Security-Political Environment of the Baltic Sea Region: an Estonian Perspective.
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE BALTIC SEA REGION:
AN ESTONIAN PERSPECTIVE
Second Reader: Bertrand Patenaude
III. FRAME OF REFERENCE: ESTONIA
A. RISKS AND FUNDAMENTALS
B. NATO POLICY
C. EU POLICY
D. REGIONAL COOPERATION
E. RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA
A. RISKS AND FUNDAMENTALS
B. NATO POLICY
C. EU POLICY
D. REGIONAL COOPERATION
E. RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA
F. POLICIES: ESTONIA AND FINLAND
A. RISKS AND FUNDAMENTALS
B. NATO POLICY
C. EU POLICY
D. REGIONAL COOPERATION
E. RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA
F. POLICIES: ESTONIA AND SWEDEN
A. RISKS AND FUNDAMENTALS
B. NATO POLICY
C. EU POLICY
D. REGIONAL COOPERATION
E. RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA
F. POLICIES: ESTONIA AND NORWAY
A. RISKS AND FUNDAMENTALS
B. NATO POLICY
C. EU POLICY
D. REGIONAL COOPERATION
E. RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA
F. POLICIES: ESTONIA AND DENMARK
A. RISKS AND FUNDAMENTALS
B. NATO POLICY
C. EU POLICY
D. REGIONAL COOPERATION
E. RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA
F. POLICIES: ESTONIA AND GERMANY
A. RISKS AND FUNDAMENTALS
B. NATO POLICY
C. EU POLICY
D. REGIONAL COOPERATION
E. RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA
F. POLICIES: ESTONIA AND POLAND
A. RISKS AND FUNDAMENTALS
B. NATO POLICY
C. EU POLICY
D. REGIONAL COOPERATION
E. RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA
F. POLICIES: ESTONIA AND LITHUANIA
A. RISKS AND FUNDAMENTALS
B. NATO POLICY
C. EU POLICY
D. REGIONAL COOPERATION
E. RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA
F. POLICIES: ESTONIA AND LATVIA
A. RISKS AND FUNDAMENTALS
B. NATO POLICY
C. EU POLICY
D. REGIONAL POLICY
E. POLICIES: RUSSIA AND ESTONIA
A. AREAS OF COMMON UNDERSTANDING
B. AREAS OF POTENTIAL DISAGREEMENTS
C. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR POLICY
LIST OF REFERENCES
The security landscape in Europe presents an inconsistent picture. On
the one hand the process of integration in the west of Europe continues;
on the other hand, centrifugal tendencies go as far as the fragmentation
of state entities in the east and southeast of the continent. Europe is
experiencing the simultaneity of integration and stability on one the hand
and disintegration and instability on the other. While the complex system
of interrelationships is being gradually deepened in the West, old ties
are breaking up and new conflicts are breaking out in the East even involving
the use of brute force in some crises. [Ref.1, pp.4-5]
The Baltic Sea region is unique in Europe as a forum of cooperation of states with differing statuses in principal European and Euro-Atlantic institutions. The region also provides points of contact between Russia and the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). And, last but not least, this region is conspicuous for the presence of both the United States and European Union. [Ref.2]
The Baltic region, thus, can be regarded as a testing ground for the practical relevance of fundamental challenges for the future of security and stability in Europe. Based on common interests with regard to the stability, prosperity, and security of the region, a multifarious network of cooperation has already been established. [Ref.3]
Indeed, the peacefulness of the Baltic region provides a stark contrast
to the violence in Southeast Europe, the Adriatic and Ionic regions. Some
issues of contention still linger, but the most acute stability concerns
have either diminished or disappeared. The uncertainty, unpredictability,
and fear of fragmentation that predominated after the Cold War have evaporated.
“To date, our foreign policy has been successful,” stated Estonia’s foreign minister in his 1999 annual report to parliament. “This is mainly because the right priorities were set early on–immediately after the restoration of independence–and all subsequent governments have consistently followed them since.” [Ref.5]
What, then, are the priorities of Estonia’s foreign policy? How can
that success of foreign policy be maintained?
One can argue that the success or failure of Estonia’s foreign policy depends on its compatibility with the policies of at least some other countries in the region. In order to develop a coherent national security policy, Estonia needs a comprehensive overview of the positions of other states affecting the security environment in the Baltic Sea region. Thus, this study describes and analyzes elements of the foreign and security policies of other countries of the Baltic Sea region, and compares the policies with those of Estonia.
Usually there is available a large variety of sources, expressing and reflecting different facets of the security and foreign policies of any particular country. This thesis analyzes official security policy guidelines, approved by designated authorities (legislatures or higher executives, depending on procedures in each country). Governmental policy declarations, government coalition agreements, annual reports of different executives to legislatures, and public statements of high-ranking officials also provide valuable information.
The sources used have been researched in two ways: first, by extensive
screening of official sources of the countries in question, available on
the Internet. Second, by calling upon the assistance of either officials,
responsible for contacts with Estonia who work in Ministries of Defense
of respective countries, or the Defense Attaches of respective countries,
accredited to Estonia.
Two problems surfaced in the analysis of these sources. The first, and relatively minor, concerns the difficulty in finding explicit risk assessments of government of Lithuania. Although the author failed to find relevant documents, a reverse analysis of policy fundamentals could suggest a sound idea of Lithuania’s risk assessment.
More serious were the problems researching Russia’s official policy documents. Although there are some basic documents available, they, as a rule, do not provide concrete policies in the areas concerned of this thesis. As a consequence, the author had to rely on relatively short and unspecified paragraphs providing general principles but not explicit guidelines comparable to all other countries in the region. Moreover, “Conception of National Security of Russian Federation,” the major source reflecting the most recent policy guidance, was in the time of writing this study available only in Russian. Hence, all interpretations of the “Conception” are based on the author’s own translation from Russian into English.
It should be stressed that, in contrast to popular perceptions, the only reason to talk about Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania as kind of entity is due to fifty years of Soviet annexation (1940-1990). Ethnically and linguistically, there are common features of Latvia and Lithuania, whereas the kinsmen of Estonians are in Finland. Estonia and Latvia are predominantly protestant, while Lithuania has a strong Catholic influence.
All three Baltic States, as we know them today, emerged in the aftermath of the First World War. However, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, constitutor of the Polish-Lithuanian Kingdom (Rzecz Pospolita), was a dominant power in Northern Central Europe during the 16th-17th centuries. Moreover, even after the decline and partition of Rzecz Pospolita, Lithuania belonged to the Viceroyalty of Poland and was not formally part of the Russian Empire. This history explains Lithuania’s special partnership with Poland and general orientation toward Central Europe, as well as its emotionally somewhat less charged relationship with Russia than that of the other Baltic nations.
From the 13th century Crusades on, Estonia and Latvia, in turn, were the crossroads of intersecting interests of the German Order, Denmark, Poland, Sweden, and Russia which all sought control over the Baltic Sea. Estonia and Latvia served as the easternmost stronghold of Western civilization. That clash of interests resulted in two major wars and endless raids between the 13th century and 1710, when territories of Estonia and Latvia became part of the Russian Empire for the next two hundred years. After a short period of independence between 1918 and 1939, the Soviet Union intruded and annexed the Baltic States again. This history provides the Estonian and, to a somewhat lesser degree, Latvian people a basis for identifying themselves with Northern Europe, while also preserving the perception of Russia a potential threat, whatever the regime is. In sum, despite geographical proximity, the three Baltic States have different histories, different mindsets, different self-identifications, and different problems.
Another issue to be addressed here is author’s premise that the policy of any country is in interaction with, and a reflection of, societal consciousness of its people. In a democratic society there is only a limited set of policies available for politicians. Common values, common prejudice, and common perception of national interests condition that set of policies. A policy that is desirable for one country in order to pursue its interests is not necessarily even imaginable for another. An image of a foreign country in societal consciousness affects both the development of a nation’s policy towards, and the perception of the policy of, that country.
Obviously, taking into account the above-mentioned, the interaction of Estonia’s policy with those of other countries in the region is influenced by historical experience and emotional ties with any particular country, as well as by rational evaluation of common and conflicting interests. In general, there are four tentative patterns for Estonia to perceive the policies of countries in the region. The first pattern relies on closeness in mindset and overlapping policy objectives with Nordic countries. The second pattern reflects closeness in mindset but recognition of differences in policy objectives with Germany. The third pattern mirrors differences in mindset but closeness in policy objectives with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. And finally, the fourth pattern recognizes substantial differences in both mindset and policy objectives with Russia.
The following chapters will, then, describe, compare, and contrast the official security and foreign policies of nine countries in the Baltic Sea region with those of Estonia, trying to portray security-political environment in the region from Estonia’s perspective.
It should be stressed that there are several other important security-political
aspects, beside the regional approach, to be considered in developing of
the foreign and security policy of Estonia. First and foremost the role
of the United States, also the role of international organizations other
than NATO and the EU, or the impact of the global economy, to name only
some of them. The thorough analysis of impact of each of these factors
on the foreign and security policy of Estonia would require a separate
study. Hence, this study intentionally focuses on the official policies
of countries in the Baltic Sea region.
In order to develop a kaleidoscope of interrelations of security and foreign policies of countries in the region, this thesis will focus, first, on the overall risk assessment and fundamental elements of the foreign and security policies (referred to hereafter simply as “fundamentals”) of Estonia. Based on these observations, the thesis will outline the areas of key importance of foreign and security policy, and compare them with risk assessments and fundamentals of other countries in the region. The traditional format of the annual address of the Minister of Foreign Affairs to the Riigikogu (Parliament) outlines four areas, most important to Estonia in security-political context to be compared: 1) NATO, 2) the European Union, 3) regional (Baltic Sea) cooperation, and 4) relations with Russia. The result of combining the six parameters—risk assessment, policy fundamentals and detailed description of policy in four areas of key importance—will be a frame of reference. Subsequently, the policies of other countries should be described in similar format and compared with those of Estonia.
Policy guidelines and statements tend to be verbose yet limited in rhetoric. Consequently, it is possible to distill the essence of particular policy down to some keywords or phrases. Subsequently a cross-reference table of key phrases, that are either derived directly from official policy documents of respective countries or are chosen by this author to reflect the substance of risk assessment and policies in the above-mentioned four areas, will be developed. The key words and phrases will be defined in the end of each respective sub-section. Relying on this table, the analysis and comparison of these policies to Estonia’s respective policies will be performed in the end of each chapter.
In accordance with the four cognitive patterns of addressing policies
mentioned above, the sequence of countries examined begins with Nordic
countries, continues with Germany, Poland, and the two other Baltic countries,
and ends with Russia.
The last chapter of the thesis will be based on comparative analysis of the foreign and security policies performed earlier. The chapter will assess the current policies of Estonia and have three sections: areas of common understanding, areas of potential disagreement, and formulation of policy recommendations.
In brief, the thesis will develop comprehensive frame of reference of
Estonia’s foreign and security policy in aspects of risk assessment, fundamental
features, specific policies towards NATO, the EU, regional cooperation,
and Russia. Then, the policies of Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany,
Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Russia will be described in the same format
and compared to the respective policy of Estonia. Finally, generalizations
will be drawn and policy recommendations for Estonia will be developed.
Estonia’s basic evaluation of surrounding security-political environment is provided in the “Guidelines of National Defense Policy,” adopted in 7 May 1996. The guidelines state that “in executing national defense policy and establishing state defense, Estonia understands that the main sources of danger threatening state security are aggressive imperial aspirations and political and/or military instability.” In order to address the risks, Estonia “adheres to the generally recognized principle that the security of all states is indivisible and that the security of any state cannot be achieved at the expense of another state.” Thus, Estonian defense policy and national defense must contribute to the development of neighborly relations with all neighboring states. [Ref.6] These overarching principles are refined in priorities of Estonia’s foreign policy, which define the most pressing goal as to consolidate Estonia’s newly found stability.
The most obvious and simple way to do this is to join that Europe that is already stable and secure. In short, to join the two organizations that have promoted stability and security for over 50 years—NATO and the EU. Sharing the burden of responsibility and risk is considered by Estonia the only way to maintain stability. Thus, Estonia must integrate itself fully into all structures—European and Trans-Atlantic—that integrate Europe. [Ref.4] More specifically, Estonia’s foreign policy priorities are accession to the European Union and NATO. The objective of Estonia’s foreign policy is to defend Estonia’s security and worthy place in the open world. A progressive and prudent Estonia is the strongest guarantee of Estonia’s national security. [Ref.5]
In sum, Estonia considers imperial ambitions and political and/or military
instability the major risks. Policy fundamentals to cope with the risks
are built on premise that security is indivisible. Consequently, establishing
good-neighborly relations with surrounding countries on the one hand, and
accession to NATO and the EU, on the other, are meant to provide for stability
Concerning policy towards NATO, the Guidelines are explicit. Estonia’s objective is to become a full member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and of the Western European Union (WEU). Cooperation with both of these security organizations is the main political and practical vehicle by which Estonia can develop and strengthen its security and national defense. [Ref.6] This principle is concretized in, respectively, the government’s coalition agreement and foreign minister’s statements: Estonia will develop cooperation with the military and political structures of NATO to assure concerted action, and will continue active participation in the Partnership for Peace (PfP) program, and is ready to join new NATO initiatives. [Ref.7] Participation in the PfP provides also an excellent avenue for defense-related cooperation with non-aligned Sweden and Finland. Furthermore, Estonia will intensify its efforts to prepare for full NATO membership. In this it has the benefit of the experience and support of the three new members: Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. Estonia plans to consult with them to learn as much as possible. [Ref.4] Estonia’s current policy toward NATO is based on an understanding that Estonia was recognized as an equal among the aspirant countries. Estonia was named along with countries that, after the Madrid summit, were considered to have a better chance of joining NATO. In the framework of the “open door” policy, and in accordance with Article 10 of the Washington Treaty, it was clearly confirmed that neither the size of a democratic country nor its geographical location would be an obstacle to eventual entry into NATO. Membership will be determined on the basis of each aspirant’s preparations and readiness to join. Estonia believes that it has reached the stage where an invitation to join depends above all on the success of its practical preparations for membership. [Ref.5]
In brief, Estonia’s main objective is full membership in NATO and the
WEU. Being assured that bordering Russia is not per se an argument for
exclusion, Estonia grounds its accession policy on active participation
in the PfP, learning from the Polish, Czech, and Hungarian experiences,
and practical preparations for membership.
In the security-political context of the contemporary Euro-Atlantic institutional architecture Estonia recognizes that the EU is not a security organization. Yet for over fifty years the European Union has created the non-military basis for security and stability in Europe. Thus, although being first and foremost an organization of economic and social cooperation, the EU definitely has also a “soft” security dimension.
Estonia does not regard membership in the EU as a “hard” security guarantee. However, the EU has begun to pay more attention to developing a Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and its own, European, crisis management capability. Estonia fully supports these developments and participates in this process already. Estonia suggests using the experience of the trilateral Baltic Peacekeeping Battalion (BALTBAT), accumulated over years, in creation of whole-European Combined Joint Task Forces (CJTF). This approach is in line with Estonia’s notion of indivisibility of security. Only contributing to peace and stability, Estonia can expect support from others while facing crisis.
However, the accession criteria to the EU require more than the good will of an applicant; overall compatibility is required. Estonia’s first priority, hence, is to bring its accession negotiations to a successful conclusion, making sure there are no unscreened areas and unsolved problems. Estonia’s second priority in the field of integration is to prepare as comprehensively as possible for accession to the European Union. Estonia learned long ago that the key to its progress does not lie in the negotiations or screening, but in domestic work. Estonia’s objective is to implement as much of the acquis as possible and be ready for full membership by January 1, 2003. [Ref.4]
In brief, Estonia recognizes both of the EU’s dimensions: socio-economic
and “soft” security. It participates in development of CFSP, but focuses
in the current phase mainly on comprehensive preparations at home.
