No. 14




The Problem of Cyprus and the Estonian-Russian Border Treaty on the Background of EU Accession

18 December 2006


RiTo No. 14, 2006

The debate over Estonia’s eastern border – in particular the possibility and need to encode it in legislation, based on the existing de facto boundary line – has lasted for practically the entire period of the regained independence among both politicians and the public, including the media.

One of the primary arguments of those who favour the pragmatic approach – to put into legislation the boundary line which currently serves as the border – was the need to be acceptable and “street legal” in the eyes of the EU and NATO: without the eastern border enacted in legislation, neither organization, it was argued, would want Estonia among its members (so too in the case of other states, including Latvia). At the same time, in this debate it seems to have been inadvertently or intentionally overlooked that along with Estonia, Cyprus also joined the EU in 2004, and that country has been split between two communities for over 30 years with barely two-thirds of its territory under the control of an internationally recognized government. An analysis of the similarities and differences of the situations of these two countries should offer a good deal of food for thought for policy planners and sociologists, both in the vein of historical assessment and shaping future strategies. Among other things, the example of Cyprus is important to remember and if necessary to bring to the fore in the case of Georgia and Moldova with their similar pasts. Both of them have their hands full with ethnic and territorial conflicts incited from abroad, which curb their decisive break with Russia’s sphere of influence and integration with Western structures.

Full article in Estonian