The role of the Baltic States, Poland and Hungary in the new Europe
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: The changing faces of federalism. Institutional reconfiguration in Europe from East to West.
Dokumenttyp: Del av eller Kapitel i bok
Förlag: Manchester University Press
The Soviet era had come to an end and by 2002 a new idea of Europe was emerging which would see the enlargement of the European Union. The period called ‘transition’ was relegated to history. It denoted the transition of the Baltic and Central European states from the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet bloc to NATO and the European Union. Originally, transition was a concept used only to denote that the former communist states were on the track towards establishment of a market economy, democracy – or democratisation – and the Rechtsstaat. The latter concept with its special connotation in German, was translated into English as “the legal state” or “a state of law.” The transition period had lasted from early 1989, when the Round Table talks between the government and the opposition started in Poland, soon to be followed by a similar process in Hungary, to late 2002, when the European Union decided to offer the Baltic and Central European states full membership in the Union. Poland and Hungary have emerged as NATO’s and the EU’s frontier states in the east. This means that political stability in Europe will depend on how these two states arrange their relations with their neighbors to the east and south. It is noteworthy that Poland has a tradition of federative statehood whereas Hungary traditionally has been a rather centralized and Magyarizing power. Neither Poland nor Hungary could be suspected of harboring expansionist and aggressive goals. On the contrary, they will try to emulate West Germany´s successful Ostpolitik. They will become main actors in the coming Osterweiterung of the federated Europe, of the EU. It is of interest to note that Poland’s president Kwasniewski in a conference on the Eastern enlargement of the EU in Warsaw in the early spring of 2003 argued that Poland would play a significant role in creating the new Ostpolitik of the European Union.
- Czech Republic
- Visegrád four
- European Union
- Baltic States
- Central Europe