Estonia’s policy in its closest neighborhood is well developed in both the economic and military aspects. Estonia has declared its interest in the dynamic development of the whole region. As such, broad and multifaceted cooperation with its neighbors continues to be among Estonia’s foreign policy priorities. Baltic Sea region’s priorities are defined in the framework of the Council of Baltic Sea States (CBSS). The Copenhagen Declaration of 6 March 1992 identifies six specific areas which should be given particular attention: 1) assistance for new democratic institutions, 2) economic and technological assistance and cooperation, 3) humanitarian matters and health, 4) environment and energy, 5) culture, education, tourism and information, 6) transport and communication. [Ref. 8]
Economic cooperation is of utmost importance to Estonia. It seeks opportunities for concrete regional economic projects through the CBSS cooperation and within the framework of the EU’s northern dimension. The northern dimension should help bring stability and prosperity to the region and strengthen ties between countries—including Russia—foremost through the development of economic cooperation and interstate relations. Participation in this initiative, in addition to multilateral cooperation between the Baltic and Nordic countries, is important to Estonia. Above all, it is a means of restoring Estonia’s natural place in the Nordic space. Estonia has belonged to this region for many centuries. The sense of Estonian identity is rooted in the close ties its people share with the Nordic peoples. [Ref.5] In order to ensure regional security, Estonia is developing political and defense-related cooperation with states in the Baltic Sea region. For the same reason Estonia considers bilateral and multilateral military-political relations and cooperation with all democratic states to be important. Close defense-related cooperation with Latvia and Lithuania, based on common principles, is an objective of Estonia, including the training of the Defense Forces and the development of weaponry, command and control, and communication systems. [Ref.6] Joint Baltic military planning and implementation of already launched multilateral Baltic projects (peacekeeping battalion BALTBAT, naval squadron BALTRON, air surveillance network BALTNET, and staff college BALTDEFCOL) will be continued. [Ref.7] In overall terms, security cooperation among the three Baltic States is oriented towards their common aim of becoming NATO members. Estonia also places great value on the significant amount of aid provided by the Nordic countries in building up its defense forces. [Ref.5] This cooperation continues and deepens.
In brief, Estonia’s regional cooperation policy is based on broad cooperation,
including military, with other countries in the region. Estonia sees the
framework of the CBSS and the EU northern dimension as primary means. Engagement
of Russia in collective work is considered important. In the sphere of
military cooperation, besides bilateral contacts with Nordic countries
and Germany, Estonia stresses intensive defense-related cooperation with
Latvia and Lithuania and continuation of multilateral Baltic projects.
Perhaps the most complicated and emotionally loaded of all its foreign affairs is Estonia’s relationship with its eastern neighbor. Centuries-long historical experience leaves no room for illusions concerning its neighbor’s intentions. However, due to years of a policy of “positive engagement,” Estonia’s relations with Russia are developing in a satisfactory direction, according to the government’s estimation. The formation of a legal framework is of key importance here. After all, the establishment of stable and consistent relations is dependent on the creation of a solid legal foundation based on international norms. The Estonian-Russian Intergovernmental Commission, which began work in 1998, has proven to be a useful tool for promoting the conclusion of agreements and, more generally, developing Estonian-Russian relations. Both sides have identified nearly twenty agreements for signing. Three working groups are functioning in the economic, social, and cultural fields. The government’s long-term goal remains establishing orderly relations with Russia on both the political and legal levels. [Ref.5] It should also be mentioned in the context of bilateral relations that Estonia, while recognizing the substantial asymmetry in ways and means of pursuing national interests, as well as different nature of the interests themselves, highlights the importance of the EU and the CBSS frameworks as avenues for mutually beneficial relations.
In brief, Estonia’s bitter experience prescribes a policy of the establishment of stable and consistent bilateral relations with Russia based on a sound legal framework. The importance of multilateral cooperative frameworks should also be stressed.
* * *
To sum up, Estonia considers the major risks imperial ambitions and political and/or military instability in its neighborhood. To cope with these risks, Estonia intends to develop good-neighborly relations with neighboring countries. Estonia seeks full membership in NATO and the WEU, grounding its accession policy on active participation in the PfP, learning from Polish, Czech, and Hungarian experience, and practical membership preparations at home. Estonia recognizes the EU’s socio-economic and “soft” security dimensions and participates in development of CFSP, but focuses in the current phase mainly on comprehensive preparations at home. Estonia’s regional policy is based on broad cooperation, including military, and pointing out the EU and the CBSS frameworks, as well as engagement of Russia. In building of stable and consistent bilateral relations with Russia, Estonia adheres to the establishment of a legal framework.
This policy will be in the following chapters compared to that of other
countries in the region.
Finnish people are kinsmen to Estonians. Similar languages, closeness
in mindset, and intertwined history—even the two national anthems have
the same melody—have made Finland Estonia’s closest partner in almost every
respect, from economy to state-building to education to culture. There
are millions of intangible ties connecting individuals, families, parishes,
schools, singing choirs, businesses, counties, government departments,
military units—in brief, the people.
Being on an equal state of development by the late 1930’s, Finland serves for many Estonians as a model of what Estonia could also be if the Soviet annexation had not occurred.
Finland’s concept of contemporary security-political environment is based on understanding that in the circumstances of Europe, no country can guarantee its security on its own. Disputes and conflicts cannot be managed without addressing their causes. Finland takes for granted that it must base its assessment of risks on the assumption that the European security environment will remain in a state of flux. Therefore, from Finland’s perspective, the European Union, Russia, and NATO, as well as arms control and military crisis management, are the central factors in the European security development. They are all in a state of transformation and affect security and stability in Finland’s vicinity in Northern Europe.
Consequently, Finland considers as main challenges in its security policy political instability, regional and internal conflicts, ethnic disputes, and other security problems, which can erupt as armed conflicts and associated refugee flows. Political changes in Eastern Europe have highlighted extensive environmental problems. The possibility of fissile materials being transferred from the territory of the former Soviet Union to crisis areas or falling into the hands of terrorists is also an international security concern. In its closest proximity, Finland maintains that problems in relations between Russia and the Baltic States are causing instability in the Baltic Sea region. Hence, the preservation of the independence and security of the Baltic States is essential for the stability and security of the region. [Ref.9]
Finland does not see threats for the prevention or repulsion of which joining a military alliance would be necessary. Finland’s non-participation in military alliances supports stability in Northern Europe. [Ref.9] Military nonalignment, however, does not prevent its participation in international cooperation for crisis management in accordance with Finland’s own will and ability. [Ref.10] In overall terms, Finland’s aim is to strengthen stability and security in Northern Europe as part of building a common security system in Europe. The channels through which Finland works are the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the EU, cooperation with Sweden and other Nordic countries, and the intensifying relations with the Baltic States, regional cooperation, cooperation with Russia, and dialogue and cooperation with NATO and the United States. [Ref.9]
In brief, Finland perceives risks mainly from the “softer” side of the
spectrum of security risks: political instability, regional and internal
conflicts, ethnic disputes, refugee flows, proliferation, and environmental
problems. To face these challenges, Finland intends to continue its non-alignment
policy and participation in crisis management. Finland sees the OSCE and
EU as security building tools. In international frameworks, Finland develops
cooperation with Sweden and other Nordic countries as well as with the
Baltic States and Russia. In security-political context, dialogue and cooperation
with NATO and USA is considered important.
As a non-aligned country, Finland is carefully following the effects of NATO enlargement on the Baltic Sea region as well as on relations between NATO and Russia. Finland is closely following the effects of enlargement on the Baltic Sea region and in relations between NATO and Russia. The United States commitment to security in Europe and the maintenance of NATO’s capability are important stabilizing factors in Finland’s opinion. Neither NATO enlargement nor the arrangement of relations between the Alliance and Russia must be allowed to create new security problems or new lines of division. Changes in security arrangements must take place on the basis of the OSCE principles and must not lead to the weakening of any country’s security.
With this background, Finland joined the Partnership for Peace program in May 1994 and supports its enhancement. With the aid of the PfP, Finland is striving to improve its capacity for military cooperation and to strengthen its opportunities to exercise influence in crisis-management cooperation. Finland supports strengthening of the PfP and the partnership countries’ participation in crisis management planning. The PfP program must be open, on a basis of equality, to all countries interested in it. Finland takes the view that the bilateral character of individual partnership programs should be preserved.
Finland is concerned about the outcomes of the “open door” policy on NATO enlargement. The outcome of the negotiations between NATO and Russia will affect the security development in Europe as a whole. Through a policy of participation, Finland is striving to ensure that neither NATO enlargement nor whatever treaty arrangement the alliance arrives at with Russia leads to the emergence of lines of division or spheres of influence that would detract from stability in Northern Europe. For that reason cooperation between European and Trans-Atlantic security-policy institutions must be strengthened on the basis of the principles adopted at the OSCE summit in Lisbon in December 1996. The indivisibility of security and the right of states to choose their own security arrangements must be respected. Transparency in change and resisting the emergence of lines of division are central principles in the development of a security order based on cooperation between all states and organizations. [Ref.9]
In brief, Finland considers the continuation of US commitment and maintenance
of NATO capabilities important features of European security. Finland’s
desire is to avoid new security problems or lines of division, and adherence
to the OSCE principles and support to the PfP enhancement are the tools
Membership of the European Union has added clarity to and strengthened
Finland’s international position. Although membership does not entail formal,
“hard” security guarantees, it does include the protection that is founded
on mutual solidarity. Finland supports strengthening the EU’s effectiveness
in foreign and security policy and is participating constructively in the
development of European Security and Defense Identity (ESDI), the Union’s
security and defense dimension.
The EU should implement its enlargement policy with determination. A particularly important security-related goal for Finland is the accession of the Baltic States to the EU membership. Finland is supporting the Baltic States’ efforts to meet the criteria for membership.
As an EU member and a holder of observer status in the WEU, Finland considers it important that the WEU’s status and capability for action be strengthened in the EU’s crisis management. Opportunities for WEU observers to take part in European crisis-management operations must be safeguarded also in the event of intensifying cooperation between NATO and the WEU. On the basis of the Finnish-Swedish initiative, Finland is contributing to the Union’s efforts to create a military crisis-management capability and, as an observer, supports a strengthening of the WEU’s capability. The aim is to make it possible for NATO resources and command structures to be used, through the WEU, in crisis-management operations decided upon by the EU. [Ref.9] The primary channel for Finland’s stability policy is to exert effective influence on the European Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). Finland will strive to ensure that the Council of Europe strengthens democratic security in Europe by supporting new democracies and intensifying monitoring of its membership obligations. The role of the European Union should be reinforced in the face of new security risks such as uncontrolled migratory movements and international crime. [Ref.10]
In brief, Finland supports strengthening the effectiveness of CFSP and
ESDI, also strengthening the WEU crisis management capability. Finland
supports the accession of the Baltic States to the EU.
Finland’s objectives are to intensify regional cooperation, increase the significance of the EU’s northern dimension and manage the consequences of NATO enlargement in a manner that strengthens regional stability in Northern Europe. Finland is closely following the military configuration in Northern Europe and participating in strengthening military confidence and security in her environs. In this context, the preservation of the Baltic States’ independence and security is essential for stability and security in the region. The significance of the defense capabilities of Sweden and Finland and their opportunities to cooperate are important factors for the stability of the region. [Ref.9]
Finland has supported the Baltic countries in their efforts toward integration into European structures, especially the European Union. At the same time, support from Finland has strengthened the ability of Estonia and the other Baltic countries to meet their responsibilities as sovereign states, such as surveillance of their borders and territory. [Ref.10] The role of special partner belongs here to Estonia. Finland is supporting the development of the Estonian defense forces to a significant extent. Training material has been supplied to Estonia, and Estonian officers continue to receive training in Finland. [Ref.9]
In brief, Finland’s objective is to intensify regional cooperation through
increasing significance of the EU’s northern dimension among other means.
Finland supports the integration of the Baltic States into European structures,
focusing on a special partnership with Estonia. In the security-political
context, the preservation of independence and security of the Baltic States
is of key importance. Maintaining Sweden’s and Finland’s defense capabilities
contributes to stability in the region.
From the viewpoint of Finland’s security, it is particularly significant that, for the first time in its history, its neighbor to the East is a Russia building a democratic order, and at the same time Finland’s eastern border has become the common boundary between Russia and the European Union. Developments in Russia have a major impact on Finnish security. Therefore, both bilaterally and through international cooperation, Finland will support democratic reform in Russia and its commitment to European unification and compliance with international norms. However, there is no certainty so far that the reform process in Russia will succeed.
Finland builds its relations with Russia on the premise, that Russia cannot gain any privileges by complying with the common norms and principles that it has endorsed. This is not in the interests of Russia, Europe, or the future security system. Nor is it in Finland’s security interest. Russia must be expected to show the same responsibility in its internal and external behaviour as the other members of the OSCE, the same accountability to its people and other states. [Ref.10]
Finland has also by appropriate means supported the development of good-neighborly relations between Russia and the Baltic States. Trilateral cooperation between Finland, Russia, and Estonia in, among other sectors, the arrangement of border controls has yielded good results. [Ref.9]
In brief, Finland’s policy towards Russia is aimed at support to democratic
domestic reforms, and to Russia’s commitment to European unification and
compliance with international norms. Since the Baltic States’ relations
with Russia have a strong impact on Finland’s security, it supports establishing
neighborly relations between the Baltic States and Russia.
Both Estonia and Finland see instability as a major source of risks. Finland goes further, specifying low intensity conflicts and some “soft security” issues as risks. Notably, Finland does not perceive Russia as a source of specific risks. Estonia, in turn, pays attention to imperial ambitions of Russia. In sum, though Finland focuses slightly more on beyond-the-region risks and Estonia is more concerned about its eastern neighbor, their overall approaches to risks are close.
The policy fundamentals for Finland and Estonia are coinciding in stressing neighborly relations, regional cooperation, and recognizing NATO and the EU as key components of the European security architecture. Finland outlines three more elements of its policy fundamentals: non-alignment, participation in crisis management, and the role of the OSCE in security building. In sum, despite different choices in major means of guaranteeing national security, and subsequently slightly different accents on different policy tools, the policy fundamentals of Estonia and Finland, in general, are in unison.
There are several overlapping and mutually complementing aspects in the NATO policy of Estonia and Finland. For instance, both support and participate actively in cooperation within the PfP framework. Moreover, Finland’s adherence to the OSCE principles, guaranteeing each nation the right to choose its security, and its support to continuation of the US commitment and maintenance of the NATO defense capability are objectively complementing Estonia’s application to NATO membership. However, there is one important restriction: Finland stresses that the possible eastward enlargement of NATO must not create new security problems or lines of division. Thus, although there are many important similarities in NATO-policy of continuously neutral Finland and applicant Estonia, there could be disagreement concerning the pace and conditions of NATO enlargement.
With regard to the EU policy of Finland and Estonia, it is based on the common understanding that EU membership does not entail security guarantees, yet promotes stability. While applicant Estonia focuses its policy on comprehensive preparatory work, member-state Finland supports integration of the Baltic States into the Union, and seeks to strengthen CFSP and European crisis management capability. Thus, the EU policies of Estonia and Finland are on common ground and, to an extent, complementary.
The regional cooperation policies of Estonia and Finland are close. Both stress broad cooperation, including military, and both stress the importance of an EU northern dimension. Estonia pays close attention to defense-related cooperation with Latvia and Lithuania, also to the continuation of multilateral Baltic projects. Finland, in turn, stresses the importance of preserving the independence and security of the Baltic States, maintaining Sweden’s and Finland’s defense capabilities, and the special partnership with Estonia. In sum, although Estonia stresses more cooperation with Latvia and Lithuania, and Finland with Sweden and Estonia, their overall policies are based on common understandings.
With regard to relations with Russia, Estonia’s and Finland’s policies are somewhat different. Estonia seeks stable and consistent relations based on sound legal framework. Finland supports democratic reforms in Russia, and Russia’s commitment to European unification and compliance with international norms. The latter provision falls in line with Estonia’s devotion to legal norms, and indicates the persistence of a certain gap between Russia’s words and deeds. Finland also manifests its support for neighborly relations between the Baltic States and Russia. To sum up: Finland employs the already existing framework of relationships with Russia to bring the latter closer to Europe, Estonia seeks to establish a sound relationship of legal equals. There is no conflict between these policies.
By and large, then, the policies examined here of Estonia and Finland
are close, sometimes overlapping, sometimes complementing each other. The
only potential for friction in the given set of policies is embedded in
the somewhat different approaches to NATO enlargement. Estonia seeks its
full membership unconditionally, while Finland, though recognizing Estonia’s
right to do so, is concerned about possible new security problems linked
with NATO’s expansion to Russia’s borders.
