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This year marks multiple anniversaries of crucial importance to the transatlantic community, including the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the 15th anniversary of NATO’s first post-Cold War enlargement, the tenth anniversary of the transformative EU accession that for the first time included former communist countries from Central and Eastern Europe and the 10th anniversary of the “big bang” enlargements of both the European Union and NATO. 2014 will also mark the centenary of World War I.

At the end of World War II, In one of the most famous orations of the Cold War period, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill condemns the Soviet Union’s policies in Europe and declares, “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent.” Churchill’s speech is considered one of the opening volleys announcing the beginning of the Cold War.

in the worlds of Winston Churchill,  “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the Winston Churchill Warns of Soviet “Iron Curtain March 5, 1946capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in some cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow.

We cannot be blind to the fact that the liberties enjoyed by individual citizens throughout the United States and throughout the British Empire are not valid in a considerable number of countries, some of which are very powerful. In these States control is enforced upon the common people by various kinds of all-embracing police governments to a degree which is overwhelming and contrary to every principle of democracy.

The power of the State is exercised without restraint, either by dictators or by compact oligarchies operating through a privileged party and a political police. It is not our duty at this time when difficulties are so numerous to interfere forcibly in the internal affairs of countries which we have not conquered in war. but we must never cease to proclaim in fearless tones the great principles of freedom and the rights of man which are the joint inheritance of the English-speaking world and which through Magna Carta, the Bill of rights, the Habeas Corpus, trial by jury, and the English common law find their most famous expression in the American Declaration of Independence.

All this means that the people of any country have the right, and should have the power by constitutional action, by free unfettered elections, with secret ballot, to choose or change the character or form of government under which they dwell; that freedom of speech and thought should reign; that courts of justice, independent of the executive, unbiased by any party, should administer laws which have received the broad assent of large majorities or are consecrated by time and custom. Here are the title deeds of freedom which should lie in every cottage home. Here is the message of the British and American peoples to mankind.

…The safety of the world, ladies and gentlemen, requires a new unity in Europe, from which no nation should be permanently outcast…In front of the iron curtain which lies across Europe are other causes for anxiety. , (the Iron Curtain Speech), at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri on March 5, 1946.

Our American military colleagues, after having proclaimed their “over-all strategic concept” and computed available resources, always proceed to the next step — namely, the method. Here again there is widespread agreement. A world organization has already been erected for the prime purpose of preventing war. UNO, the successor of the League of Nations, with the decisive addition of the United States and all that that means, is already at work.

We must make sure that its work is fruitful, that it is a reality and not a sham, that it is a force for action, and not merely a frothing of words, that it is a true temple of peace in which the shields of many nations can some day be hung up, and not merely a cockpit in a Tower of Babel.

Before we cast away the solid assurances of national armaments for self-preservation we must be certain that our temple is built, not upon shifting sands or quagmires, but upon a rock. Anyone can see with his eyes open that our path will be difficult and also long, but if we persevere together as we did in the two world wars — though not, alas, in the interval between them — I cannot doubt that we shall achieve our common purpose in the end.

Split often along the lines of their country´s membership of the Warsaw Pact or NATO, one of the Cold War´s hottest fronts is along this frontier. Since the Cold War in 1980,, much has changed. The Iron Curtain that once divided Europe was replaced by an open door. On 2 May 1989 Hungary removes its border fence with Austria. In November same year the Berlin Wall falls and Germany begins its reunification process, which is achieved in 1990. East Germans are the first populace to join the EU after living under a pro-Soviet regime.

In June 1993, the Copenhagen European Council recognised the right of the countries of central and eastern Europe to join the European Union when they have fulfilled three criteria:

criteria defining a country´s eligibility to join the EU. Known as the “Copenhagen criteria”, they establish that candidate countries shall be governed by “institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights, respect for and protection of minorities, the existence of a functioning market economy as well as the capacity to cope with competitive pressure and market forces within the Union”.

