Dream of the century fulfilled
Even though Estonia’s priority since independence was joining Euro-Atlantic structures, the West was fairly reticent about the idea in the very beginning.
Estonia made great efforts in building a democratic society and rapidly earned the respect of others. Estonians’ unwavering desire and readiness to take risks could be a positive example for the inhabitants of Germany and other Western European states who do not want to go along with necessary reforms. Now Estonia is in the European Union, together with seven other former communist countries, thus fulfilling the dream of the century. It is very important for the European Union to continue vertical integration, based around the constitutional agreement, along with expansion. The EU must become more and more unanimous, especially where a unified foreign policy and security policy are concerned and in the framework of a united European security and defense policy. New member states need not fear damaging good relations with the US, since the US also wants a partnership that is not founded on mere obeisance but seeing eye to eye. In connection with the shifting of the EU’s border eastward, a new Eastern policy must be verbalized, a process in which Estonia with its experience dealing with Russia could participate. The goal is active and good-neighborly relations with Russia and the Ukraine. It is important for the external border not to be a wall but a fence to be mended together. Germany has similar experience from its border with Poland on how cross-border cooperation is possible alongside security and inspection procedures. Even though Germany and especially the former East Germany have reservations regarding expansion, the positive aspects are definitely weightier. The export-oriented German economy is winning new markets, environmental indicators are improving, the battle against cross-border crime is becoming more effective and thanks to the geographical proximity of new member states, Germans have better travel opportunities. With expansion, Germany moved from the periphery of the EU to the center and has a special interest in seeing expansion succeed. The big job of growing closer together still lies ahead, though.