Sweden has a special role in the social memory of the Estonians. During the Viking Era, Estonians and Swedes were rivals over the control of trade via the “Silver-White Route” from the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean. In the 16th century Sweden was the power that brought stability to the region and saved Estonia from over twenty years of rape and pillage during the Livonian War. The subsequent hundred and twenty years are recalled as the “Golden Swedish Time” of prosperity and the rule of law. University of Tartu and dozens of still working village schools were established then. Sweden was a safe haven for thousands of civilian refugees who escaped in small boats over the stormy Baltic Sea from invading Soviet army in October-November 1944. Sweden is home to about 25 thousand Estonians now. Recently, Sweden was the first country to open a diplomatic mission in then- not-formally-independent Estonia in 1989. Today, Sweden is the biggest investor in the Estonian economy.
Sweden considers its security situation good. An invasion of the whole or parts of Sweden in the next ten years is infeasible. At the same time long-term threats remain. Divisions are increasing. Ruthless exploitation is threatening the global environment. Economic uncertainties in Asia, Russia, and Latin America send shock waves throughout the global economy. Military tension is diminishing, but the threat of terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction remain. Security in the neighborhood is increasing, but conflicts elsewhere continue to cause vast human suffering and flows of refugees. Progress is being made in the environmental field, but the risk of climatic changes is increasing. Growth in the global economy means increased prosperity, but divisions are broadening. [Ref.11] Direct threats to stability in the region include organized crime, inadequate nuclear safety, and illegal immigration. [Ref.12, p.18] An invasion in the next ten years aimed at the occupation of Sweden is improbable, but only so long as Sweden retains a basic defense capacity. However, the government makes the assessment that armed attacks primarily with airborne weapons or by limited forces against targets in Sweden, as well as other types of deliberate threats or pressure, would be possible to carry out even in the existing situation in the surrounding world. They could come into question in the event of acute crises in Sweden’s vicinity, aimed at disrupting the functioning of Swedish society or to influence Sweden’s actions. The increased spread of weapons of mass destruction and, in certain cases, the deficient control over them, also give rise to concern. The greatest threat to security in Northern Europe in the present situation is related to continuing instability in Russia. Uncertainty remains about the development of domestic policy in Russia and the consequences that may ensue for the country’s relations with the surrounding world.
In Europe, Sweden’s security policy goal is to secure a confidence-inspiring, close cooperation among all states. This shall be achieved primarily by cooperation within the EU and the Euro-Atlantic security structures and by the regional cooperation within the Baltic Sea area. [Ref.13, pp.3-5]
In brief, Sweden sees credible risks all along the spectrum, from global environmental and economic shocks, inadequate nuclear safety, increasing economic disparity, and refugees, to illegal immigration, organized crime, terrorism, and proliferation, to instability in Russia and the threat to use or the use of limited force against Sweden.
To cope with those risks, Sweden opted to build confidence and promote
cooperation regionally as well as within the EU and Euro-Atlantic security
Sweden’s non-participation in military alliances with the aim of retaining the possibility of neutrality in the event of war in its vicinity remains unchanged. Non-participation in military alliances, however, does not mean exclusion. Sweden takes concrete and active part in cooperation to promote peace and prevent conflicts both in Europe and globally. Sweden is actively engaged in the work of the Partnership for Peace (PfP) and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC). The PfP plays, in Sweden’s estimation, a significant role in confidence building. [Ref.11] NATO and its cooperation with partner countries are playing a key role for crisis management in Europe. [Ref.13, p.2] Hence, Sweden decided to focus on cooperation within Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and in the framework of Partnership for Peace. [Ref.13, p.7] In order to safeguard positive development, it is important that the Euro-Atlantic security cooperation is developed, and, not least important, that Russia continues to participate. [Ref.13, p.3]
In brief, although maintaining its non-alignment policy, Sweden actively
participates in the PfP and EAPC and supports the development of European
crisis management capability. Engagement of Russia into this cooperation
is seen as vital.
Membership of the European Union gives Sweden an opportunity to work for a continent characterized by democracy, solidarity, and openness. Enlargement and the European Union’s contacts with Russia will help unite a Europe that has been too long divided. Sweden wants to contribute to the formation of a Union that is close to its citizens by working actively for employment, gender equality, the environment, and consumer protection. Active commitment to the European Union is the most important expression of Sweden’s willingness to accept its European responsibilities. The Government is committed to work actively both for union enlargement and for the intensification and further development of cooperation. EU procedures and institutions must be reformed, for strong and effective institutions are in the interests of Member States such as Sweden. The Government attaches the highest priority to the enlargement of the EU. Sweden is convinced, it must counteract the drawing of new dividing lines in Europe, both through a successful enlargement process and by strengthening EU cooperation with the European countries not included in the enlargement. It is a vital Swedish interest that the countries in its vicinity are incorporated into the new Europe. The Government wants to strengthen Europe’s crisis management capability. [Ref.11] The EU is of fundamental importance as a safeguard of sustainable stability and security in Europe. [Ref.13, p.2] The Government considers that Sweden should take an active part in a more intensive dialogue on how the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy can be strengthened and, in particular, on the forms for an improved crisis management capacity. Sweden should take part actively in cooperation within the framework of our role as observer in the Western European Union. [Ref.13, pp.7-8]
In brief, Sweden works to unite Europe and engage Russia. For that purpose,
it considers it important to promote EU internal reforms and to support
the enlargement process in general and the Baltic States’s membership aspirations
in particular. In security political context, Sweden wants to strengthen
European crisis management capability, in particular through active participation
in the development of CFSP and cooperation as an observer within the WEU
Sweden wants to strengthen cooperation for democracy, security and development in the Nordic and Baltic region. Despite the economic crisis in Russia, the Baltic Sea region has the potential to become one of Europe’s most dynamic growth regions. [Ref.11] In May 1995 the Riksdag (Parliament) laid down four principal goals for cooperation with Eastern Europe. These goals, which will continue to provide guidance for Swedish cooperation policy in Central and Eastern Europe, are as follows: to promote common security, to deepen the culture of democracy, to support a socially sustainable economic transition, to support environmentally sustainable development. [Ref.12, p.16] The Swedish Government has continued to give priority to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland. Cooperation with these countries now focuses increasingly on various measures to support their future membership in the EU. [Ref.12, p.13] In order to promote security in the Baltic Sea region, confidence between the three Baltic countries and Russia must be boosted. Sweden will assist in this context by contributing both political and financial support. [Ref.12, p.18] Support for the development of total defense and other security functions in the Baltic States develops and intensifies, as well as Sweden’s security cooperation with Poland and Germany. [Ref.13, p.8] Nordic cooperation has acquired new significance and dynamism through Sweden’s and Finland’s membership of the EU. The Nordic region is an important starting point for further international commitment. Nordic cooperation is also stimulated by the increasingly close cooperation with the Baltic States. [Ref.11] Sweden develops the Nordic defense-related cooperation, among other ways through the creation of a combined Nordic brigade for peace support efforts. [Ref.13, p.8]
In brief, Sweden’s objectives in regional cooperation are promoting
common security, deepening the culture of democracy, and supporting economic
transition and environmentally sustainable development. In the context
of common security, supporting the confidence building between the Baltic
States and Russia is particularly important. Close defense cooperation
with the Baltic States and within Nordic states constitutes an important
facet of Sweden’s regional policy.
The Swedish Government is working to expand cooperation at regional and local levels, and supports social reform work in Russia. [Ref.11] Sweden places great weight on attempting to develop defense-related contacts with certain areas in Russia (especially St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, and Murmansk). [Ref.13, p.8] The last two are areas of high concentration of troops and military installations. Developing military-to-military contacts, Sweden promotes transparency and tries to build confidence, thus reducing threat. Most of the civilian sector in these areas is heavily dependent on the military. Sweden offers economic assistance to put these militarized enclaves onto viable civilian tracks. Sweden is participating actively in the work of the EU towards a strategy on Russia concerning such issues as trade, improved nuclear safety, and support for democracy. It is of the utmost importance that a democratic Russia moves forward in order to create a well-functioning state governed by law, and a socially sustainable market economy. [Ref.11]
In brief, Sweden supports incorporation of Russia into European cooperation,
particularly through active participation in EU’s work towards Russia.
It supports Russia’s domestic reforms and develops contacts with regions.
Sweden’s notion of risks covers wide spectrum of issues. It is noteworthy that instability in Russia is explicitly among Sweden’s security risks. Although the wording of Estonia’s risk assessment reflects only imperial ambitions and political and military instability, it is in unison with that of Sweden.
The fundamentals of Sweden’s foreign and security policy include promoting cooperation both regionally and within EU and Euro-Atlantic security structures, and are aimed basically at confidence building. Estonia’s respective policy is based on the notion of indivisibility of security, promotes neighborly relations, and seeks accession to NATO and the EU. In sum, Estonia’s and Sweden’s policy fundamentals are based on the same premises and are generally complementary.
The NATO policy of Sweden as non-aligned country contains active participation in the PfP and EAPC, support for development of a European crisis management capability, and support for engagement of Russia in cooperation with NATO. Estonia as a NATO aspirant sees participation in the PfP, learning from new NATO members’ experiences, and practical preparations for meeting the accession criteria as primary vehicles to achieve its objective. In sum, the two policies are similar in stressing the role of the PfP, are otherwise not conflicting.
Estonia’s EU policy is basically that of an applicant, focusing on meeting accession criteria. Sweden as an EU member has committed itself to the unification of Europe and the engagement of Russia, and has formulated its EU policy along two directions. The first deals with security issues and stresses strengthening European crisis management capability, participating in the development of CFSP, and cooperation within the WEU as an observer. Another deals with the institutional side of the EU and promotes internal reforms, strongly supports enlargement and particularly the Baltic States’s aspirations. In sum, the policies of two countries are based on a shared understanding and are complementary.
Estonia’s and Sweden’s approaches to issues of regional cooperation are overlapping in stressing of the need for close defense-related cooperation bilaterally as well as in broader, 5+3 and joint Baltic projects contexts. Besides, Estonia’s emphasis on an EU northern dimension and the CBSS frameworks as primary tools is well in line with Sweden’s declared policy objectives of deepening the culture of democracy, and supporting economic transition and environmentally sustainable development. Moreover, Estonia’s desire to engage Russia in collective work through means of regional cooperation finds its reflection in Sweden’s declared support to confidence building between the Baltic States and Russia. In sum, Estonia’s and Sweden’s approach to regional cooperation is partly overlapping, partly complementary.
In Sweden’s and Estonia’s policies toward Russia there is little in common in the way of implementation. Estonia seeks stable and consistent relations with Russia in a sound legal framework, whereas Sweden works actively both bilaterally and in the EU framework to support reforms and draw Russia into European cooperation. Contacts with regions are considered by Sweden one of the most promising tools. However, the premises for the above-described policies are basically the same—neighborly relations and the intent to positively engage Russia. In sum, Sweden’s and Estonia’s policies towards Russia are similarly grounded.
Generally speaking, then, the examined sets of adopted policies of Estonia
and Sweden are built on shared understandings and to the extent they are
not overlapping, they are complementary.
Historically there were few contacts between Estonia and Norway. Thus, the image of Norway in the eyes of an average Estonian consists mostly of famous Norwegian herrings, Holmenkollen skiing paradise, trolls, and their own oil supply which allowed Norwegians to neglect the European Union. However, Norwegian capital is remarkably present in Estonia’s gas stations, printed media, and maritime business. Also, and more importantly in the security-political context, some Estonian politicians began to consider the Norwegian defense arrangement (which will not be discussed in detail here) as a possible model for Estonia.
In Norway’s estimation, security-related developments in Northern Europe are generally favourable and stable, but the effects of the very serious economic and social problems now facing Russia could affect this situation. At the same time, the situation in Southeast Europe is unstable and, in the Balkans, potentially explosive. There is no indication that the need for international peace operations and international crisis management will decrease in the foreseeable future. [Ref.14, pp.4-5] Even though, on one hand, it is difficult to see any military threat to Norway’s security today, it is difficult on the other to overlook the long-term uncertainty regarding the future development of the political and security situation both in the northern Europe and on the continent as a whole. In spite the fact that dialogue and cooperation are characteristics of the current European political scene, future developments remain unpredictable and far from straightforward. Norwegian security and defense policy has to take into account the challenges that could arise in the long term. These challenges embrace everything from the infringement of Norwegian security to crises and even to military attacks on Norwegian territory. Challenges against Norwegian security may also include other types of dangers such as proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, terrorist attacks, environmental destruction, and international military crises and wars. [Ref.15, pp.3-4] More concretely, it is by no means impossible that an environmental catastrophe might occur close to Norway. Norway is deeply concerned about the possibility of radiation leaks from improperly stored nuclear fuel. Beside the pollution problem, an environmental disaster could also trigger a flood of refugees. A conflict over local resources could arise if Russia, in order to secure the exploitation of proximate resources for her own benefit, felt its interests might be served by increasing Russian control at the expense of Norwegian control and influence. Should a crisis develop somewhere else in the world and the Russians feel threatened by it, one of the defensive steps they might take could be to secure their strategic forces on the Kola Peninsula and, accordingly, exert pressure and threaten the use of military force on Norway. [Ref.16, pp.36-38]
In order to face the challenges mentioned above, Norway has developed a comprehensive set of political and military means. Allied reinforcement in the event of crisis or war constitutes a central pillar of Norwegian defense and security policy. NATO collaboration acts as a form of mutual assurance. It enables Norway to maintain a more credible, yet smaller and less costly defense organization than would otherwise have been possible. But it also requires Norwegian input when other countries have need of support. [Ref.15, p.7] On the other hand, being a non-EU member, Norway sees a need to strengthen the crisis management capability of the European countries. Norway believes that only through participation in the relevant forums, in NATO and the WEU, can it help to ensure that its own interests are taken into account. [Ref.17]
In brief, Norway’s approach is reflecting the “hard” side of risks: use of force against Norway, and international military crisis. Proliferation, terrorism, and environmental destruction, which could trigger a flood of refugees, are not much “softer” risks to cope with.
In order to face the risks, Norway builds its security on membership
in NATO, the flip side of which means also support to other countries.
Short of major conflict, Norway considers it important to strengthen the
EU’s crisis management capability. Active participation in NATO and
the WEU in order to be heard must compensate Norway’s absence from the
Norway builds its defense policy on understanding that a state cannot create security on its own. Norway’s membership in NATO has been of decisive importance to its security throughout the last 50 years and continues to be the central forum for collaboration in matters of security and defense. Active international involvement, substantive contribution to NATO’s mutual defense arrangements, and participation in peace operations (even outside NATO’s borders) all form an important part of Norwegian security and defense policy. [Ref.15, p.3] Norway will welcome NATO’s internal adaptation while continuing to attach the utmost importance to preserving the core of the traditional collaboration alliance, both political and military, as a fundamental precondition for the maintenance of effective and credible Trans-Atlantic collaboration. Norway’s PfP activities have concentrated mainly on neighboring areas of Europe. An important goal for Norway is that the military usefulness of the PfP should be enhanced and that Russia should be brought in to these activities more closely. [Ref.14, pp.6-8]
Norway will continue to be dependent on political and military cooperation within NATO. Its national defense planning will continue to be based on allied military reinforcement in the event of crisis or war. In a situation in which NATO is increasingly moving away from earmarked reinforcement forces, it is important to ensure that allied forces can still be brought in and that Norway is properly prepared to receive them. NATO continues to provide Norway’s most important guarantee of peace and security in our part of the world. Norway bases its security policy on the expectation that NATO will remain the central player on the European security scene. Other organizations can amplify this role but not replace it. [Ref.15, pp.5-7]
Norway is continuously concerned about maintaining NATO’s defense capability. Norway is in favour of NATO having the capability of taking tasks which lie outside NATO’s primary area of responsibility, but it would not wish to see them accorded the same degree of commitment as the collective defense of the member countries. Norway’s reasoning is that it sees NATO’s role as a collective defense alliance as providing the very foundations of its capability to carry out these other tasks. The Alliance should concentrate on the integration of the three new member countries. There is, however, agreement that the “open door” policy should be continued. Any decision to invite further countries will be based on an overall assessment of the political and security factors involved. Norwegian interests suggest that this process must also include consideration of states in Northern Europe. [Ref.17] The fact that there is no longer a clearly defined enemy, combined with the gradual increase in the number of member countries, may in the future make it more difficult to harmonise the manifold national interests. Therefore in order to promote its own views and interests to the maximum extent, there is a need for strengthened Norwegian involvement both internally within NATO and in bilateral links with most important allies. More specifically, in Norway’s opinion, the Alliance will continue to depend on strong American involvement in European security and defense collaboration. Any uncertainty as to the extent of American presence and commitment to the defense of Europe in general and Norway in particular would be most unfortunate. At the same time it is important that the European allies should be capable of taking increased responsibility for their own security and that the concept of a European Security and Defense Identity should be developed further within NATO with full American understanding and acceptance. [Ref.15, p.5]
In brief, Norway contributes actively to NATO’s undertakings. It welcomes
adaptation while stressing the importance of maintaining credible defense.