NATO grew from fifteen allies in 1980 to an ever strengthened and more inclusive alliance of twenty-eight countries. During the same period, the size of the European Community tripled. On May 1, 2004, the EU grew from 15 to 25 Member States( now 28). Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, NATO has extended its membership to nations once dominated by the Soviet Union, including the Baltics, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania and Slovenia. Georgia, a former Soviet republic that fought a five-day war with Russia in 2008 over breakaway regions, is seeking fast-track NATO membership as a result of the Ukraine crisis.

Latvia’s Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma said her nation is ’’deeply grateful’’ for the security provided by the U.S. and NATO, adding that she considers it “highly unlikely” that Russia would attack the Baltic nations protected by the Atlantic alliance.

Since the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet empire, we have tried to build a new peace and security order in Europe. The building blocks have been placed one after the other to make it as solid as possible. It has been important to take certain basic principles as a starting point, and ensure that they are accepted by all states and actors. One of these principles is accepting and respecting the borders between states in Europe.

Europe having been at the heart of two world wars and one cold war in the twentieth century alone. The political vlues on which this stability in Europe has been constructed are for Europe to demonstrate and to share, not by exporting democracy aggressively but by engaging in processes for stability and peace defined by partnership and ideological suasion. In a globalised, interconnected world, the EU is stronger when it works together.

The EU have created the new European External Action Service from scratch and embedded it in a more global approach of conducting international affairs.

The EU may be an island of peace, but it certainly lies in an ocean of instability. Waves of this instability regularly hit the European shores, in the South and in the East. Europe’s near and distant peripheries are still fragile. Security has also a major domestic dimension. As a result, Europe is peaceful but not necessarily safe.

In the 2010 Internal Security Strategy (ISS), which was designed as the internal counterpart to the ESS, the EU identifies a series of internal security challenges. These challenges are not completely disconnected from the external ones, given that ‘internal security cannot be achieved in isolation from the rest of the world, and it is therefore important to ensure coherence and complementarity between the internal and external aspects of EU security.

When it comes to the capabilities which European interventions require, the current crisis will hopefully create a sense of urgency in the implementation of the European Council conclusions on defence of December 2013. Most European citizens agree with the security priorities identified by the EU. Indeed, according to a Eurobarometer, Europeans identify terrorism and organised crime as two of their top concerns. Cybersecurity, nuclear disasters and environmental degradation are also perceived as security challenges to a lesser extent – though cyber-crime is seen as an emerging challenge, likely to increase in the medium term.

The NATO Defence Planning Process (NDPP) could incorporate these collective European initiatives, including the contributions from non-NATO EU Member States.

Because of the crisis, of its three core tasks of collective defence, expeditionary crisis management, and cooperative security and partnerships, NATO will again put more emphasis on the first. Defence of the alliance’s territory and the security guarantee offered by Article 5 will be the main focus of the NATO apparatus for some time to come. That does not mean that NATO will no longer do crisis management, but as a consequence in many future non-Article 5 contingencies theThe European Union (EU) may be the institution that will be called upon to take the lead, as it is doing already in its broader southern neighbourhood. Therefore NATO must be able to offer the EU reliable support in terms of command and control.

As 2014 marks a year of notable commemorations for Europe, the Union that rose from the ashes of World War II is at a particularly pivotal juncture. The crisis in Ukraine is calling into question the very principles upon which we have built the modern Two day conference advancing the legacy of a Europe Whole and Free. anniversaries of their historic enlargements, in Washington, DC on April 29-30Europe. Russia’s actions in Crimea are a violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.

They undermine the rule of international law. And they flout the principle that every state is sovereign, and free to choose its own fate. That is the principle which allowed us to heal the divisions imposed by tyranny after World War Two, and to move ever closer to a Europe which is whole, free and at peace.

”The right to choose” Article by the NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, on enlargement anniversaries.

The Atlantic Council is organizing a special tribute to NATO and the European Union on the anniversaries of their historic enlargements, in Washington, DC on April 29-30. The Atlantic Council will convene leaders from across North America and Europe for a major two-day conference advancing the legacy of a “Europe Whole and Free.

