian MEP Toomas Hendrik Ilves argues that it is the new member states that suffer the most from the Union’s failure to agree on how to go forward, hence it is also in the interest of the new member states to try to build stronger coalitions and greater solidarity inside the EU. In this new situation, Ilves believes, Estonia’s interests coincide much more with those of other new members than with the interests of the older ones: “Before accession, all candidate countries competed with each other, mutual communication was often replaced by discussions with Brussels. (—)

The summer issue of Diplomaatia discusses the current crises in the European Union. Estonian MEP Toomas Hendrik Ilves argues that it is the new member states that suffer the most from the Union’s failure to agree on how to go forward, hence it is also in the interest of the new member states to try to build stronger coalitions and greater solidarity inside the EU. In this new situation, Ilves believes, Estonia’s interests coincide much more with those of other new members than with the interests of the older ones: “Before accession, all candidate countries competed with each other, mutual communication was often replaced by discussions with Brussels. (—)

English summary

The summer issue of Diplomaatia discusses the current crises in the European Union. Estonian MEP Toomas Hendrik Ilves argues that it is the new member states that suffer the most from the Union’s failure to agree on how to go forward, hence it is also in the interest of the new member states to try to build stronger coalitions and greater solidarity inside the EU. In this new situation, Ilves believes, Estonia’s interests coincide much more with those of other new members than with the interests of the older ones: “Before accession, all candidate countries competed with each other, mutual communication was often replaced by discussions with Brussels. (—) In addition, each candidate country had its own sponsor(s): Poland had Germany, Estonia had Finland and Sweden, Slovenia had Austria and Germany. The sponsor’s role was not only to help its protegee to develop, but also to explain to the rest of the EU and its institutions the particular circumstances of the candidate country. This was done to make sure the candidate country stayed within the expansion process. This was all carried out, of course while keeping in mind the sponsors’ own national interests.
Being inside the EU, the situation is cardinally different. Sponsorship is over. (—) A former protegee is now seen as a competitor in the market, rather than as a helpful neighbour. (—) Let’s face the fact that as a new member state, we have much more in common with Poland than with Finland.”
Another member of the European Parliament, György Schöpflin, acknowledges that “sometimes fate plays strange tricks on people and this can happen to institutions as well. The thought that it is precisely the UK that is taking over the presidency at the very moment when the EU is facing one of its worst crises ever – if not the very worst – is just such an irony. If nothing else, in the aftermath of the French and Dutch negative votes on the Constitution, the EU would seem to need a leadership that is sympathetic to the basic goals and values of European integration, yet that is the one thing that the British are not well fitted to provide.”
Still, in Schöpflin’s opinion, the EU has a way out of the current crises; he points out three things that must be kept in mind. First, it is necessary to respond to what French and Dutch voters made clear – that there are limits to supranationalism and the relationship between national cultures and national style must be respected. Second, the division between social Europe and market Europe must be accepted as a reality: “There is both state failure and market failure; the task is to create systems that can offer security to the victims of both failures.” And finally, we must not forget about Europe’s role in the world: Europe has a set of key advantages when it comes to non-Europe. “Soft power” is at the heart of this.
In their article, Ronald D. Asmus of the German Marshall Fund of the US and Alexandr Vondra from New York University in Prague discuss the origins of Atlanticism in Central and Eastern Europe and pose the question: how long will it last? Will the new members retain their Atlanticist instincts in the EU or will they develop their own brand of Eurogaullism? The answer, they argue, depends largely on the US itself: if America loses the reputation it currently enjoys in the region, that of being an altruistic super-power, and instead becomes to be seen as a unilateralist, selfish state not ready to accept the concerns of its allies, then support for America is likely to diminish and finally possibly collapse – precisely because such an America will cease to be the kind of state that used to be so deeply respected by the Central and Eastern Europeans. Among other factors that will determine the future orientation of the Central and Eastern European countries are the internal developments of the EU, the future of the EU-US relationship, but also the generational change within the region itself: a new generation of leaders may give different answers to the current questions.
On the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Helsinki Final Act, Riina Kionka of the Council of the EU looks back on the role that the CSCE–later the OSCE, has played in Baltic foreign policy. Although the Baltic states did not sit at the roundtable in 1972-75, as the CSCE was being negotiated, they were very much on the minds of policymakers, diplomats and NGOs. Indeed, the US delegation’s logic in insisting on language for the peaceful change of frontiers was not only to keep open the door for eventual German unification, but also to preserve non-recognition policy vis-ä-vis the Baltic states. Kionka discusses the Baltics’ aim to achieve observer status in the CSCE in 1990, a campaign that resulted in Soviet President Gorbachev’s having the three Baltic foreign minister thrown out of the historic summit in Paris. Having achieved official status, the Baltics used CSCE procedures to get the phrase “early, orderly and complete” written into a summit declaration, three little words that would prove instrumental later during Russian troop withdrawal talks. Finally, she discusses two prominant post-Cold War institutions of the Helsinki Process: the preventive diplomacy missions and the High Commissioner on National Minorities. “Herein lies the irony for the Baltic states, ” Kionka writes. “…Those instruments, …which began to dominate the Baltics’, especially Estonia’s and Latvia’s, relations with the CSCE.had been established precisely because some CSCE states had sought in January 1991, to help us out.”

No comment yet, add your voice below!


Add a Comment