Norway promotes engagement of Russia though the PfP and supports the “open
doors” policy, particularly concerning countries in Northern Europe. Although
Norway supports the increase of European crisis management capability,
such development must take place within NATO and with full US acceptance.
Norway considers continuously strong American involvement of utmost importance.
Norway does not belong to the EU. Nevertheless, Norway has all along strongly supported strengthening European security and defense. It sees the need for an effective European Foreign and Security policy. Norway also sees increased European responsibilities in the field of security as essential contribution to European integration, and to the progressive development of cooperative security among European states. From a Norwegian point of view there is a requirement that increased European responsibilities should also reinforce Trans-Atlantic relations. Norway has a fundamental interest in the development of increased European responsibility for security and a strengthened European crisis management capability. Norway declares it has a stake in the efforts that have been undertaken to this end over the last decade, in cooperation between NATO, the European Union and the WEU. Norway believes that European crisis management arrangements will be politically and operationally stronger and more effective if they are inclusive, encompassing also the European non-EU allies. Norway has been and is an important contributor to conflict prevention and crisis management, in political, financial and military terms, and a major donor country. Norway intends to continue to provide substantially to European security and defense efforts, taking our share of responsibility for peace and security in Europe. However, it is clear that its contribution can best be made on the basis of participation in the decision-making structures and fora. [Ref.18]
In brief, Norway supports the strengthening of European security and
defense, also its crisis management capability. However, it also underlines
that increased European responsibilities should reinforce Trans-Atlantic
Norway’s security and foreign policy towards Northern Europe is based on understanding that even though there is today no concrete military threat to Norway, it must still rely on maintaining an effective and credible defense capability linked to broadly based international collaboration if it is to contribute to the continuing stability and peaceful development of Northern Europe and to take part in the resolution of international conflicts and in helping to prevent such conflicts in the future. [Ref.14, p.6] The government sees it as important to continue to pursue collaboration in the field of security and defense policy with new members of the Alliance as well as with Nordic neighbors, the Baltic States and other European countries. Cooperation between the Nordic countries has been widened. The establishment of a combined Nordic peace force (NORDCAPS) has provided an important framework for this cooperation. This work, together with the increased military cooperation in the multinational peace forces deployed in Bosnia, collaboration and exercises under the auspices of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, collaboration in military research and development and procurement projects for defense equipment, has contributed to a growth in the Nordic dialogue on matters of security and defense policy. [Ref.15, pp.5, 9] Norway has developed a Central and Eastern European Cooperation program, which has focused mainly on northwestern Russia, with special emphasis on the Barents region and on the three Baltic States. [Ref.19] Over recent years Norway has significantly increased its involvement with the Baltic countries as a contribution towards assisting the development of stable and democratic conditions in the Baltic area. This is regarded as an important aim even though Norway, geographically speaking, is not actually a Baltic country. Any adverse development in this part of Europe could rapidly involve repercussions for Norway as well. Norway is involved in a number of collaborative projects with the Baltic countries. [Ref.15, p.7]
In brief, Norway stresses security and defense cooperation with new
Alliance members, Nordic and Baltic States. It has also developed special
cooperation programs with Russia in the Barents Sea region and with the
Relations with Russia constitute a central dimension of Norwegian defense and security policy. Norway’s ambition is that priority should be given to contact and collaboration with the Russian military authorities, not least through the PfP. Norway wishes to play an active part in the work of fostering links between Russia and the Western countries, including collaboration in defense-related areas. [Ref.17]. Russian nuclear and conventional capabilities are still granted importance in Norwegian defense planning. At the same time, however, the development of the security policy contact and a close cooperation with Russia also comprises an important objective for Norway. On the part of the government, it is a priority to continue the bilateral collaboration as a confidence building measure in the relationship between Russia and Norway. [Ref.20, p.11] Russia currently poses no military threat and both Norway and Russia wish to further this process of positive cooperation. The political situation in Russia, however, remains uncertain. Because the balance of forces between Norway and Russia is very one-sided when seen in isolation, it is important that further cooperation should also be developed within a broader multinational framework. The support of NATO allies forms a natural element of this development. [Ref.15, p.5]
Then-Minister of Defense Fjærvoll summarizes the state of affaires:
The links between Norway and Russia in the field of defense and security policy are showing signs of positive development, exhibited for example in the now annual planning of measures for contact and collaboration between the defense ministries of Norway and Russia. On the other hand; however, I would not wish to gloss over the fact that disagreements do exist between Russia and us in certain areas. Russia has voiced its displeasure that exercises should be conducted close to the Russian border. Another difficult area is the renegotiation of the CFE treaty where Norway and Russia hold conflicting views on the question of the Northern Flank, a subject of great importance to Norway. [Ref.17]
In brief, Norway’s Russian policy is aimed at mutual confidence building,
particularly through military contacts and cooperation through the PfP.
In order to balance asymmetry of capabilities, Norway also employs cooperation
within a broader multinational framework.
Norway is one of the three countries in the Scandinavian region, beside
Latvia and Sweden, whose notion of risks explicitly mentions use of force
against it and military crisis in the vicinity. Other named risks include
terrorism, refugees, proliferation, and environmental destruction from
the “softer” end of the spectrum of risks. In comparison with Estonia,
Norway’s approach is more straightforward and specific. However, there
are no mutually conflicting elements in respective risk assessments.
The fundamental elements of Estonian and Norwegian policy are also quite close. Both countries consider NATO a key element of European security architecture. For Norway, NATO is a cornerstone of its security policy. Norway also stresses support to other countries, and the need to strengthen European crisis management capability. Estonia’s viewpoint of indivisibility of security and need to develop neighborly relations with other countries is well in line with Norway’s basic understandings, although it does not share the degree of concern about European crisis management.
Talking specifically about the NATO policies of Norway and Estonia, their approach is as close as it could be, given the member-applicant dichotomy. Estonia seeks full membership in NATO and the WEU, and considers participation in the PfP, practical work at home, and learning from recent member’s experience as main vehicles. Norway supports the “open doors” policy and internal adaptation. Norway also stresses importance of maintaining credible defense capability and strong US involvement on the one hand, and need to engage Russia through the PfP on another. In sum, although far from overlapping, there are no conflicting measures in manifested policies of Norway and Estonia.
Concerning the EU policies of Norway and Estonia, it should be mentioned, that Norway neither belongs to the EU nor seeks membership. Because of its own oil reserves, it considers possible to maintain its economic and social development without pooling its resources with the rest of Europe. Norway’s policy towards Europe is, therefore, focused basically on strengthening European crisis management capability, and reinforcing Trans-Atlantic relations. Estonia’s desire to become an EU member and subsequent policy measures are carried more by economic and administrative concerns than those of security. However, Norway’s security-oriented and Estonia’s economy-oriented EU policies do not conflict.
Although technically not a Baltic Sea country, Norway, nevertheless, promotes Nordic security and defense-related cooperation with new Alliance members and Nordic and Baltic States. Norway has developed special cooperation programs with Russia in the Barents Sea region, and with the Baltic States, particularly in the framework of multilateral Baltic projects. This approach partly overlaps with Estonia’s cooperation policy, which includes broad military cooperation, and engagement of Russia in collective work. In sum, then, Estonia’s and Norway’s policies towards the Baltic sea region are partly overlapping, partly complementing each other.
With regard to Norway’s and Estonia’s policies towards Russia, similarity of basics should be mentioned. Norway seeks building mutual confidence, particularly through military contacts, and, recognizing asymmetry of available means, also cooperation within a broader multinational framework. Estonia, from its side, seeks the establishment of stable and consistent relations, based on a sound legal basis. There is no conflict between the two policies.
In sum, then, the adopted sets of examined policies of Norway and Estonia
are close in underlying principles and although sometimes differently focused,
do not bear prerequisites for future conflicts.
Estonia has a more important place in the history of Denmark than Denmark in Estonia’s. The Danish medieval presence on Estonian soil left the present name of the Estonian capital, Tallinn pro Taani Linn means literally the Danish City. In turn, every Dane learns in the first grade that Dannebrog, red banner with white cross, fell from the heavens in 1219 to encourage Danes during the decisive battle for an Estonian fortress, which later became Tallinn. However, contemporary contacts are more important. Denmark was the first foreign country that appointed an ambassador to newly recognized Estonia. Denmark is also a designated liaison between the Baltic States and NATO. Dedication and commitment of Danish officers and diplomats to this delicate and demanding work is impossible to overestimate.
Denmark’s notion of risks to be considered in developing its foreign and security policy is basically from the “soft” side of the security spectrum. Conflicts suppressed during the Cold War have resurfaced. Crime, large migrations of refugees, and, in many places, deepening poverty are characterizing features of Denmark’s risk assessment. [Ref.21] In the “harder” side of security, one area of Denmark’s special concern is the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery. [Ref.22] NATO membership and its inbuilt security guarantee continue to make up the central element of Danish security policy. NATO will also in the future be the primary guarantor for security within the Danish area. Furthermore, opening up the Alliance to new members and solid cooperation between partners will bring stability to Europe. [Ref.23]
In brief, Denmark’s notion of risks consists of resurfaced conflicts,
crime, refugees, deepening poverty, and proliferation.
Its security policy is based on NATO membership, opening up the Alliance, and solid cooperation between partners.
Denmark is seeking a NATO that not only responds to developments, but also actively shapes the security landscape in a positive way. With growing cooperation between NATO, the OSCE and the EU in a broader security framework, Denmark has a vision of an ever-stronger Euro-Atlantic partnership for the 21st century. The European pillar of the Alliance, in Denmark’s opinion, is not an alternative to NATO, but complementary to, and a contribution to, an overall strengthening of the Alliance. Trans-Atlantic partnership is gradually developing, allowing for the Europeans to take on a larger responsibility while maintaining NATO as the primary security organization. [Ref.22]
In brief, Denmark builds its security on NATO membership. However, it
also sees growing cooperation between NATO, the OSCE and the EU. In this
context the European pillar should be complementary to the US one, leaving
larger responsibilities for Europeans.
Denmark considers its present international position in Europe strong and wants to maintain it. Thus, Denmark’s possibilities of making its voice heard on the international stage are closely linked to the EU. In the government’s view, the EU enlargement presents the greatest challenge to the EU in the years ahead. Denmark wants to create a whole and undivided Europe. “Europe must be a model of democracy, of a well-functioning economy with full employment, and of a region where the natural environment and the working environment are secured against disruption as a result of unrestrained competition,” underlined the Danish Prime Minister in March 1999. [Ref.24] The EU has now initiated a comprehensive, dynamic process of enlargement for all countries of Central and Eastern Europe. This process must be continued and supported. The pace must be maintained. The Danish Government has developed four principles for its EU policy: 1) the government sees no need for new, grand EU treaties in the foreseeable future. 2) The member states must use the Treaty of Amsterdam. It focuses on issues that are of relevance to people’s everyday lives: employment, environment, and consumer protection. 3) The EU should only solve the tasks that are best solved through joint effort. 4) The member states must establish maximum openness and transparency in the EU system. [Ref.24] According to its desire to expand the zone of stability, Denmark will endeavour actively to bring about the strongest and speediest enlargement possible. In the words of the Danish Prime Minister: “The issue is politics, placing human beings before money, not after. The issue is creating a framework for the market forces, something that we have done in Denmark, something, which we are creating in Europe, and something we can contribute to the world. Denmark must take part in shaping these things. We have never been comfortable with letting others make the decisions. The bottom line is that we have the highest degree of influence if we participate in the decisions ourselves.” [Ref.21]
In brief, Denmark’s objective is a whole and undivided Europe. To reach
that goal, Denmark supports the strongest and speediest enlargement. Internally,
the EU should, in Denmark’s opinion, strengthen the principles of subsidiarity,
openness and transparency. Active participation in decision-making is,
in Denmark’s opinion, the way to ensure that.
The Danish Ministry of Defense spends substantial amounts of time and money (244 million Danish krones from 1995 through 1998) on cooperation with partner countries in Central and Eastern Europe. The majority of these resources have been spent on cooperation with countries in the Baltic Sea Region (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Russia). Denmark’s cooperation with the Baltic States, Poland, and Russia, as well as with the rest of Central and Eastern Europe should be seen in a broader context. Defense cooperation is a regional building block in the endeavour to create wider and greater security in Europe within the framework of the UN, the OSCE, NATO and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC).
Cooperation with countries in the Baltic Sea region is defined by the individual needs of the particular countries. The essence of the cooperation is to establish ties, exchange experience, assist in education, and to create cooperation between defense units in Denmark and partner countries. Emphasis has also been placed on issues, which promote regional dialogue, such as specific cooperation projects and environment work.
The basis for cooperation with Poland has been that Poland has extensive and relatively well-developed military forces. The cooperation aims at assisting these forces in meeting Western standards, especially in strengthening civilian and democratic control of the armed forces and incorporating NATO standards and procedures. The bilateral cooperation is supplemented by Danish-German-Polish trilateral cooperation. In addition to generally strengthening cooperation between the three countries, preparing Poland’s accession to NATO has been an important objective of the trilateral cooperation.
Cooperation with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania aims at supporting their participation in NATO’s Partnership for Peace activities and at building their defense structures. It is Denmark’s opinion that the Baltic States ought to cooperate with one another thereby enhancing security. Denmark has played the role of coordinator of international assistance to creating a joint Baltic peacekeeping battalion, BALTBAT. Denmark also supports setting up a combined Baltic naval unit, BALTRON, and a combined Baltic air surveillance system, BALTNET. The last multilateral Baltic project established a Baltic defense academy, BALTDEFCOL, with teachers and other assistance from a number of Nordic and Western countries, including Denmark. [Ref.25]
In brief, Denmark sees defense cooperation as a building block of wider
and greater security in Europe. For that purpose, it promotes regional
dialogue, in particular assisting partners to meet Western standards, and
supports Baltic States and multilateral Baltic projects.
Denmark sees relations with Russia through two separate, yet mutually complementing prisms: the NATO/PfP framework, and bilateral relations. From the former perspective, Russia is a strategic partner for NATO. As NATO is enlarging, Denmark considers it important to draw Russia closer to the Alliance. The Alliance should not, in Denmark’s opinion, exclude the long-term perspective of membership. [Ref.22] From the latter perspective, Denmark’s bilateral agreement with Russia focuses on an exchange of experience with the aim of contributing to the re-organization of the Russian armed forces, and dialogue and cooperation concerning methods of performing peace-keeping activities. Joint perceptions of how conflicts ought to be resolved will play an important role in creating greater security in the Baltic area and will also be productive in a wider European and global perspective. The cooperation agreement, furthermore, aims to establish Denmark’s contact with St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad. There is a perception that cooperation with Russia, with its historical attitude towards the West, will be easier to establish at a human level. At the same time, it reflects the importance Denmark places on cooperation with the Baltic Sea Region. [Ref.25] Moreover, as is the case with Sweden, Denmark is concerned about a high concentration of troops and military installations in the Kaliningrad region. Direct contacts with regions could assist in confidence building and threat reduction.
In brief, Denmark looks at cooperation with Russia through two prisms:
NATO and bilateral. The overall aim of cooperation through both channels
is draw Russia to closer cooperation and broaden common grounds of mutual
In notions of risks, Denmark’s approach is more focused on aspects of “soft security” in the global sphere, beyond the Baltic Sea region. These risks are very unlikely to provide for any “hard security” concern. Estonia’s somewhat vaguer notion of risks bears concerns about its security in the “hard” end of the spectrum of risks, linked with Russia and its neo-imperial ambitions. In sum, although Denmark feels itself less endangered than Estonia, there is common ground in addressing issues of “soft security.”