The Council’s conference aims to showcase Europe’s transformation validating these historic decisions, facilitate discussions on how membership in NATO and the EU has positioned the region for the future, and address the remaining challenges of achieving a Europe whole and free.

Since the Ukraine crisis began, the United States, in the context of the alliance, has sent more F-16 fighters to Poland and F-15 fighters to the Baltics. It has begun Airborne Warning and Control System, or Awacs, flights over the Polish and Romanian borders, and has ordered more exercises with warships in the Black Sea. The region is home to two of NATO’s most pro-active members Norway and Denmark as well as two of the Alliance’s most eager partners Sweden and Finland.

The move by the U.S. is in direct relation to the destabilization of Ukraine. The U.S. has been on a campaign to reassure allies in the region of the U.S. commitment to the region. U.S. ships have patrolled the Black Sea and Vice President Joe Biden has made several diplomatic visits to Eastern Europe.

Those allies that joined NATO in the last two decades did so fundamentally because they wanted to be under the security blanket provided by the United States and NATO, and the events of the last weeks remind them that that’s a good thing. NATO is committed to Western Balkans stability and security and to Euro-Atlantic integration nations aspiring to join our Alliance, say NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

The political, economic and military bonds between Europe and North America remain as important as ever in the defence of our common values shared by the United States and Europe, And we agree that this is an opportunity to make Europe stronger. We have collective responsibility to defend what we have worked so hard to build over the last 70 years.

As the United States and its European allies grapple with Russia’s seizure of Crimea and its backing for violent attacks in eastern Ukrainian cities, “we have a lot of work cut out for us in the very near term,” U.S. Vice President Biden told an audience of European government ministers, diplomats, and US and European policy specialists. His address was the closing event in a two-day conference at the Council on a transatlantic effort to build the undivided and free Europe envisioned by Western policymakers following the end of World War II.

The conference marked a decade since the broadest expansions of NATO and the European Union in their histories, as Central and Eastern European states became members in the years after the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.

“What Russia has done violates not just Ukrainian sovereignty, but the fundamental principle that European borders cannot, will not be changed through political intimidation or military force. And we have to be resolute in imposing costs” on Russia, Biden said.

President Obama to Visit Europe Amid Russia Crisis, Biden announced. President Barack Obama will visit Poland in June for the 25th anniversary of the free elections that marked that country’s exit from its era of communist rule under Soviet domination, Vice President Joe Biden said at the Atlantic Council today.

Obama’s visit to Poland comes as the US administration seeks to bolster Eastern European allies amid the transatlantic community’s confrontation with Russia over its attacks on Ukraine.

The United States and Europe also must help Ukraine accomplish reforms that can help meet the aspirations of its 46 million people, unfulfilled after more than two decades of independence, Biden said. The hope of Ukrainians “has not been realized, in significant part because of corruption. … This needs to be a government that exists to serve the people and not enrich the powerful.”

To strengthen Europe politically and economically, Biden called on US and European leaders to work toward a continent-wide energy market, notably for natural gas, that can be less dependent on Russia’s gas and oil supplies. And he urged completion of the agreement now under negotiation among North American and European governments to deepen economic, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

Speaking at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. 30 April 2014, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso stressed that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) should become the economic pillar of the EU-U.S. alliance, and “should be our joint attempt to shape a fast changing world and to set the standards of the future.” He also emphasized that Europe and the United States should never lose sight of the agreement’s important strategic dimension throughout the negotiating process.

Noting the 10th anniversary of the largest ever wave of enlargement of the European Union, President Barroso said the expansion of the Union had improved European security and made Europe stronger.

The EU-US trade negotiations are a game changer and can be the start of a new era. Trade liberalisation needs global political engagement, and with this effort both the European Union and the United States have given a clear and constructive signal. Together, EU-US share a world view based on democracy, human rights and the rule of law. We share an engagement and the ambition to cooperate across borders, to think and act multilaterally, to look for global solutions to global problems. We can only support and advance that world view if we are consistent and bold in applying it, even in times of Ukraine crisis.