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  • Author: Viljar Veebel x
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Abstract

After the establishment of the Schengen area, it was expected that its members would develop a common policy on external border management and protecting external borders. As the current refugee crisis has revealed, some countries have not met their obligations, which has led to serious difficulties in other member states. An unusually large number of refugees are passing through the EU with the purpose of going to countries that attract refugees with better economic and social conditions. Nevertheless, in the present case the criticism at the European Union level has been targeted towards the Eastern European countries for not eagerly enough accepting the proposed refugee strategy and quotas. Estonia’s opposition to the EU-wide permanent relocation system of refugees has its roots in the conservative line that the country has followed in the national refugee policy for more than twenty years. However in 2016 the positions among the Estonian governmental coalition differ significantly in terms of long term refugee strategy. The current article will focus on the arguments why Estonia has opted for the conservative refugee policy so far and whether it has been in accordance with the country’s capabilities and resources. The development of Estonian refugee policy will be analysed, from regaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 to the present day. The article will also focus on security risks that might occur due to the pressure from the EU on the member states to impose decisions that do not have broad support at the national level.

Abstract

The article aims to provide an insight into academic and military studies that investigate security challenges in the Baltic region after the annexation of Crimea. To do this in a systematic way, numerous academic and military studies and analyses in this field are divided into six broad categories: literature on conventional threat scenarios in the Baltic region; studies on nuclear escalation scenarios; publications that describe Russian viewpoints in the current confrontation with the West; studies that discuss security policy and security perceptions of the Baltic countries and the national security models of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania; studies on anti-access and area denial; and articles that analyse the dilemmas and challenges in association with understanding the essence of deterrence in the context of modern hybrid warfare and the build-up of a viable deterrence model in the Baltic region. In total, about 40 publications from the period between 2014 and 2019 are represented in this article. While some studies are already well known, others have undeservedly remained somewhat overlooked. This article attempts to correct this by highlighting and comparing the results of the most interesting and intriguing studies in this field. Through this, the author strived to maintain a balance between studies conducted both by military experts and by academics.

Abstract

The current study focuses on the Estonian perceptions of security and on the defence situation both globally and locally. The dynamic results of the public opinion surveys on security risks conducted in Estonia over the last 10 years (2006-2016) will be presented. In addition, to understand whether some of the security risks could be over- or underestimated in Estonia, these results will be compared with the views expressed recently by the World Economic Forum, particularly the Global Risks Report 2016. Also, the arguments why some topics have played or are currently playing key role in the Estonian security perception will be presented and discussed.

Abstract

This study aimed to offer an in-depth insight into intellectual dilemmas associated with a comprehensive approach to national defence using Estonia as an example to demonstrate that comprehensive approach in itself may not be enough to feel safe and secure. The authors focused on two specific theoretical questions. First, how security threats are determined in Estonia, including the impact of such a phenomenon as macro-securitization? Second, how various levels of comprehensive approach relate to each other in the way that a shared security culture will be created? In this way, the aim of this article was not only to shake the foundations of national defence in Estonia but also to contribute to the improvement of the current model to ensure that it actually works in practice.

Abstract

The current study discusses differences between Russia and the Baltic States in terms of their strategic narratives, as well as how they interpret key terms and concepts in the field of security. To frame the scope of the study, the strategic narrative of Russia for the Baltic countries and the Baltic strategic narrative(s) for Russia are compared and analysed. Both sides are also locked within the bigger framework of European Union’s economic sanctions against Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance’s deterrence concept. On the other hand, the Baltic States and Russia have a lot to gain from possible improvements in economic relations and reduction of regional security tensions.

Abstract

The financial crisis in the Eurozone is combining several new interdisciplinary debates. Has the financial crisis been caused by the decisions of the political actors or rather by complicated economic dilemmas? In what way have different social stakeholders acted during the years of the crisis and which of the groups have had the biggest influence in different stages of the crisis? Why and how national political elites have lost their dominant position in the crisis management, which have been the cornerstones of this power transition process and what role have the supranational institutions such as the European Commission and the European Central Bank played during the crisis? Accordingly, the main goal of the article is to define the crucial events and stakeholders in the Eurozone crisis solution process by using empirical process tracing and narrative analysis as the research methods. It will also inquire into how and why national political elites and citizens delegated their democratic competences and powers to non-electable institutions during the Eurozone crisis.

Abstract

While potential threats from Russia and NATO collective defence commitments are similar for Latvia and Estonia, both countries have adopted different approaches in the balancing exercise between territorial defence and military solidarity. Notwithstanding their differences, both are by their nature fully non-aggressive – without room for pre-emptive initiatives, extra territoriality or asymmetrical tools. Given that in a case of a hypothetical large-scale conventional attack both countries would almost entirely have to rest on the allies, external military solidarity is essential. Until the Ukraine crisis, both offered more military solidarity towards their NATO allies than the latter offered to them. As the result of the Ukrainian crisis, allies became more military-solidary with the Baltic nations, especially having established the Enhanced Forward Presence, while Estonian and especially Latvian contributions to international missions and operations dropped. Therefore, it is suggested that both countries increase their efforts to the allied international endeavours.

Abstract

During last two decades the European Union as “normative power Europe” has been associated with the export of certain universal norms, rules and practices to the other countries. Rule of law, democracy, strong commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms, and social justice — these principles form the core of the identity of the European Union. Relying on shared political, economic and cultural ties among member states, the EU has sought to promote these norms also in the neighbouring countries, including Russia. However, the outbreak of the violent conflict between Russia and Ukraine at the end of 2013 clearly demonstrates that the EU has failed in its efforts in Russia despite extensive mutual relations and comprehensive financial support provided by the EU. The aim of the current article is to analyse how consistent the EU has been in defending and promoting European values and norms in the international arena and with Russia during the Ukrainian-Russian conflict.

Abstract

This article analyzes and discusses the objectives of the sanctions implemented by the European Union against Russia and Russian countermeasures against EU member states in 2014-2015, by comparing the official aims with the options expressed in theoretical debates and experiences gained from historical lessons. In principle, the study seeks an answer to the question: what could be realistically achieved as a result of the current form of restricted sanctions and what stays beyond their reach. Methodologically, this article focuses on the evaluation of the ability of theoretical models to explain the logic of anti-Russian sanctions and debates the options of the outcomes of current formation of sanctions in light of theoretical models.

Abstract

Defence policy and related activities, such as territorial defence and comprehensive defence, are considered a matter of national priority and consensus in Estonia since its restoration of independence in 1991. The actual meaning and its content have depended on numerous linguistic and cultural factors. Educational traditions and alliance relations have played an important role as well. In some cases, changes in actual defence policy content first required an ability to change military terminology and outlook. The current study analyses the meaning of territorial defence, comprehensive defence and total defence in official documents and based on focus group interviews among officers of BDCOL and EMA.