Estonia’s foreign policy stresses the indivisibility of security, need to develop neighborly relations with countries in the region, and declares accession to the EU and NATO its objective. For Denmark, NATO membership is a cornerstone of security policy. Denmark stresses also the cooperation, and need to for Euro-Atlantic structures to embrace countries in the Baltic Sea region. Consequently, policy fundamentals of Denmark and Estonia are well in unison.
The NATO policy of Denmark and Estonia is, to a large extent, predicted
by their different statuses as, respectively, member and applicant to the
North Atlantic Alliance. Estonia’s policy is aimed at meeting the accession
criteria via practical preparations, and extensive and focused international
cooperation. Denmark, in turn, advocates the increase of European responsibilities
in the field of security. Therefore, respective policies are not conflicting,
but, to an extent, complementary.
Concerning the policies of Estonia and Denmark towards the EU, the differences are predicted by the different statuses of the countries. As applicant, Estonia seeks the EU-promoted stability and focuses on comprehensive preparations at home. Denmark as member-state advocates strongly a whole and undivided Europe, and the speediest enlargement, also stressing openness and transparency in the EU proceedings. The policies of respective countries are complementary.
The most similar is Denmark’s and Estonia’s policy towards regional cooperation. Both stress a broad area of cooperation, including military. Both see regional cooperation as part of larger picture in whole-European context. And both consider continuation and development of joint Baltic military projects of utmost importance.
Finally, the approach of Estonia and Denmark towards Russia is somewhat different, but mostly predicted by their geo-political location. Denmark employs two channels of relations: as a NATO member in the framework provided by the Alliance, and bilateral. Denmark’s objective is to broaden common grounds of understanding and draw Russia into closer cooperation. For Estonia its location in the immediate vicinity of Russia and the historically proved tendency of the latter to resort to violence prescribe a policy of establishing stable and consistent relations based on a comprehensive legal framework. Thus, though Estonia’s and Denmark’s policies are somewhat different, they are not conflicting.
In overall terms, then, the conclusion is that the examined policies
of Estonia and Denmark are well in unison, based on shared understandings
and values. These, however, are sometimes different due to different stances
in international organizations, but they are by no means conflicting.
The relationship with Germany is somewhat dualistic in the mind of an
average Estonian. On the one hand, Germans were conquerors and deniers
of any kind of self-governance to Estonians, let alone independence, through
seven hundred years. The plans of Nazi Germany to resettle most Estonians
to newly conquered areas in Northern Russia, and Germanize the rest, were
a real danger to Estonia. On the other hand, belonging to the German sphere
of language and culture helped Estonians to resist the Czarist policy of
Russification and provided direct access to the heights of European culture.
This dualism, as a matter of fact, is mutual. A number of German-Baltic
noble families, who had lived in Estonia for centuries and repatriated
in 1939, still feel themselves more Baltic than German, and given their
high position in German society, contribute a lot to the re-integration
process of Estonia into Western structures.
According to its own estimation, Germany has gained most from the revolutionary political changes in Europe. It has achieved its unity with the approval of all its neighbors and the world powers, and now has full sovereignty. The united Germany has remained a member of the North Atlantic Alliance and the Western European Union and continues to enjoy their protection. It is surrounded solely by democratic states, friends and partners. [Ref.1, pp.4-5] Germany’s security is no longer threatened by a major military power, but is directly affected by the further development in Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe. Therefore, Germany is highly interested in the stability of these regions. The enemy today is instability. A world of threat has turned into a world of risks and dangers. If fundamentalism and terrorism merge and eventually get access to weapons of mass destruction, the dangers of such a constellation cannot be confined to a region. [Ref.3] Ethnic, religious and economic antagonisms continue to exist in Europe and on its periphery, which may escalate into crises and bloody conflicts at any time. [Ref.26, p.7] However, military conflicts that could jeopardize the existence of Germany have become unlikely, especially as long it retains the capability to protect itself in cooperation with the North Atlantic Alliance. In the future strategic environment, military risks will only be part of wide spectrum of variables influencing security policy. German security policy must therefore be based on a strategic analysis of political, economic, ecological and military aspects. It must draw the appropriate conclusions for security in Europe and contribute to solving those problems that it identifies as a risk to the international community. [Ref.1, p.5] Today security is no longer achieved by means of autonomy but by means of cooperation and integration. Pursuing a comprehensive security policy therefore means dealing with far more than just military matters in order to allow for crisis management before conflicts may arise. None of the current risks can be resolved by military means alone. [Ref.3]
For the reunified Germany, then, foreign policy means first and foremost to pursue a policy for peace. Its goal is to promote the peaceful coexistence of the nations of Europe through cooperation in all fields of activity. Germany supports the further development of international and supranational organizations as well as the process of European integration. From this evolved five basic goals of German foreign policy, three of which are relevant to this thesis: continuation of the efforts to achieve European unity; further development of the North Atlantic Alliance; and support of the process of reform in the new Central and East European democracies. [Ref.26, p.6]
In brief, Germany perceives instability, fundamentalism, terrorism,
proliferation, and the escalation of ethnic, religious, and economic antagonisms—in
general “soft” risks, as credible. To cope with these risks, Germany pursues
a policy of security through cooperation and integration, taking membership
in NATO and WEU as a fundamental requirement.
Germany, while considering its NATO membership of utmost importance, also seeks a balance in its foreign and security policy between NATO, the EU, and measures undertaken by Germany independently. Germany understands, that the security policy of the North Atlantic Alliance and the European Union is based on the will to cooperate, extensively and in a spirit of mutual trust, with partners of an all-European security and stability order. The objective is to tie the states of Eastern Europe as closely as possible to Western structures by pursuing a policy of cooperation and integration. [Ref.1, p.6] Therefore, Germany actively supports the renewal of the Alliance which also involves an enhancement of the role that Europe plays in it, and cooperation with Central and Eastern European countries. [Ref.26, pp.11-12] The purpose of strengthening the European ability to act within NATO is to give Europe a much higher profile in this Alliance. It reflects the willingness and ability of the Europeans to accept a greater share of responsibility for safeguarding common security interests and thus relieve the United States of some of its burdens arising from international commitments. The Europeans will thus be able to conduct military operations for crisis management under their own political control and strategic decisions using NATO forces and assets. [Ref.27]
In brief, Germany seeks balance between NATO, the EU and independent
measures. It considers it important to support integration of Eastern Europe
into Western structures, enhancement of Europe’s role in NATO, and development
of Europe’s ability for crisis management using NATO assets.
Germany is committed to promoting the process of European integration since this is the only way in which peace, stability and prosperity for all of Europe can be attained and secured. [Ref.26] Therefore, Common European Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), including a common defense policy, must be aimed at enabling Europe to speak with one voice in world affairs and to safeguard its interests resolutely and effectively. Only then will the European nations be able to render an effective contribution to increasing security and improving stability in and for Europe. The new strategic situation requires developing crises to be resolutely counteracted wherever they manifest themselves before their implications for European security have become inevitable. Europe must become capable of taking political and military action and accept its share of responsibility for European security. This is also a question of Trans-Atlantic solidarity and of sharing the burden on American allies more equitably. This involves two interdependent processes: strengthening the European ability to take action in the Atlantic alliance and development of a European ability to take independent action in the European Union. To develop a European ability to take independent action for crisis management it will first and foremost be important to create political and military decision-making structures under the auspices of the European Union without duplicating NATO command and force structures, and without discriminating against those European NATO states that are not full members of the WEU. The “Petersberg tasks”, such as, for instance, humanitarian and rescue tasks, peacekeeping and peace making operations, will become integral parts of the common EU defense policy. The further development of the European security and defense policy must not exclude European NATO members that are not members of the EU, nor those European states that do not want or are not able to participate in all integrating steps taken by the EU. Countries that are not members of all institutions must also see at least their possibility to participate further safeguarded. German efforts are directed at strengthening the CFSP in full conformity with the principles and objectives of the Trans-Atlantic community of shared security and values and thus also at strengthening the Atlantic alliance as a whole. [Ref.27]
In brief, Germany promotes integration and CFSP, including common defense,
developing European ability to take independent action in the EU. In this
context, Germany considers it important to avoid isolation of any state
As a littoral state of the Baltic Sea, Germany has a vital interest in maintaining stability in the Baltic Region. Any destabilization, particularly as far as Russo-Baltic relations are concerned, will have an immediate effect on the littoral EU states of Germany, Sweden and Finland and, hence, on the European Union as a whole. On the other hand, nowhere else in Europe are there such excellent possibilities for direct exchange between the EU and Russia as in the Baltic Region. As the interface between Russian, Central European and Nordic interests, the Baltic States will continue to be one of the highly sensitive areas of European policy. Nowhere else in Europe do Russia and central Europe meet so closely. Germany is interested in maintaining good relations with both the Baltic States and Russia. Hence, Germany must avoid a development which will disrupt relations with one partner due to relations with the other, or which will even force Germany to “choose” between the two. [Ref.3]
In brief, Germany, while recognizing the excellent potential of the
Baltic Sea region for further social and economic development, is vitally
interested in maintaining its stability. In this context, maintaining good
relations with both Baltic States and Russia, as well as between the Baltic
States and Russia, is of key importance.
The success of domestic reforms and the incorporation of Russia into the overall European system are major challenges facing the international community. It is in the interest of all of Europe to take every opportunity to support the process of political, economic, social and military reorganization. Domestic reforms and foreign policy aimed at integration into the community of shared democratic values and at cooperation in all the institutions of the European security structure are a prerequisite for success in this process. [Ref.1, p.6]
Germany sees three avenues to promote cooperation with Russia: cooperation in the framework of the EU, cooperation in the framework of the CBSS, and bilateral cooperation. All three avenues are interrelated. However, while Russia perceives the EU first and foremost as an economic partner, the EU has always treated this relationship as political and stressed the importance of following democratic norms and the rule of law.
Germany was and will be the champion of the inclusion of Russia in solving
European security problems. Germany wants Russia to play a constructive
role in nuclear disarmament. Germany wants to revive NATO-Russia cooperation,
and in this framework wants Russia to play its role as European power,
given that Russia will accept also the United States as a European power.
Germany is concerned about the formation of a “patriotic unity” in Russia, which mourns the loss of imperial might. Hence, in the words of Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer: “Russia has to choose between integration into the European system of values and hegemony in its own microcosm, between modernization and orientation towards the past, between the future and retreat.” Germany feels it is obliged to state clearly: Russia’s return to hegemonic pretensions is not reconcilable with European understanding of partnership. [Ref.28] In this context, it is crucial that Russia’s relations with its neighbors are based on respect for their sovereignty, territorial integrity and equal rights. [Ref.1, p.6]
In brief, Germany supports domestic reforms in Russia, promotes engagement
of Russia in solving European problems, given that Russia’s relations with
neighbors are based on equality.
In overall terms, the notions of risks for Estonia and Germany are similarly categorized. Both countries use rather vague categories like “instability” and “escalation of antagonisms.” Germany also recognizes terrorism and proliferation explicitly as risks. Estonia, in turn, is concerned about imperial ambitions in its vicinity. Germany, with its risk assessment, operates on a global level, Estonia on a regional level. It is what one could expect given the different geo-political position of Estonia and Germany. The approaches of Germany and Estonia to notions of risks are, thus, very close.
The fundamentals of the foreign and security policies of Estonia and Germany are also close. Estonia stresses neighborly relations and a desire to integrate into NATO and the EU. Germany seeks security through cooperation and integration, considering its NATO and WEU memberships as a fundamental principle. Estonia’s and Germany’s policy fundamentals are, thus, fully compatible.
When it comes to specific NATO policy, there are natural differences between Estonia’s and Germany’s approaches. Estonia tends to use all avenues available to prepare itself for full membership. Germany as a leading economic and political power in Europe builds its policy on balance between NATO, EU and measures taken by Germany independently. Germany advocates strongly for the integration of Eastern Europe into Euro-Atlantic structures, for the enhancement of Europe’s role in NATO, and for developing Europe’s crisis management capability. The scope of Estonia’s NATO policy is, thus, a fraction of that of Germany. However, to the extent they are comparable, there is no conflict between these two policies.
The explicit EU policy for Germany is based on the same principles as its NATO policy. More specifically, Germany promotes integration, CFSP including common defense policy, development of a European capability to take independent action, and tries to avoid isolation of any state in Europe. Estonia’s concept of EU as not a security guarantor yet promoter of stability and its focus on comprehensive preparation work are compatible with Germany’s approach.
In regards to regional cooperation, Germany’s policy is closely linked with its policy towards Russia. Germany is interested in close cooperation between states in the region. Germany also stresses that its policy objective in the region is to maintain stability, particularly to maintain good relations with the Baltic States and Russia. Hence, Germany’s policy aims to avoid situations in which it could be forced to “choose” between the Baltic States and Russia. Thus, to the extent that Estonia also promotes regional cooperation, its policy is in line with that of Germany. However, the context of relations with Russia bears the seeds of possible disagreements between Estonia and Germany.
Germany’s policy towards Russia is that of a partner equal in every aspect, but in the possession of nuclear weapons. Germany thus supports domestic reforms in Russia, and seeks to ensure that Russia’s relations with its neighbors are based on equality. Estonia’s policy towards Russia—establishment of stable and consistent relations based on a sound legal framework—is therefore well in line and tacitly supported by Germany’s respective policy.
By and large, then, there are no conflicting aspects between the sets
of adopted policies of Estonia and Germany. The exception is Germany’s
policy objective to maintain good relations with both Russia and the Baltic
States, which could under certain circumstances lead to disagreement between
Estonia and Germany.
The histories of Poland and Estonia have intersected more than once.
In the 16th century, the peak of Polish might, southern Estonia was temporarily
a part of Rzecz Pospolita. In the 19th century, Poland and the Baltic provinces
shared the role of the economically most developed, yet socially and politically
oppressed assets of the Russian Empire. Both Poland and Estonia owe great
a deal of their post-World War I independence to two officers, close friends,
and alumni of the Imperial Military Academy in Vilno: victors of the Wars
of Independence Marshal Joszef Pilsudski and General Johan Laidoner. Later,
Estonia and Poland shared martyrdom under the Soviet and Nazi occupations.
Today, Estonia and Poland develop friendly competition to meet the EU accession
criteria and have extensive defense-related cooperation.
Poland neither perceives any state as an enemy, nor declares itself
as the enemy of any state. Nevertheless, Poland considers possible sources
of threats and maintains the necessary defense potential. [Ref.29]
In Eastern Europe, the possible consequences of the prolonged financial,
economic and social crisis in Russia give grounds for concern. The same
goes for the political and economic situation in Belarus. Poland finds
troubling the conspicuous absence of progress in the economic transformation
processes in Ukraine and certain countries of central and southern Europe.
Poland’s participation in initiatives and programs designed to counter
such non-military threats as terrorism, drug trade and other forms of organized
crime is a must from the viewpoint of its own security. The principal Polish
foreign policy goals are strengthening state’s security through active
participation in the North Atlantic Alliance; stepping up the efforts to
bring nearer the date of membership in the European Union; raising the
level of activity in the region; and interlocking Poland’s political and
diplomatic endeavours with the pursuit of economic objectives. [Ref.2]
Polish security policy is founded on three pillars. The first is the development
of good-neighborly relations and regional cooperation in Central Europe.
The second is the participation in an all-European cooperative arrangements,
and support for the UN global system of security. The third pillar is its
integration with West European and Euro-Atlantic security structures—NATO,
the Western European Union and the European Union. [Ref.30]
In brief, Poland perceives as sources of risks the prolonged crisis in Russia and Belarus, terrorism, the drug trade, and organized crime.
To cope with these risks, Poland participates actively in NATO, seeks
EU membership, and wants to build neighborly relations and cooperation
with countries in Central Europe.
