The European Union´s role in promoting democratic political reform in central and Eastern European countries in the 1990s, and Balkans, just as many people in the transition and post-communist societies saw democratization as an aid to recovering national independence, freedom both from authoritarian rule and from political domination by the Soviet Union.
EU has been a critical security provider, ensuring, for example, Central Europe’s integration into the “West” after the end of the Cold War. The new European democracies that have emerged from the ruins of the Communist world are, one by one, seeking membership in the European Union. Some have joined, others have a chance of joining it sooner or may become ready later on, but the process is bound to be long and arduous for all of them.
Democracy is once again proving to be the best, most stable way of dealing with political challenges. And yet, at the same time democracy, more than any other system, demands statesmanship and courageous leadership. The EU has also had a strong dynamic of its own, with increase in membership potentially helping the institution to become a more powerful actor in world affairs in its own rights. Democracy promotion in nearby states has served this objective.
Overall, the European continent has become more prosperous and secure – even if imperfections subsist here and there. The EU’s enlargement policy has not ended, and it continues to leverage a positive conditionality on candidate countries.
Joint democracy inhibits some dyads from acting on the aggression endemic to international interaction.
When the totalitarian systems collapsed in Central and Eastern Europe and democracy prevailed in that territory, and when, as a result of this, the Iron Curtain, which used to cut Europe in half, collapsed as well, everything seemed quite clearcut and Soviet Union, would dismantle itself in a peaceful fashion.
With Russian aggression, it is difficult not to notice that something has changed to the east of the borders of NATO Allies and Partners.
A few years ago, it was Georgia; now, it is Ukraine, with a special focus on Crimea, that again, they’re having to do with the aggression with the use of armed forces against one’s neighbor. We all know to what ends such practices usually lead. Today, this is primarily a question of Ukraine. In addition to its impact on the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, the annexation of Crimea could have grave implications for the legal order that protects the unity and sovereignty of all states. Ultimately, in the longer term, it could of course also be other countries.
The European Union continues to support Ukraine in the process of reform to deliver a stable, prosperous and democratic future for its citizens .Deep and comprehensive economic reforms linked with deep and comprehensive free trade with EU gives Ukraine historic chance for a new start.
The developments in and around Ukraine are seen to constitute a threat to neighboring Allied countries and having direct and serious implications for the security and stability of the Euro-Atlantic area.
“We live in a different world than we did less than a month ago,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a Brookings Institution forum back in March. “Russia’s military aggression in Ukraine is in blatant breach of its international commitments and it is a violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. This is a wake up call for the Euro-Atlantic community, for NATO, and for all those committed to a Europe whole, free and at peace.”
NATO offered an umbrella of reassurance in which Western Europeans could build what has become the European Union. Since the Cold War, NATO has provided a framework in which new democracies emerging from the Soviet fold could find the security they required to develop their own societies and integrate more fully into the European mainstream. It has also dealt with a range of unanticipated crises and threats, including in the Balkans, in Afghanistan, and in Libya.
The United States will work with our European allies to uphold the global order. 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. US president Obama in Poland, renews commitment to the defense and security of Europe and proposed as much as $1 billion in additional spending.
US President Barack Obama in Polan today, said he expects Russia to undertake several actions to de-escalate the situation in eastern Ukraine. Russia has a responsibility to engage constructively with the Ukrainian government in Kiev to prevent the flow of militants and weapons into eastern Ukraine,” President Obama said.
Countries that have joined the EU have developed positively, economically and politically. Economic performance can also determine democratization outcomes. Sustained economic growth has long been viewed as a democratic stimulus, while low levels of economic development and the absence of a middle class, for example, have long been viewed as impediments to democratization.
The countries represented here have all undertaken hard reforms, have built democratic institutions, have delivered greater prosperity for their citizens, and underlying this progress is the security guarantee that comes from NATO membership.
We’re here today because as NATO allies we have to stand absolutely united in our Article 5 commitments to collective defense. We stand together always. Remarks by President Obama.
For democracy is more than just elections. True democracy, real prosperity, lasting security — these are neither simply given, nor imposed from the outside. They must be earned and built from within. And in that age-old contest of ideas — between freedom and authoritarianism, between liberty and oppression, between solidarity and intolerance —
Poland’s progress shows the enduring strength of the ideals that we cherish as a free people. Here we see the strength of democracy: Citizens raising their voices, free from fear. Here we see political parties competing in open and honest elections. Here we see an independent judiciary working to uphold the rule of law. Remarks by President Obama at at 25th Anniversary of Freedom Day — Warsaw, Poland
Poland is showing good resilience to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. GDP continuous to increase by 2.7% 2014 and 3.4 % 2015. Russia and China may be united by distrust of the United States, but they still remain wary of each other. The two will always lack the legitimacy and the international institutions that global order was built around – The UN, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, WTO, OSCE and Nato, established after World War II, dedicated to international cooperation.
