Nordic-Baltic Region

NATO Enlargement – an Analysis

The year 2014 brings several anniversary dates concerning NATO´s historic post-Cold War enlargement to Central and Eastern European nations. Fifteen years ago in spring 1999, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland—having received invitations at the Madrid Summit in 1997—became the first post-Communist countries to join the alliance. A decade ago, March 2004 saw the largest NATO enlargement ever when seven nations – Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia – joined NATO as a result of the “Big Bang” enlargement round announced at the November 2002 Prague summit.

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Connecting the Baltic States to Europe’s Gas Market

More than two decades after the end of the Soviet occupation, and eight years after they joined NATO and the European Union, the Baltic republics remain disintegrated from the rest of Europe in one crucial way: their natural gas infrastructure isolates them into “energy islands.” Yet, for the first time in their histories, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania now have a chance to secure their energy independence by connecting their natural gas networks with those of their European allies and evolving them into market-based trading systems. This will require the Baltic republics to work with their EU partners to develop the physical and regulatory infrastructure necessary for liquid trading hubs and spot-market pricing of natural gas to emerge in the region. By achieving these objectives, these three small countries on the EU’s periphery will help the EU achieve two key strategic goals: to establish a single European energy market; and to complete the full integration of the EU’s easternmost member states into a Europe that is whole and free.

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Connecting the Baltic States to Europe’s Gas Market

More than two decades after the end of the Soviet occupation, and eight years after they joined NATO and the European Union, the Baltic republics remain disintegrated from the rest of Europe in one crucial way: their natural gas infrastructure isolates them into “energy islands.” But, for the first time in their histories, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania now have a chance to secure their energy independence by connecting their natural gas systems with those of their European allies and evolving them into market-based trading systems. This will require the Baltic republics to work with their EU Allies to develop physical and regulatory infrastructure required for liquid trading hubs and spot-market pricing of natural gas to emerge in the Baltic region. By achieving these objectives, these three small countries on the EU’s periphery will help the EU achieve two key strategic goals: to establish a single European energy market; and to complete the full integration of the EU’s easternmost member states into a Europe that is whole and free.

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Forecasting the Baltics’ Future Security Environment

Every few years, the U.S. National Intelligence Council (NIC) publishes studies of how the world might evolve over the next two decades. Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds, released in December 2012, is the latest such iteration. Its four scenarios include one in which the United States turns inward and economic globalization stagnates (“Stalled Engines”); one in which non-state actors like activists and corporations assume the lead role in addressing international challenges (“Nonstate World”); a best-case world in which China and the United States catalyze global cooperation on a range of problems (“Fusion”); and a worst-case future of growing inequality and conflicts between and within countries (“Gini Out-of-the-Bottle”).

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