The North Atlantic Alliance has become for Poland the most important forum in which to pursue the paramount objectives of its national security strategy. Poland wants to participate in discussions designed to set in concrete NATO’s “open door” policy, supporting countries of the region – its neighbors first and foremost—in their pursuit of their aspirations. [Ref.2] It is in Poland’s interests for the North Atlantic Alliance to remain a system of collective defense, based on a permanent US presence in Europe, and for its American leadership, constituting the guarantee of its operative and efficient activities, to be maintained. In view of the fundamental changes that have occurred in the international environment, Poland supports the expansion of the Alliance’s activities to include new tasks and new areas of operation. They should not be limited to the territory of member-states, and NATO should be prepared to cooperate with other institutions whose goals are to ensure European security. It is in the interests of Poland for NATO to maintain the proper, complementary balance between its European and Euro-Atlantic dimensions. For that reason, Poland forcefully advocates both a permanent American presence in Europe as well as the development of cooperation among NATO’s European members within the framework of ESDI. One of the tasks of Polish foreign policy is to support the membership aspirations of states that have not yet been invited to participate in the Alliance. Poland steadfastly believes that NATO’s first enlargement should not be the last and that the doors to the Alliance should remain open. [Ref.31] The process of NATO enlargement will have a gradual and deliberate character; after admitting the first new members, NATO will remain open to other candidates; none of the nations aspiring to membership will be a priori excluded from the process. The Alliance, while opening its doors to the new democracies of Central Europe, will strengthen cooperation with those states that will not be admitted early or at all, and those that do not aspire to membership. In particular, it will develop such initiatives as the enhancement of the PfP, creation of the new body for cooperation and dialogue—the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council—and the development of strategic partnership with Russia and Ukraine. Poland intends to remain an active participant in the Partnership for Peace program, contributing to its role in the intensification of political and military cooperation throughout Europe and the elimination of threats to peace. For this purpose Poland will aim at the strengthening of the Alliance’s ties with its Partners by means of broadening and enhancing cooperation in the framework of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and the enhancement of the military dimension of the PfP. Poland will strive to develop NATO’s strategic partnership with Russia, which helps bring this country into new architecture of European security. [Ref.30]
In brief, Poland intends to pursue a policy of active participation
in NATO. It stresses that NATO should remain a system of collective defense
based on US presence and leadership. The Alliance should, in parallel,
develop a special partnership with Russia. Poland supports the “open door”
policy and the aspirations of countries from the Baltic Sea region, also
the development of ESDI, the enhancement of PfP, and cooperation through
Membership of the European Union is not viewed in Poland solely in terms of economic advantages. In its drive for membership, an important role is played by Poland’s awareness that political factors lay at the source of European integration. These have included efforts to break down divisions and create safeguards against possible conflicts as well as common values unifying countries that are becoming involved in the integration process. Poland’s membership in the European Union is in its vital interests above all because there is no better alternative to Poland’s presence in contemporary Europe. Otherwise, Poland will, in its own estimation, remain a peripheral, marginal country. That membership must be considered not only in terms of the consequences facing both sides, but also in terms of the continent’s future as a way of overcoming divisions and creating new bonds. Poland is convinced that admission to the European Union is not a unilaterally advantageous transaction. Instead, it will bring economic benefits to all its current members and help to bolster the European integration process in all areas – economic, social and political – as well as in external relations by strengthening the EU’s relations with other countries of Central and Eastern Europe. [Ref.31] It is necessary for Poland to keep up the momentum of the EU accession negotiations, to use its best endeavours to keep alive the EU member states’ political will to see the Union enlarged, and to promote the positive aspects of enlargement in both member states and those aspiring to membership. [Ref.2] Concerning the development of European capability to undertake peace operations on its own, Poland has the view that enhancing the operational capacity of the WEU does not jeopardize the existing Trans-Atlantic construction of cooperation, and that the role the WEU has to play in resolving crisis situations is not in competition with NATO’s activities. [Ref.31]
In brief, Poland’s EU accession policy is aimed at seeking support of
present EU members. Poland also supports enhancing the EU’s crisis management
capability, complementary to NATO.
Cooperation in the Baltic Sea region, including within the framework of the Council of Baltic Sea States, is an important and promising direction of Polish foreign policy. The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs outlined a program of action addressed, above all, to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Poland intends to further develop this program to accommodate a wider role of the CBSS. Its policy vis-à-vis the three Baltic States is clearly defined. Poland intends to further foster good contacts with Latvia, Estonia and, above all, with Lithuania, Poland’s neighbor and privileged partner. Poland will keep supporting their security and NATO membership aspirations (“open door” policy) and their contacts with the EU. The important objectives set before Polish “Baltic policy” further include pursuit of enhanced stability and predictability of Poland’s immediate neighborhood. Hence its continued readiness to carry on with supportive involvement in confidence and security building ventures in the Baltic Sea basin, primarily within the framework of the PfP, and the EAPC. Poland’s policy of drawing upon existing aid programs to secure the broadest possible involvement of the Baltic States in military cooperation will remain unchanged. At the same time, in dialogue with Russia, Poland shall continue to strive for a gradual transformation of the Kaliningrad District from its present strategic forward deployment area for military interests into an important regional element of Russia’s presence on the Baltic. In that regard, Poland’s intentions and policy are in line with those of Sweden and Denmark. In Poland’s bilateral political and economic cooperation with the Nordic states it intends to lay particular emphasis on questions related to Poland’s integration into the European Union and creating better conditions for exports. [Ref.2]
In brief, Poland’s policy in the region supports the development of
confidence and security building measures. Cooperation within CBSS, along
with cooperation with the Nordic countries and the Baltic States, and special
partnership with Lithuania are seen by Poland as avenues to achieve Poland’s
goals. In the sphere of security enhancement, Poland strives to demilitarize
the Kaliningrad region.
Polish foreign policy attaches great importance to the development of good all-round relations with Russia. The moment Poland joins NATO and the European Union, those relations have a chance of taking on new dynamism and substance as well as encompassing new areas of cooperation: mainly economic but also cultural, scientific, and inter-human. An important element of Poland’s relations with Russia is its direct cooperation with individual republics and other administrative units, especially with the Kaliningrad Region. [Ref.31] It is necessary to strengthen consultation mechanisms serving the two countries’ Ministries of Foreign Affairs and to forge closer contacts between their respective government departments responsible for the economy, culture, internal affairs, the police and border guard forces. Poland sees the cross-border movement of people as a means to reduce the sense of isolation on the Russian side of the border. It intends to be more active in supporting cross-border cooperation and promoting the development of the “Baltic” Euro-region on the Baltic Sea. Polish-Russian relations, however, may be influenced by the question of compensation for Polish victims of Stalinist terror, especially former inmates of prison camps in Siberia, of the return of Polish archives or the regulation of shipping in the Pilawa Bay. [Ref.2]
In brief, Poland strives to develop neighborly relations, using new
and potential tools—NATO and eventual EU membership—in promoting those
relations. Developing direct relations with regions and cross-border cooperation
are seen important tools for that policy.
Comparing notion of risks of Poland and Estonia, it must be admitted
that Poland’s approach is more concrete and focused on practical aspects.
Concerns about prolonged crisis in Russia and Belarus, also about terrorism,
drug trafficking, and organized crime are easier to define than concerns
about Russian imperial ambitions or political and military instability.
However, in the context of policy implications, the two sets of perceived
risks are not contradictory and do not contain conflicting features.
In regard to policy fundamentals, Estonia and Poland ground their policies on practically identical principles. Both countries intend to integrate into the Euro-Atlantic structures—NATO and EU—and build neighborly relations with countries in their vicinity. In sum, the policy fundamentals of Poland and Estonia are very similar.
Concerning specific NATO policy, Poland as a 1999 accession member has an obviously somewhat different approach than the accession applicant Estonia. While Estonia seeks full membership in NATO through active participation in the PfP, learning from the accession experience of new members, and focusing on practical preparations at home, Poland stresses its active participation in NATO’s work, its support of PfP enhancement, the “open door” policy and aspirations of the Baltic States. Further, Poland considers it important for NATO to remain a joint-defense system based on US presence and leadership. It also supports the development of a special partnership between NATO and Russia. To sum up, to the extent Estonia’s and Poland’s NATO policies are not overlapping, they are complementary.
Estonia and Poland are both applicant countries for the EU membership. Their respective policies are, however, slightly differently focused. Both countries pay attention to “soft security” aspects of the EU: Estonia recognizing that although the EU does not give security guarantees, it promotes stability, and Poland stressing the need to enhance the EU’s crisis management capabilities. Concerning ways and means to achieve membership, Estonia focuses on comprehensive preparations at home, while Poland considers it more relevant to seek the support of present EU members. In sum, the EU policies of Estonia and Poland are partly overlapping and there are no contradictions.
The regional cooperation policies of Poland and Estonia are also remarkably close. A common feature for both countries is seeing the CBSS as a primary means of cooperation. Estonia, for the rest of the declared policies, stresses broad cooperation including military, importance of the EU northern dimension and intense cooperation with Latvia and Lithuania. Poland, in turn, focuses on development of confidence and security building measures in the region, strives to demilitarize the Kaliningrad region, and stresses cooperation with the Baltic States, particularly with Lithuania. In sum, the EU policies of Estonia and Poland are built on similar premises and in spite of some differences are generally compatible.
Relations with Russia are an important part of Estonia’s and Poland’s policy. Estonia strives to establish stable and consistent legally based relations. Poland also declares its desire to develop neighborly relations, employing direct relations through regional and cross-border cooperation. In sum, Estonian and Polish policies towards Russia are similar, although Poland’s approach is more detailed.
By and large, then, the examined sets of official policies of Estonia
and Poland are grounded in similar premises, generally overlapping and
Despite its relative geographic proximity, Lithuania is the country
with which Estonia has the least in common. There were contacts present
to the extent that Lithuania once constituted a co-equal part of the Kingdom
of Poland, but by and large, only the 20th century brought about closer
cooperation. There were developing state-to-state relations between the
two World Wars and the shared burden of the Soviet annexation. The last
decade confirmed the mutual understanding that although Estonia and Lithuania
are competitors in economic sphere—by the way, Estonia is a heavy investor
in the Lithuanian economy—and partners in their aspiration to become EU
and NATO members, the feature that really binds the two countries together
is the indivisibility of the security of the Baltic States.
There are two strategic foreign policy goals for Lithuania. First, to ensure national security through integration into the Trans-Atlantic community and its institutions. And second, to strengthen the national economy and promote the economic well-being of Lithuanian citizens through integration into the European common market of goods, services and capital. [Ref.32] More specific policies are outlined in the Government Action Program. The government shall conduct Lithuania’s foreign policy in line with the following objectives: it shall seek, by political and diplomatic means, 1) to join the European Union and NATO at the earliest possible time; 2) to undertake active preparations for negotiations with the EU regarding Lithuania’s accession to the Union, which will meet the needs of the national economy as well as the economic and social interests of the Lithuanian people; 3) to take active part in the political dialogue with the European Union concerning the CFSP; 4) to develop bilateral relations with the member states and the candidate countries of the European Union and NATO; 5) to take active part in the cooperation of the Baltic and North European states and the activities of the CBSS; 6) to develop mutually beneficial bilateral relations with neighboring countries, particularly Poland. [Ref.33]
In brief, Lithuania wants to join the EU and NATO, and actively participate
in shaping the CFSP. To that end, Lithuania intends to develop bilateral
relations with the EU and NATO members and candidates. Cooperation with
Baltic and Nordic States and a special relationship with Poland are seen
as primary policy tools also.
As a primary means of its security policy, Lithuania is seeking membership in the North Atlantic Alliance. For this purpose Lithuania is actively participating in the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and is fully engaged in the Partnership for Peace program. Ongoing cooperation with NATO is helping Lithuania modify its armed forces in accordance with NATO standards, adopt western countries’ military experience and achieve the needed level of interoperability with NATO armed forces. [Ref.32]
In brief, Lithuania is seeking NATO membership through participation
in the PfP and EAPC, and participation in NATO-led peace operations.
On a political level, Lithuania fully shares the political goals and principles of the Treaty on the European Union, supports the Common Foreign and Defense Policy and the European defense identity establishment. On the practical side of moving towards EU membership, Lithuania is implementing a comprehensive program of harmonization of its legal norms with those of the EU. [Ref.32] Lithuania pays a lot of attention to regional policy aspects of EU activities. Welcoming the decision by the European Union to adopt the northern dimension initiative, which aims to increase cooperation between the enlarging EU and Russia, Lithuania invited all the members of the CBSS to make a special effort to developing potential for practical action and encouraged them to further the northern dimension initiative, especially in areas where the EU and the CBSS activities are complementary: investment and trade; transport and energy; environmental protection; education; health care; fighting organized crime; border control; and cross-border cooperation. [Ref.34]
In brief, Lithuania supports the development of CFSP and ESDI, and intends
to participate in the EU northern dimension. In seeking EU membership,
Lithuania focuses on harmonization of its legal norms with those of the
Lithuania attaches great importance to stable and mutually beneficial relationships with its neighbors in the Baltic Sea region. It is in Lithuania’s interest to maintain and expand traditionally close cooperation with Poland, Latvia, Estonia, and Nordic countries. Ties with Nordic countries as well as with Latvia and Estonia together constitute the multilateral “3+5” framework. This framework entails regular meetings among the Prime ministers and ministers of the Baltic and Nordic states. The “3+5” framework allows Lithuania to become more involved into the North European region and, because all of the Nordic countries are also member-states of NATO or the EU, it encourages greater integration with the rest of Europe. [Ref.32]
Lithuania has a variety of bilateral ties with all Nordic countries. Present cooperation with Nordic countries includes the state, regional and local levels. Lithuania’s cooperation with Nordic countries develops in several ways; e.g., intensive bilateral contacts and consultations, cooperation according to the 5+3 formula, working relations between the Baltic Council of Ministers (BCM) and the Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM), collaboration in the framework of regional and international organizations. During recent years the Baltic and Nordic countries have developed a cohesive network of cooperative activities in political, military, economic, cultural and other aspects. Cooperation is intensifying in all public and private levels thereby activating the vast potential for development in the region. [Ref.35] One of the primary means for implementing these policies is the Baltic Council of Ministers. Through this body, Lithuania has been coordinating and consulting with Latvia and Estonia in the harmonization of the three countries’ laws vis-à-vis European Union standards; in the development of infrastructure projects; in and the establishment of favorable conditions for trade transit through the Baltic region. Further development of close bilateral and trilateral cooperation with Latvia and Estonia is one of the priorities of Lithuanian foreign policy. [Ref.32] In its approach to the security-political dimension of regional issues, Lithuania stresses the importance of enhancing defense-related cooperation by developing multilateral Baltic projects (BALTBAT and others). It is in the interest of Lithuania to consult with other Baltic countries on the possibility of cooperating in the creation of a multilateral military aircraft maintenance and training centre as well as cooperating in the process of the defense procurement. [Ref.35]
A very important role in Lithuania’s foreign and security policy belongs to close cooperation with neighboring Poland. The array of undertakings goes from regular consultations of military and higher policy officials to exchanging cadets and establishing a Polish-Lithuanian peacekeeping battalion, LITPOLBAT. Lithuania’s political and economic relations with Poland are very close and are being further intensified by expanding cooperation in the European and Trans-Atlantic integration process, as well as in regional affairs. Lithuania and Poland are intensifying their cooperation in the fields of foreign and security policy, defense, economy, trade, transportation, communications, culture and education. [Ref.32]
In brief, Lithuania pays attention to cooperation in the 5+3 framework,
cooperation through BCM and NCM, and wide bilateral cooperation with Nordic
countries. In the security-political sphere, Lithuania focuses on the concerted
efforts of the Baltic States to meet the EU and NATO accession criteria
and on the development of multilateral Baltic projects. A special relationship
with Poland is also a feature of Lithuania’s policy.
Lithuania and Russia have no unresolved political issues. This creates favorable conditions for the development of relations and cooperation with Russia on bilateral, regional and an all-European scale. Lithuania bases its relations with Russia on universally recognized norms and principles of international law and the Lithuanian-Russian treaty on the Foundations of Inter-State Relations. The development of bilateral cooperation is ensured by the right to independently realize sovereignty in the area of defense and security in ways they find acceptable, as well as through collective security arrangements. In relations with the Russian Federation, Lithuania emphasizes the importance of adherence to the principles enshrined in the instruments of the OSCE, including commitments to the principles that every state has the inherent right to be free to choose or change its security arrangements, including treaties and alliances as they evolve. Lithuania is interested in continuing active political dialogue with Russia and developing mutually-beneficial, practical cooperation within the framework of existing institutions, including the Lithuanian-Russian Intergovernmental Commission and the Council of the Baltic Sea States. [Ref.34] The nature of Lithuanian-Russian relations is well captured by statement of Lithuania’s Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs: “We project openness and stability in the region by active diplomacy with our neighbors Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus, the Russian Federation and its Kaliningrad district. Today, Lithuania’s relations with Russia are good, and they will remain so in the future. The best example of our positive and productive relationship involves the Kaliningrad region, where our cooperation against new threats and the promotion of an even and stable development in the Baltic Sea region is both practical and mutually beneficial.” [Ref.36]
In brief, Lithuania builds its relations with Russia on the OSCE principles,
while bilateral practical cooperation and cooperation in the framework
of the CBSS are seen as primary tools.