ECFR essay collection Pyotr Stegny points out that Russia is unhappy that the values that won the Cold War – democracy, human rights, and the market economy – began to be seen by the West “not only as a prerequisite for sustainable development […], but also as a regulator and criterion for progress.” Russia had failed to impose its own terms on the West but was unwilling to join either European or Euro-Atlantic integration on Western terms.
NATO is before all else an instrument for the protection of freedom and of the values of Western civilization. An instrument for the defence of the Euro-American political and cultural realm, principal guarantor of security, peace and democratic development in Europe and its values against any possible threat, no matter where it might come from.
We are living in a remarkable time – a time that tests our ability to deal with a wide range of new threats to humanity, threats bearing not only on our security, but also on our environment, and generally on our civilization. This is a major challenge, imposing great demands not only on the new NATO members and on the Alliance as a whole, but on the entire human race. The global protection of human rights and the maintenance of world peace are the most important tasks.
The international political context can also greatly influence democratization, as democratic norms are exported abroad, and one country´s citizens learn that it is possible to democratize similarly repressive regimes. Europeans and Americans are cooperating to tackle key foreign policy challenges. This applies—to name just a few examples— to the situation – around Ukraine, in Syria and the changes sweeping the Arab world, the Middle East peace process, Afghanistan, the geopolitical tensions between China and Japan, Iran’s nuclear program, the promotion of democracy and stability in Mali, as well as to the fight against terrorism and piracy.” In the Pacific, China’s rising assertiveness, unresolved territorial issues, and a host of unsettled relationships and regional challenges have drawn many treaty allies closer to the US in recent years.
Russia’s dominance in the European market for natural gas also creates clear trade ties with EU countries. Dependence on Russian gas is an important channel through which the Russia-Ukraine conflict risks having an impact on Europe. The United States will be exporting more natural gas to the global market in the years to come and there are steps that United States and Europe can take together to reduce energy risks, upgrade energy infrastructure and improve efficiency. “I expect that we’ll also have an opportunity to discuss how Europe, especially Central and Eastern Europe, can continue to diversify its energy sources”, said Obama.
In the years ahead discussions will also focus on improving the European security system. Overlapping with Obama’s trip, NATO also held its final defense ministerial meeting before the Wales Summit in September. This ministerial was a last chance for NATO’s defense ministers to discuss themes for the upcoming summit. A number of member states have already announced they will increase defense expenditure – Sweden, particularly the Baltic States, Romania, and Poland. Sweden will increase defence spending in coming years with more than 10 percent.
The larger, richer countries further away from Moscow are being a lot more coy: last year, Germany, France, Italy, and Turkey failed to reach the NATO-agreed two percent of GDP on defense. Even debt-ridden Greece decided to invest 2.3 percent in defense. Germany owes its economic prosperity to international trade and should thus make a greater contribution to world peace and global security. In spite of all the cuts, the 28 EU member states together still spend €160 billion on defence per year. Europe should indeed not let that total amount drop any further. The Ukraine crisis has the potential to stabilise European defence spending. The safety of the world, requires a new unity in Europe, from which no nation should be permanently outcast.
Ajoint U.S.-EU stance has the greatest prospect of countering Russian actions. U.S. commitment, to the defense of the new democracies in Eastern Europe on increased military exercises in Eastern Europe, is also welcome decision. President Obama wants to demonstrate that NATO’s Article 5 is for real. A billion dollars to temporarily deploy additional American troops to Eastern Europe, organise military exercises, and train with allies and partners.
President Obama announced this ‘European Reassurance Initiative’ in Warsaw, just before travelling to Brussels for the G7 meeting that replaced the planned G8 meeting in Russia (4-5 June 2014) and D-Day commemoration of Normandy landings as the central act of the 20the century and what Churchill called “the most difficult and complicated operation that has ever taken place.
The story of D-Day is as much about years of diplomatic skirmishing among Churchill, Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin as it is about the landings on the beaches where on june 6 2014 President Obama and other world leaders journey, to France, to commemorate the occasion on the 70th anniversary of D-Day, when the U.S.-led Allied armada crossed the English Channel to launch an offensive that would help lead to the defeat of the Third Reich.
- By the end of that longest day, this beach had been fought, lost, re-fought, and won, a piece of Europe once again liberated and free. We worked to turn old adversaries into new allies. We built new prosperity. We stood once more with the people of this continent through a long twilight struggle until finally, a wall tumbled down, and an Iron Curtain, too. From Western Europe to East, from South America to Southeast Asia, 70 years of democratic movements spread. And nations that once knew only the blinders of fear began to taste the blessings of freedom.”
“None of that would have happened without the men who were willing to lay down their lives for people they’d never met and ideals they couldn’t live without.
“None of it would have happened without the troops President Roosevelt called “the life-blood of America, the hope of the world.”
These men waged war so that we might know peace. They sacrificed so that we might be free. They fought in hopes of a day when we’d no longer need to fight. We are grateful to them.
“We say it now as if it couldn’t be any other way, but in the annals of history, the world had never seen anything like it. And when the war was won, we claimed no spoils of victory. We helped Europe rebuild. We claimed no land other than the earth where we bury those who gave their lives under our flag and where we station those who still serve under it”.