February 20, 2015

European Values Under Attack. What Do We Do?

Viktor Drachev/TASS
France's president Francois Hollande, Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel, Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko, Belarus' president Alexander Lukashenko and Russia's president Vladimir Putin (L-R) seen during a break in "Normandy format" Ukraine peace talks at the Palace of Independence in Minsk.
France's president Francois Hollande, Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel, Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko, Belarus' president Alexander Lukashenko and Russia's president Vladimir Putin (L-R) seen during a break in "Normandy format" Ukraine peace talks at the Palace of Independence in Minsk.

European values (or should we say Western values?), which have been under increasing pressure since last year due to events in the Crimea and East Ukraine, were attacked again when Islamist radicals caused carnage in the office of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. Although a fragile ceasefire was achieved in Ukraine, we have seen brutal killings in the region early this year as well, especially in the offensive on Mariupol.

What will become of European values? What is the future of freedom of speech? And what will happen to a state’s right to choose the international organisations it wishes to join? How should we prepare for all of this?
Diplomaatia tries to offer answers to these difficult questions. Ilmar Raag, government adviser and film director, analyses the Paris events. Raag writes: “The author of this article was in Paris on the day of the verdict, and heard some polemicist from the mainstream media finally ask the rhetorical question: ‘Why is it that, when you insult one black person, it’s called racism, and insult one Jew it’s anti-Semitism, but when you trample 1.6 billion Muslims under your feet, it is called freedom of speech?’”
Diplomaatia’s big debate with the parties currently represented in the Riigikogu provides an overview of how our politicians view our defence policy and what would they do to enhance it. Marianne Mikko (Social Democratic Party), Urmas Reinsalu (Pro Patria and Res Publica Union), Jürgen Ligi (Estonian Reform Party) and Rene Toomse (Estonian Centre Party) engage in a heated debate over Estonia’s options.
In 1995, Finland, Sweden and Austria acceded to the European Union. It is noteworthy that, 20 years on, none of these states have joined NATO. How have these countries been doing during those two decades? This is analysed by Jaak Jõerüüt (on Sweden), Jan Store (on Finland) and Milvi Martina Piir (on Austria).
Lithuania’s adoption of the euro has passed almost unnoticed by the Estonian media. Ramūnas Vilpišauskas from Vilnius University explores in detail how Lithuania has been trying to adopt the euro and what are the sentiments after joining the eurozone. This double issue of Diplomaatia concludes with analyses by Helga Kalm (Junior Research Fellow at the International Centre for Defence and Security) and Peeter Raudsik (Researcher on Arabic Studies) on problems related to Islamist radicals.

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