Nr 89 • Jaanuar 2011

Europe’s Defence in Times of Economic Crisis

For Europe’s governments, reducing defence expenditure is an easy response to times of economic hardship. Few immediate effects are felt by the population – compared, for example, with cuts in education or welfare spending – and what effects there are tend to be local, rather than national.

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Categorically Wrong

Faced with confusion, our first instinct is to sort. With labels (‘ex-Communist’), pigeon-holes (‘East European’), categories (‘new Europe’) and paradigms (‘transition economies’) we make the messy real world into something manageable and comprehensible. But just as neatness does not mean efficiency, clarity is not the same as truth. And (unlike shoes) just because a category is well-worn does not mean that it fits.

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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.

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