January 27, 2011

Summary

Having joined the eurozone at the beginning of 2011, Estonia finished its long journey back to Europe and the West – as a member of the EU, NATO, the Schengen visa zone, the OECD and the euro area, it is now more deeply integrated with Western institutions than any of its Nordic neighbours. As a tribute to the latest significant step on this road, the current issue of Diplomaatia is dedicated to Europe and the EU, examining the state of the eurozone economy, EU’s foreign and security policy after the Lisbon Treaty and the impact of the economic crisis on defence budgets. At a more philosophical level, the categories of ‘new’ and ‘old’, Eastern and Western, traditionally democratic and ‘post-Communist’ Europe are reviewed, analysed and put under question. In addition, this issue contains reflections on Wikileaks, memories of the late Richard Holbrooke and a review of the situation in Belarus.

Having joined the eurozone at the beginning of 2011, Estonia finished its long journey back to Europe and the West – as a member of the EU, NATO, the Schengen visa zone, the OECD and the euro area, it is now more deeply integrated with Western institutions than any of its Nordic neighbours. As a tribute to the latest significant step on this road, the current issue of Diplomaatia is dedicated to Europe and the EU, examining the state of the eurozone economy, EU’s foreign and security policy after the Lisbon Treaty and the impact of the economic crisis on defence budgets. At a more philosophical level, the categories of ‘new’ and ‘old’, Eastern and Western, traditionally democratic and ‘post-Communist’ Europe are reviewed, analysed and put under question. In addition, this issue contains reflections on Wikileaks, memories of the late Richard Holbrooke and a review of the situation in Belarus.

Summary

Having joined the eurozone at the beginning of 2011, Estonia finished its long journey back to Europe and the West – as a member of the EU, NATO, the Schengen visa zone, the OECD and the euro area, it is now more deeply integrated with Western institutions than any of its Nordic neighbours. As a tribute to the latest significant step on this road, the current issue of Diplomaatia is dedicated to Europe and the EU, examining the state of the eurozone economy, EU’s foreign and security policy after the Lisbon Treaty and the impact of the economic crisis on defence budgets. At a more philosophical level, the categories of ‘new’ and ‘old’, Eastern and Western, traditionally democratic and ‘post-Communist’ Europe are reviewed, analysed and put under question. In addition, this issue contains reflections on Wikileaks, memories of the late Richard Holbrooke and a review of the situation in Belarus.
In the opening article, President of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves calls into question the outdated and often unjustified division line between ‘new’ and ‘old’ Europe. He explains the background of this dichotomy, outlines some crucial challenges in today’s Europe and argues not only for letting go of the outdated categories, but also for deeper integration of the EU and particularly of its northern part around the Baltic Sea, ‘the Northern Baltic Rim’.
Echoing Ilves’s scepticism about the division lines in Europe, journalist Edward Lucas also casts doubt upon the categorisation of countries into East and West, into post-Communist and ex-Soviet ones, etc. While deconstructing such categories, Lucas argues that the categorisation of states – even though temptingly easy as a method for sorting the world – has never really worked. On the other hand, as it is a habit nonetheless, categories can be redefined so that new ones are harnessed as a means of challenging old ones.
Aare Järvan, Economic Adviser to the Estonian Prime Minister, and Siim Kallas, Vice President of the European Commission, write about the eurozone economy and the prospects and challenges that the European Union faces in times of crisis. Kallas emphasises the ongoing importance of keeping the economy balanced. Järvan claims that although finding a mechanism for dealing with the crisis is crucial, it is now even more imperative to define the rules and regulations concerning Europe’s economic and financial policy in the long term.
Defence policy expert Monika Silvet assesses the impact of the Lisbon Treaty on the EU’s foreign and security policy a year after the signing of the Treaty. She argues that the development process of the EU’s common foreign and security policy is slow and marked by fears of the member states of losing their independence or ending up as a clone of NATO, but all in all the Treaty cannot be dismissed as a failure. Security analyst Tony Lawrence examines the impact of the economic crisis on Europe’s defence policy and historian Mikael Laidre criticises the inefficiency of the EU’s common foreign policy, arguing that a two-speed integration process could offer a solution.
Diplomat Sulev Kannike analyses the meaning of Wikileaks for diplomacy, asking why it has been, and still is, so hard for diplomacy to be transparent even in a democratic world. Even though attempts to make diplomacy more open and transparent have been made long before Wikileaks or even the Internet came along, Kannike argues that there are reasons inherent in democracy itself why there remains a gap between private agreements and their public explanations. He writes that new technologies may increase the pressure for greater openness, but they might just as well lead to new forms of secrecy.
Two former Estonian Ambassadors to the US – Toomas Hendrik Ilves and Jüri Luik, now Permanent Representative of Estonia to NATO – share their memories of the late Richard Holbrooke. Luik remembers him as an unconventional humanist who was ready to use military means to defend his humanitarian goals and who was both passionate and creative about his peace brokering mission. For Ilves, Holbrooke was a man of vision and foresight who could see events coming well in advance and who realised earlier than many others that Estonia needed to join the EU in order to get into NATO.
In the end, we are taken to Europe’s eastern borders and the relationship between the EU’s ‘inside’ and its troubled ‘outside’. Member of the Estonian Parliament Silver Meikar analyses the situation in Belarus before and after the disastrous ‘elections’ in December. According to Meikar, Belarus is a challenge not only for its own citizens, but also for the West – it offers us a chance to show how serious we are about our democratic values. He argues that after what happened in December, business as usual is no longer an option.

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