February 20, 2015

Summary

This double issue of Diplomaatia deals with many topics. Ilmar Raag, government advisor and movie director, looks back at the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris in January. Although the massacre raised the question of freedom of speech, not everybody drew the same conclusions from this tragic event and the discussion around the matter continues, Raag writes.

In the run-up to the parliamentary elections in Estonia, Diplomaatia organised a debate on defence policy between the four main political parties, and the outcome can be read in this issue.
In addition, Diplomaatia deals with contemporary history, 20 years on from Finland, Sweden and Austria joining the European Union. Jaak Jõerüüt, former Estonian Ambassador to Sweden, gives his thoughts on what has happened in that country, especially regarding the Swedish stance on security.
“As many Swedish officials have reminisced during private conversations, only 15–20 years ago it was dangerous to utter anything that contained the acronym NATO with an even slightly positive connotation at a security policy meeting. The careful shift, firstly in rhetoric and later also in behaviour, occurred step by step, almost imperceptibly—until, that is, the governing party of the last eight years, the Moderates, started to publicly support joining NATO,” Jõerüüt writes.
Jan Store, retired Ambassador to Finland, looks back at how Finland joined the European Union. Store’s main conclusions are that EU membership has been good for the country and that every generation has something to gain from Finland being in the EU.
Milvi Martina Piir, a historian living in Austria, offers an overview of Austria’s complicated path to EU membership and the country’s adaptation to the new reality emerging from the end of the Cold War. “Anti-European sentiment, although strong, failed to undermine policies oriented towards integration and openness. Overall, it seems that Austrians wish to learn from the past and contribute to building a friendlier, more inclusive society,“ Piir writes.
Lithuania joined the eurozone this year, and Ramūnas Vilpišauskas, Director and professor of the Institute of International Relations and Political Science at Vilnius University, writes about the country’s road to the single currency. And Helga Kalm and Peeter Raudsik write about IS.

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