Lithuania’s currently available public documents contain no explicit treatment of risks.
The policy fundamentals of Lithuania are similar to those of Estonia. Both countries actively seek NATO and the EU membership. Lithuania’s concept of policy fundamentals is more detailed than Estonia’s, and also emphasises developing bilateral relations with the EU and NATO members and candidates, cooperation with Baltic and Nordic countries, and a special relationship with Poland. Lithuania considers it necessary to actively participate in the shaping of CFSP. Though more detailed, Lithuania’s policy fundamentals are compatible with those of Estonia.
The same generalization applies to the NATO policy of Lithuania. Both countries see participation in the PfP as a primary tool in preparing themselves for NATO membership. Lithuania also considers participation in NATO-led peace operations as an important vehicle. Lithuania does not underline the importance of learning from the recent accession experience of the new NATO members, as is the case with Estonia and Latvia. Lithuania’s special relationship with Poland is more than satisfactory to fill this need. In sum, even though the NATO policies of Estonia and Lithuania have slightly different focal points, they are well in unison with each other.
Concerning the specific policies of Estonia and Lithuania towards the EU, it must be said that these are also close. Both countries pay attention to comprehensive preparations at home. Further, Lithuania emphasizes support for the development of CFSP and ESDI, and participation in the EU northern dimension. Since it is sometimes difficult to draw a line between regional cooperation and cooperation in the EU framework, the latter provision in Lithuania’s policy is well in line with Estonia’s regional policy. In sum, Lithuania and Estonia share similar understanding of the ways and means to join the EU. Thus, although Lithuania stresses more of the “soft security” aspects of the EU, in general the respective policies of Estonia and Lithuania are close.
Talking about regional cooperation through the prisms of Estonia and Lithuania, their similarities should be stressed. Both countries consider wide regional cooperation, including military, concerted trilateral Baltic efforts, and continuation of the multilateral Baltic projects as necessary components of this policy. Both countries also see established multilateral frameworks as useful tools. A slight difference comes with preferred channels. Lithuania emphasizes the importance of the 5+3 and BCM-NCM frameworks, whereas Estonia pays more attention to the CBSS, and stresses need to engage Russia in collective work. In sum, to the extent that the regional cooperation policies of Estonia and Lithuania are not identical they are complementary.
Finally, let us examine the relations of Lithuania and Estonia with Russia. Lithuania declares that it does not have any unsolved problems with Russia. Thus, Lithuania intends to build its bilateral relations with Russia on the OSCE principles, and focus on the promotion of bilateral practical cooperation, and also cooperation through the CBSS. Estonia’s policy departs from less solid ground and has to focus first on establishing stable and consistent relations. However, both countries stress the right to choose their security and the policies do not conflict.
In general, the examined sets of adopted policies of Estonia and Lithuania
are grounded in similar understandings and are in harmony.
Through history, Latvia and Estonia have shared the same destiny, from being conquered during the 13th century Crusades, to re-gaining independence in 1991. Most of that time even an arbitrarily drawn administrative border divided Latvians between two provinces—Curonia and Livonia—while yielding southern part of Estonia to the latter. Estonia and Latvia gained their ethnic borders only by the decree of Russian Provisional Government after the February Revolution in 1917.
However, there is one important issue that continues to influence the
domestic, and indirectly foreign, policy of Latvia: the issue of its Russian-speaking
minority. For centuries Riga was the most important trade, financial and
industrial center of the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea. By 1913, Riga
was the fourth biggest city after St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Warsaw in
the whole Russian Empire. As a consequence, a large Russian population
of administrators and businessmen settled in Latvia. After the Second World
War, it was Soviet policy to encourage the settlement of retired military
in the Baltic (then-Soviet) republics, along with a huge migration of bearers
of Soviet ideology, the blue-collar working class. The outcome was devastating:
by the late 1980s the percentage of Latvians in Riga was 28, and a fragile
51 in Latvia as a whole. Hence, the risk of the rise of pro-Russian/pro-imperial,
even pro-Soviet, sentiments is constantly haunting the policy-making process
Latvia considers real several types of threats. First, activities aimed against the national independence of Latvia and its constitutional system. Second, the political or economic subjugation or other types of dependence on other countries. Third, the hindrance of Latvia’s integration into European and Trans-Atlantic structures. Fourth, counteractions to the unification of different social and ethnic groups into one nation, or economic and social development in Latvia, as well as delaying the improvement of its defense capabilities. All these risks are closely linked with the current ethnic composition of Latvia. The threat can emerge either in the political, military, economic, social, or ecological spheres, individually or in combination. External pressure, or the unfavorable development of the international political process can destabilize the internal political situation, aggravate conflicts between political forces and social groups within the country, and lead to crisis. External and internal factors are closely related as they interact and combine.
Relying on the above-mentioned risk assessment, Latvia defines its goals of security policy as integration into European and Trans-Atlantic political, economic, security and defense structures, firstly the European Union and NATO. Maintenance of good relations with neighboring countries, to include Russia and Belarus, and cooperation with the most reliable security and defense organization in Europe, NATO are also considered important.
Latvia is developing effective crisis aversion and consultation mechanisms in conjunction with NATO, the EU, the WEU, the OSCE, the UN and their member states. In this context and taking into consideration the existing military potential of Latvia, its defense must be based on deterrence and a political resolution of military problems. The National Armed Forces must be small, mobile, well armed, well trained, and interoperable with NATO military structures as well as under civilian control. Maximum cooperation with NATO and its member states, as well as with other friendly nations is supported in order to develop closer ties and facilitate the fastest possible integration of Latvia into NATO. [Ref.37]
In brief, Latvia perceives as major risks the threat to independence, economic subjugation, hindrance of integration into Euro-Atlantic structures, and delaying the improvement of its self-defense capability.
To cope with these risks, Latvia intends to integrate into Euro-Atlantic
political, economic, and security structures, establish and maintain good
relations with its neighbors, while in security policy rely on cooperation
Latvia is actively seeking accession to NATO. Its policies in this direction are based on the understanding that resolute participation in the PfP program and the EAPC is essential, so as to prepare for admittance to NATO. Latvia will make use of all opportunities to become a full member state of NATO. Latvia will promote an expansion of the kind of NATO that at any stage will increase and strengthen not only Latvia’s but also Europe’s security. [Ref.38] On this somewhat broad basis, the government has developed a set of policy goals to achieve. In order to ensure entrance of Latvia into the European Union and NATO and the efficient execution of state foreign policy the government shall by 2002 create preconditions for the acceptance of Latvia into NATO. It shall pay special attention to the military cooperation of the Baltic States for integration into NATO and ensure the active participation of Latvia in the peace-making activities in Europe headed by NATO. Continuation of active participation in the PfP and the work of EAPC, and the strengthening cooperation with the new member states of NATO – the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary—in order to gain experience regarding integration into NATO is seen as important. [Ref.39] Latvia has already developed more detailed guidance for government activities in preparations for NATO integration. This document, NATO Integration Plan, foresees the continuation of active involvement in the Intensified Dialogue on enlargement, as well as participation in the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and Partnership for Peace program. [Ref.40]
In brief, Latvia seeks accession to NATO through active participation
in the PfP, EAPC and NACC, military cooperation with other Baltic States
regarding NATO preparations, and learning about Poland’s, the Czech Republic’s,
and Hungary’s experience.
Joining the European Union is essential to the survival of the Latvian nation and the preservation of the Latvian State. Inclusion in the EU economic system will promote a faster development of Latvia’s economy, science, education and culture. The priorities of Latvia’s foreign policy are bilateral relations with the countries of the EU. This is determined by Latvia’s objective of joining the EU. Latvia will continue to actively cooperate with Germany, France and Great Britain, all of which have important places in the strengthening of Latvia’s sovereignty. [Ref.38]
Concerning the pace and conditions of the EU enlargement, Latvia has developed its own clear vision, recently aired by Latvia’s Foreign Minister: “What are important to us are the following points: each applicant country negotiates separately; each moves forward on its own merits; and merits are objectively assessed in the annual Progress Report. By adhering to these provisions, and not changing them back and forth, we would ensure the quality of new members and avoid so-called ‘partial accessions’ – countries brought in before they are ready.” [Ref.41]
And last but not least, Latvia has also developed means for contributing to an all-European security policy making process, for its active participation in the Western European Union will allow Latvia to take part in the forming of EU security policy. [Ref.38]
In brief, Latvia seeks EU membership through developing bilateral relations
with EU countries. It seeks to improve its security situation also through
active participation in WEU and other means of shaping the EU’s security
Latvia will intensify bilateral relations with Nordic countries, activating cooperation between the Baltic Council of Ministers and the Nordic Council of Ministers. [Ref.38] Strengthened cooperation among the Baltic States and Nordic countries in political, security, as well as economic fields increases regional stability and enhances the potential for the Baltic states’ integration into European and Trans-Atlantic structures. [Ref.40] More concretely, the government has taken on obligations to continue the reinforcement and further development of cooperation among the Baltic countries. It also promotes comprehensive cooperation with Nordic countries, including within the 5+3 framework, and seeks to intensify bilateral cooperation with the US, as well as to support further involvement of the USA in the regional cooperation of Baltic States. [Ref.39]
Latvia perceives trilateral cooperation between the three Baltic States as being of special importance. The comprehensive cooperation of the Baltic States is important to Latvia’s, Lithuania’s and Estonia’s political and economical development, and to regional security. As a precondition for the stimulation of this cooperation, the operation of already-formed institutions – the Baltic assembly, Baltic Council of Ministers, and Committee of Senior Officers of the Baltic Council of Ministers – must be further developed and perfected. [Ref.38] Moreover, in Latvia’s understanding, cooperation between the Baltic States is one of the main preconditions and means for integration into European and Trans-Atlantic structures, as well as a guarantee for political and economic autonomy. Latvia’s security policies are founded on the belief that a threat to one of the Baltic nations is a threat to all three. The security policy of Latvia is aimed toward fully coordinated and joint activities of the Baltic States in averting an external threat. Particular attention is paid to the development of practical joint defense and security projects and programs. Latvia encourages the development of a coordinated Baltic crises aversion and elimination system. [Ref.37] Latvia is convinced that military cooperation of the Baltic States promotes intra-Baltic interoperability of armed forces, as well as interoperability with NATO. A number of regional projects (BALTBAT; BALTNET; BALTRON; BALTDEFCOL) will over the time become an organic part of the national defense system. [Ref.40]
In brief, Latvia develops bilateral relations with Nordic countries,
in particular, through active cooperation between BCM and NCM and 5+3 cooperation.
Cooperation among Baltic States, also promoting US involvement, and enhancement
of interoperability between the Baltic States, along with continuation
of multilateral Baltic projects is considered of utmost importance.
Latvia stresses that security in the Baltic Sea region can hardly be discussed without mentioning Russia. Russia is a part of Europe and Latvia wants to see Russia’s engagement, not isolation. There are numerous mechanisms of cooperation – NATO-Russia Founding Act, the new EU Strategy, the EU’s northern dimension, and the Council of the Baltic Sea States and others. “It is up to Russia itself to make the best use of them – it takes two to dance. Russia can be engaged constructively only if its engagement advances the creation of a free, democratic and secure Europe without compromising common European values,” underlined Latvia’s Foreign Minister in November 1999. [Ref.41] Therefore, Latvia and Russia will maintain neighborly relations, based on the norms of international law and the observance of international obligations. [Ref.38] The government from its side will develop good and friendly relations with Russia, international legislative norms and principles as well as on bilateral expediency. It will also expand contacts with the regions of Russia. [Ref.39]
In brief, Latvia wants to maintain neighborly relations with Russia,
based on norms of international law, particularly through cooperation with
Latvia’s notion of risks is the only one among the states of the region, which is entirely focused on self-sustainability of Latvian statehood without any mention of beyond-the-region “soft security” risks. However, the risks, perceived by Latvia as credible, are in line with those of Estonia. The threat posed by Russian imperial ambitions probably contains the risk to lose independence, as well as those of economic subjugation, and hindrance of integration into Euro-Atlantic structures. Consequently, although differently worded, the notions of risks of Latvia and Estonia are very close.
The same could be said concerning the policy fundamentals of Latvia and Estonia. Both countries base their policies on good relations with neighbors and integration into Euro-Atlantic political, economic, and security structures.
Regarding specific policy towards NATO, the respective policies of Estonia and Latvia are almost identical. Both countries seek active participation in the PfP, EAPC and NACC, as well as to learn from Poland’s, the Czech Republic’s, and Hungary’s recent accession experience. The fact that Latvia stresses trilateral Baltic cooperation in preparatory work, whereas Estonia emphasizes more practical preparations at home, does not alter the conclusion: the NATO policies of Latvia and Estonia are close.
Concerning Estonia’s and Latvia’s EU policy, there are two differences. First, since Estonia is slightly ahead of its Baltic neighbors in its EU accession talks, it focuses more on comprehensive preparatory work at home, whereas Latvia feels the need to seek more support from the EU members through developing bilateral relations. And second, since Latvia feels itself more endangered than Estonia, as was also the case with notion of risks, it stresses the need for active participation by all means in shaping the future of European security. However, although Estonia’s and Latvia’s EU policy is somewhat different it is by no means conflicting.
Estonian and Latvian approaches to regional cooperation are generally the same. Both countries include in their policy intensive trilateral defense-related cooperation among the Baltic States, continuation and further development of multilateral Baltic projects, and promotion of regional cooperation in different established frameworks: the CBSS, Nordic-Baltic, NCM-BCM. Latvia also stresses the need to promote US involvement into cooperation between the Baltic States. Estonia puts more emphasis on cooperation in the framework of the EU northern dimension and the engagement of Russia in collective work. In sum, the regional cooperation policies of Latvia and Estonia are comprehensive and compatible.
The policy of Estonia and Latvia towards Russia is also similar. Both countries declare their intent to build neighborly relations with Russia, based on norms of international law. In addition, Latvia stresses cooperation with regions of Russia as part of its policy. In sum, the policies towards Russia of Latvia and Estonia do not contain conflicting elements.
To summarize, the examined policies of Estonia and Latvia are based
on similar assumptions and understandings. Although Latvia’s policy reflects
generally greater concern about its security, the differences are not substantial
and the policies are by and large compatible.
The image of Russia in the mind of an average Estonian is the most emotionally
loaded of all images of neighboring countries. For centuries Russia was
a foe, launching wars to conquer Estonia. History has a long list of examples,
feeding mistrust and suspicion. The policy of Russification, aimed at conversion
of every single person in the whole territory of the Russian Empire into
a Russian, was implemented twice—in 1880’s and 1980’s. Crimes against humanity
committed by the Soviet regime in Estonia far outweigh the crimes of Nazis.
As a consequence of World War II and the Soviet occupation, about one third
of Estonia’s population was either murdered, deported to Siberia, or became
refugees in the West. It is not easy to forget or forgive. However, recognizing
geo-political realities, Estonia wants to build equal and good-neighborly
relations with Russia. So far, this policy is rather one-sided.
According to Russia’s conception of policy, there are two mutually exclusive tendencies in the development of the system of international relations. The first manifests itself in the strengthening of economic and political positions of a number of countries and integration-promoting bodies, also in development of multilateral steering mechanisms of international processes. Russia intends to support the formation of a paradigm of a multipolar world, based on the mentioned tendency. The second tendency, in Russia’s opinion, is manifested through attempts to establish a structure of international relations based on the domination of developed Western countries led by the United States and designed to solve key problems of international politics from the position of power, bypassing fundamental norms of international law. For Russia, the main threats in the international sphere are defined by the following factors: first, the desire of some countries and international organizations to suppress the role of existing mechanisms of international security, first of all the UN and the OSCE; second, the threat of the diminishing of Russia’s political, economic, and military influence in the world; third, the strengthening of military-political blocks and alliances, first of all NATO’s eastward expansion; fourth, the possibility of the emergence of foreign military bases and armed forces in Russia’s immediate vicinity; fifth, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and means of delivery; sixth, the weakening of the integration processes inside the CIS; seventh, emergence and escalation of conflicts close to the borders of the Russian Federation and outer boundaries of the CIS states; eighth, pretensions to territory of the Russian Federation. The Russian Federation declares that it treats attempts of other countries to withstand the strengthening of Russia as one of centers of multipolar world, to hinder it from realization of its national interests and weaken its position in Europe, the Middle East, the Trans-Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Asia-Pacific region, as threats to its national security.
