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Tag: EU membership

Navigating new security threats requires a change in focus

Czechia, together with its neighbours Poland and Slovakia, joined the European Union 20 years ago, a time when the security landscape in Europe looked completely different. Today the threats now faced by the Czechs and their neighbours require a completely new approach and mindset. Only then can the values enshrined in the EU treaty be truly protected.

The European Security Strategy was adopted in December 2003 and has become a landmark in the development of the EU’s foreign and security policy. For the first time, the member states agreed on a joint threat assessment and set clear objectives for advancing their security interests, which are all based on shared values. Twenty years since the adoption of the security strategy, the EU carries greater responsibilities than at any time in its history as it faces new, increasingly complex threats and challenges.

June 22, 2024 - Anna Dohnalová

The Baltics have grown up. Do not call them new member states

As the core of EU decision-making becomes more plural and less a monopoly of the Paris-Berlin engine – Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius have proven to have reached full adulthood as EU member states. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are no longer “new member states” aspiring to be good students in a never-ending exam. The idea of an old Europe looking down at a teenage new Europe has been surpassed by history.

Twenty years ago, on May 1st 2004, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania together with other countries from Central and Eastern Europe joined the European Union in what has become known as the “Big Bang enlargement”– the EU’s most ambitious expansion. Since they regained their independence in 1991, after more than 40 years of brutal Soviet occupation, the Baltic states have spent almost two-thirds of their recent independent history as EU members.

June 22, 2024 - Stefano Braghiroli

Hungarian metamorphosis: from returning to Europe to occupying Brussels

Hungary joined the European Union 20 years ago and became a member of NATO 25 years ago. Yet, neither occasion has been officially commemorated by the Hungarian government. As Viktor Orbán geared up for this year’s European parliamentary election and the Hungarian EU Council presidency due to take place from July, he announced that he wants to “occupy Brussels”.

With today’s Hungarian government being one of the staunchest critics of the European Union, the memory of the country’s drive towards integration after regime change seems ever so distant. Still, joining the EU – as well as NATO – was one of the three key goals that underpinned Hungarian foreign policy throughout the 1990s and, except for the Eurosceptic extreme right’s objection, was supported by all political forces. The stages of the accession process itself reflected this broad political consensus.

June 22, 2024 - Zsuzsanna Végh

The ability to reconcile is a mark of a nation’s maturity

A conversation with Milan Kučan, the first president of Slovenia from 1991 to 2002. Interviewer: Nikodem Szczygłowski

NIKODEM SZCZYGŁOWSKI: In 2004, at the time of the EU’s enlargement, Slovenia was considered one of the most developed countries in the region – much more so than Poland, the Czech Republic or Lithuania. Now, 20 years later, we can see that the achievements of Poland or Lithuania were greater than those of Slovenia. Slovenia was at the highest level when it joined the EU, and it is still at a high level, but Poland or Lithuania have caught up much more and are much closer to Slovenia. What are the reasons for this?

MILAN KUČAN: Slovenia was ahead of all these countries in terms of development parameters at that time. But then, it actually developed more slowly. This was due to the specific features of the economic and privatization reforms in Slovenia, but also a number of other factors. At a certain point, Slovenia actually stopped or paid much less attention to economic development than to internal ideological debates, political divisions and so on.

June 22, 2024 - Milan Kučan Nikodem Szczygłowski

Doom and gloom for Georgia’s EU candidacy?

Despite its claims to be willing to implement all the necessary reforms for EU candidacy, the Georgian government’s measures have been slow. Substantial progress has been missing in the areas where strong political will is required. While Georgia is awaiting the European Commission’s recommendation on granting it EU candidate status, much work is yet to be done.

More than a year has passed since Georgia submitted its application to obtain EU candidate status. The announcement followed a similar move by Ukraine in the wake of the Russian aggression, which led to a historic opportunity for other countries which aspired to obtain EU membership. Soon, Moldova demonstrated its interest in applying for candidacy as well.

November 19, 2023 - Soso Dzamukashvili

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