Therefore, objectively, the interests of the Russian Federation and other countries coincide in many areas of international security, including non-proliferation, the prevention and resolution of regional conflicts, fighting international terrorism and drug-trafficking, and solving problems of ecology, including those of nuclear safety. Russia defines its national interests in the international sphere as safeguarding its sovereignty, bolstering Russia’s stance as one of the centers of gravity of multipolar world, developing equal and mutually beneficial relations with all countries and integration-promoting organizations.
Russia has declared, however, that attempts to ignore the interests of Russia while solving important problems of international relations, including conflict resolution, could damage international security and stability, and slow down ongoing positive changes in international relations. The foreign policy of the Russian Federation, therefore, must be aimed at safeguarding key multilateral steering mechanisms of global political and economic processes—first and foremost under the auspices of the Security Council of the UN. Also important is defending the legal rights and interests of the citizens of the Russian Federation abroad, including the application of political, economic, and other means. Moreover, the Russian Federation takes into consideration the application of all military means at its disposal, including nuclear weapons, to resist armed aggression, if other means of conflict resolution are exhausted or inefficient. [Ref.42]
The above-mentioned stance is thoroughly captured in the recent address of acting president of Russia, Vladimir Putin: “Russia was and will remain a great power. It is preconditioned by the inseparable characteristics of its geopolitical, economic, and cultural existence. These characteristics determined the mentality of Russians and the policy of the government throughout the history of Russia and they cannot but do so at present.” [Ref.43]
In brief, Russia’s perception of threats has three aspects. There is concern about its diminishing influence, territorial pretensions and attempts of other states to weaken its positions in Europe, the Middle East, the Trans-Caucasus, Central Asia, and Asia-Pacific. There is concern about the tendency to bypass the UN and the OCSE, NATO-centrism and a possible foreign military presence in the vicinity of Russia. And there are concerns about proliferation, regional conflicts, terrorism, drug trafficking, and environmental problems including nuclear safety.
Russia intends to cope with these risks on the one hand by bolstering
its stance as a global power, the defensive use of nuclear weapons, and
defending the legal rights of its citizens abroad by all means available;
and by facilitating the formation of a multipolar world and developing
equal and mutually beneficial relations with all countries.
Russia sees an increase in the level and scale of military threats. The new NATO doctrine of conducting operations outside its zone of responsibility and without sanction of the Security Council of the UN bears, in Russia’s estimation, risk of destabilization of the whole strategic situation in the world. [Ref.42] Reducing to the minimum the negative aftermath of the 1999 NATO enlargement for Russia remains an urgent task. Russia’s participation in the Permanent Joint Russia-NATO Council, which was instituted by the Founding Act in 1997, has not changed its negative stand with regard to NATO enlargement plans. Objecting to NATO-centrism in Europe, Russia proposes concentrating efforts on the creation of a new architecture of European security, with the OSCE playing the system-forming role in it. [Ref.44]
In brief, Russia is opposing NATO’s eastward enlargement, questioning
NATO’s new doctrine, objecting to NATO-centrism in Europe, and proposing
an OSCE-centered security architecture for Europe instead.
To an extent, Russia’s policy towards Europe could be found in words of President Yeltsin: “In the new century Europe is capable of playing a key role in ensuring human rights and becoming a proponent of the ideas of international security and non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states. I am convinced that these ideas can only be implemented on the basis of equal partnership, mutual trust and respect.” [Ref.45]
In brief, Russia seeks cooperation on the basis of EU-promoted values.
With regard to the policy of Russian Federation in the Baltic Sea region, some conclusions could be drawn from Russia’s national security concept. There are some general remarks about the need to develop mutually beneficial and neighborly relations, as well as to participate in integration-promoting bodies, and develop multilateral steering mechanisms. Concerning Russia’s border areas, however, the concept states that threats to national security and interests of the Russian Federation in border area are determined by economic, demographic, and cultural-religious expansion of bordering states to Russian territory. [Ref.42]
In brief, Russia seeks to develop equal and mutually beneficial relations,
supports multilateral steering mechanisms and participation in integration-promoting
bodies, while also perceiving threats from economic, demographic, and cultural-religious
expansion of neighboring states.
Comparing Estonian and Russian notions of risks, there are similarities in perception, underlining political and military instability, and regional conflicts as source of threat in Estonia’s and Russia’s policy documents. Besides, Russia’s risk assessment includes a set of the “soft security” risks like proliferation, terrorism, drug trafficking, and environmental problems which generate instability and, thus, are tacitly in line with Estonia’s concerns. However, the rest of Russia’s perceived risks could be reduced to one common denominator—decline of its might as a global power, thus giving solid ground for Estonia’s concern about imperial ambitions in its vicinity. In sum, although there is a common rhetoric employed in parts of the risk assessments of both countries, Russia’s overwhelming accent to its global influence justifies Estonia’s insecurity. The differences in perception of the sources of risk to national interests are obvious.
Concerning the policy fundamentals of Estonia and Russia, there is one common approach—developing equal and mutually beneficial relations with all countries. However, Estonia bases its policy on the conception of the indivisibility of security and seeks accession to NATO and the EU. Russia, in turn, stresses bolstering its stance as global power, promises to defend the rights of its citizens abroad by all available means, and does not exclude using nuclear weapons first. Hence, the premises for conflict are in place.
There is also a built-in conflict between the NATO policies of Estonia and Russia. The former seeks full membership through active participation in the PfP, learning from the accession experience of recent members, and comprehensive preparations at home, the latter objects to NATO-centrism in the building European security, proposing the OSCE-centrism instead. Russia opposes NATO’s eastward enlargement and questions NATO’s new doctrine. In this sphere there can be no common ground between Estonia and Russia.
The Russian EU policy is vaguely defined. In general, Russia does not seek the membership but it supports cooperation with the EU on the basis of values promoted by the latter. Since Estonia has applied for EU membership and shares the common European values, the respective policies of Estonia and Russia are not conflicting.
With regard to regional cooperation, Russia has not defined any specific policy towards the Baltic Sea region. In overall terms, Russia wants to develop equal and mutually beneficial relations and participate in integration-promoting bodies. Russia also supports the development of multilateral steering mechanisms. In this respect, Russia’s policy is in line with that of Estonia, which promotes broad cooperation in the frameworks of the CBSS and EU northern dimension, and explicitly supports engagement of Russia in collective work. However, Estonia’s defense-related cooperation aimed at NATO membership preparations would hardly coincide with Russia’s approach. Moreover, Russia defines economic, demographic, and cultural-religious expansion of neighboring states as a threat. Unfortunately, this definition could easily be applied to cross-border cooperation and direct contacts between foreign countries and regions of Russia, which leaves at least part of the designed cooperation policy dependent on Russia’s whim. In sum, there are both overlapping and conflicting elements of the regional cooperation policies of Estonia and Russia.
In general, then, in the examined sets of established policies there
are overlapping elements like concern about certain “soft security” issues,
good-neighborly relations, and desire to cooperate in the EU and regionally
established frameworks. However, there are sharply conflicting elements
like the approach to NATO and the perception of some categories of risks
The foreign and security policy of the Republic of Estonia is based on the premise that the security of all states is indivisible and that the security of no one state can be achieved at the expense of another state. In order to guarantee its own security, Estonia has opted for joining NATO and the European Union, the two organizations that have promoted stability and security in Europe for over half of a century. These policy fundamentals are further refined in the more specifically developed policies towards NATO, the EU, regional cooperation in the Baltic Sea area, and Russia. Extensive analysis of specific policies of Estonia and other countries in the region, and subsequent comparison of respective policies with those of Estonia suggests the following conclusions.
The assessment of risks employed by Estonia is generally in line with
the respective assessments of most of the countries in the Baltic Sea region.
Although differently phrased in different documents, the perception of
security risks is undoubtedly similar.
Elements of policy defined by Estonia as fundamentals are also identical or close to those employed by most of other countries in the region. It is correct to state, then, that Estonia’s fundamental elements of foreign and security policy are the same as any other Nordic country’s.
Estonia’s NATO policy is focused on meeting the now well known accession criteria. However, with the exception of Finland, there is no conflict between the NATO policy of Estonia and that of other countries in the region.
Estonia’s EU policy is also basically oriented towards conforming to the accession criteria. Of all policies examined, it is the most congruent with the respective policies of all other countries in the region.
The approach to regional cooperation as formulated in Estonia’s policy statements is well in line with approaches of most of the other countries in the region. Observed differences in regional cooperation policies of different countries reflect their different geo-political positions rather than substantial policy disagreements. Although not explicitly stressing it, Estonia shares the concern of Norway, Finland, Latvia, Poland, and Germany about the importance of the continuation of the US presence in Europe.
And last but not least comes Estonia’s policy towards Russia. Although aimed—along with the similar approach of Latvia—mainly to establish a solid basis for further development of bilateral relations, the policy is guided by the principles of good-neighborly relations and the desire to engage Russia further in European cooperation. The policies towards Russia of the rest of countries in the region are based on the same premises.
In general, then, one concludes that all areas of Estonia’s foreign
and security policy, defined in this study as key areas, are built on a
common understanding with most of the countries in the region and should
cause no political tensions.
Although Estonia’s foreign and security policy has succeeded, by and large, to fit into the overall security-political environment of the Baltic Sea region—carried by the spirit of cooperation—there are some areas of potential disagreements between Estonia and its partners in the region.
To begin with the less disturbing discrepancies, different expectations about the pace and possible consequences of NATO’s eastward enlargement could stir up some tensions between Estonia and Finland. For Estonia seeks full and unconditional membership the closest possible time-frame; Finland, however, although recognizing Estonia’s right to choose its security measures, is concerned about Russia’s reaction and its rising security problems.
Potentially more disturbing discrepancies are hidden in Estonia’s and Germany’s policies towards Russia. Germany has made clear that its interest is to maintain good relations with both the Baltic States and Russia. Hence, Germany’s eastern policy is, to an extent, guided by desire to avoid situation when it must “choose” between the Baltic States and Russia.
And finally, the most problematic sector of Estonia’s foreign and security policy—Russia. Discrepancies begin already in the level of risk assessment and continue through almost all policy components examined. Russia perceives any sign of the diminishing of its influence as a threat. Estonia considers imperial ambitions one of its paramount security concerns. Russia claims the role of a global power, using nuclear weapons if it considers this necessary. Estonia adheres to the principle of indivisibility of security. Russia strongly opposes NATO’s eastward enlargement. Estonia seeks full NATO membership. Russia perceives economic, demographic, and cultural-religious expansion of neighboring states as a threat. The very same description applies to a large extent to cross-border cooperation and cooperation with Russia’s regions, which is an important component of regional cooperation policy of every other examined country.
In sum, there are two relatively minor discrepancies between certain
policy elements of Estonia, Finland, and Germany. And there is large-scale
difference between the approaches of Estonia and Russia in almost every
aspect of foreign and security policy, with the exception of the EU policy
and some aspects of regional cooperation.
This study suggests Estonia’s foreign policy being consistent and in line with most of countries in the region. Thus, the foreign policy aimed at full integration into Euro-Atlantic security, political and economic structures, should be continued without any major change. Three potential areas of friction pointed out in this study should, nevertheless, be addressed.
First, while developing its NATO policy, Estonia should remember Finland’s concerns about new security problems possibly linked with NATO’s eastward enlargement, and try to address the issue before it becomes imminent. In other words, Estonia should equilibrate its pace of overall accommodation for NATO membership with realities of the security climate in the region, slowing down when necessary, or letting other countries take some steps first.
Second, while developing and implementing its policy towards Russia, Estonia should take into account Germany’s reluctance to face complications in the Estonia-Germany-Russia triangle. Hence, before taking steps that could push Germany to “choose,” it should be decided on a case-by-case basis if possible support from other countries will balance the possible loss of Germany’s support.
Third, given the extent of discrepancies between Estonia’s and Russia’s
approaches, it is most likely impossible to bridge existing gaps. However,
there are areas of common understanding available. Thus, Estonia should
continue pursuing the policy of “positive engagement” and employ all avenues
provided by multilaterally and regionally established frameworks. It is
crucial, however, that Estonia adhere to the formal measures of the diplomatic
protocol in order to undercut Russia’s intention to treat Estonia as a
kind of “semi-state” or “rebellious province” whose independence could
be only temporary. Any substantial warming in bilateral relations of Estonia
and Russia beyond the formal framework could take place only if the latter
shows the sincere will to build the relations on mutual respect, and the
principles of equality and non-interference.
1. Federal Ministry of Defense. White Paper 1994. The Security of the Federal republic of Germany and the Bundeswehr Now and in the Years Ahead. Abridged Version. Bonn, Federal Ministry of Defense, 1994.
3. CAPT (N) Witthauer, Hans-Jochen. Naval Staff, Federal Ministry of Defense, ”Military Cooperation and its Prospects in the Baltic Sea Region,” lecture on the Seminar at the National Defense College, Helsinki, 12-13 March 1997.
4. Ilves, T.H. “The Estonian Perspective on the EU and NATO Enlargement,” remarks by the Minister of Foreign Affairs at the Conference “German and American Policies towards the Baltic States. The Perspectives of EU and NATO Enlargement,” Bonn, 7 May 1999. [http://www.vm.ee/eng/pressreleases/speeches/1999/0507bonn.htm]
5. Ilves, T.H. “Estonia’s Main Foreign Policy Priorities.” Address by the Minister of Foreign Affairs on behalf of the Government to the Riigikogu (Parliament), June 1999. [http://www.vm.ee/eng/pressreleases/speeches/1999/06riigikogu.htm]
10. Publications of Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Security in a Changing World: Guidelines for Finland’s Security Policy. Report by the Council of State to the Parliament 6 June 1995.” [http://virtual.finland.fi/finfo/english/tpseng.html]
15. Ministry of Defense. “With the Norwegian Armed Forces into Year 2000. A Summary of White Paper No.22 to the Storting (1997-98), ‘Principal Guidelines for the Development and Activities of the Armed Forces for the period 1999-2002’,” Oslo, 1998.
17. Fjærvoll, Dag Jostein. ”Defense at the Crossroads on the Threshold of a New Century,” address of the Minister of Defense at Oslo Military Society, 4 January 1999. [http://www.odin.dep.no/fd/taler/990104e.html]
18. Vollebæk, Knut. ”Europe’s Security and Defense in the Light of the Entry into Force of the Amsterdam Treaty and of the Washington Summit,” statement of the Foreign Minister at WEU Council of Ministers, Bremen, 10 May 1999. [http://www.odin.dep.no/ud/taler/1999/u9905102.html]
19. Vollebæk, Knut. ”The Transformation of European Security - New Challenges for Norway,” address of the Foreign Minister at Oslo Military Society. [http://www.odin.dep.no/ud/taler/1998/u981109e.html]
21. Rasmussen, Poul Nyrup. ”The 21st Century – Political Will on the International Stage.” Opening address by Prime Minister to the Parliament, 5 October 1999. [http://www.um.dk/english/nyt/openingstatement]
24. Rasmussen, Poul Nyrup. Opening Statement by Prime Minister to the Folketing (Parliament), 25 March 1999. English translation of the foreign policy section. [http://www.um.dk/english/nyt/aabningstale]
36. Serksnys, Gediminas. “Lithuanian Perspective of European and Euro-Atlantic Integration,” presentation by Vice-minister of Foreign Affairs at the conference “German and American Policies towards the Baltic States. The Perspectives of EU and NATO Enlargement,” Bonn, 7 May 1999. [http://www.urm.lt/nato/0507se.htm]
41. Berzins, Indulis. “Regional Security in the New Europe: the Impact of Kosovo and the Enlargement of European Institutions.” Address of the Foreign Minister at the 4th Annual Stockholm Conference on Baltic Sea Region Security and Cooperation, 4 November 1999. [http://www.mfa.gov.lv/eng/NEWS/SPEECHES/IB/ib991104.htm]