The Consequences of NATO and EU Enlargement for Three Regions
erschienen in der Publikation "Security Political Dialogue 1999 (2/01)" (ISBN: 3-901328-57-2) - Juni 2001
During the Berlin international seminar organised at the beginning of 1998 by the National Statistics Office, Prof. Aleksander Zelias, the Head of Statistics Department at the Economic Academy in Cracow and the Rector of Higher Private School of Business and Management in Chrzanow, assented issues concerning statistical data and methods to forecast chances, dangers and problems. Among numerous examples to illustrate the complexity of the problem, he gave forecasts published by the American Institute of Science and Technology in 1971. From 531 forecasts in a given period, only 28% came true completely, and 40% only partially. According to Prof. Zelias, however, in spite of the forecasts deceptiveness, these long-term ones in particular, their importance will grow especially due to better and better research methods. In this context, information included in documents published at the beginning of 1998 by leading Baltic states business- and economy representatives concerning the economic situation in the Baltic region and barriers for immediate foreign investments in this area seems very interesting. In the introductory material to these documents, addressed to the Baltic states politicians, there was included a forecast that the Baltic region development potential allows to predict almost ten times bigger growth in trade in the 15 - 20-year-perspective (!). Similarly one can talk about studies sponsored by the American government in the mid-nineties referring to world economic development trends. Conclusions drawn there include, among others, Poland into countries of future development perspectives in the market economy area. The consequences of NATO and EU enlargement should be seen mainly in the institutional - interstate interactions, like NATO, bilateral relations of the member states and aspiring countries.
A supportive factor in this process are the activities of several regional initiatives, like Central -European Initiative started by so called Vysehrad Group where the aspiring to the EU countries: the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary have played an essential role. From an earlier group of states acting in so called Pentagonal and Hexagonal, the Central - European Initiative include also such EU countries as Austria and Italy. The consequence of pre-accessive consolidation of Vysehrad Group countries was calling the CEFTA Association, the members of which are today Bulgaria and Romania. The importance of these states association is essential taking into regard strengthening multilateral, interstate relations with countries outside the EU or preparing to join it, and also those whose joining perspectives are longer (Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia). The EU enlargement supportive trend, especially in the context of social - religious movements and non-governmental organisations activities can be, for instance, a strong involvement of European Ecumenical Gathering of European Churches and the European Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops. The representative of Vatican is permanently seated in the Council of Europe. The Second Ecumenical Gathering of the European Churches Conference and the European Conference of Roman Catholic Bishops in Graz in 1997 became an aspiration to present the reconciliation way between the Germans and Poles after the Second World War at the doorstep of the next century. The Commission for Contacts between the Polish Ecumenical Council and German Evangelical Church conducted an initiative to present the participants the Polish - German reconciliation as a significant step to Europe's unity. Being aware of the responsibilities of the mentioned above Churches for the European continent lots and inspired by the Graz Gathering, the Commission of Contacts have undertaken a dialogue with Poland's eastern neighbours, the Kaliningrad District, then with Byelorus and Ukraine, with which Poland has established very good relations. The consequence of NATO constructive approach towards Eastern Europe was initiating Partnership for Peace, and its consequence, in turn, was the organisation of joint maritime peace manoeuvres in 1994 an the Baltic area with the participation of the Baltic states' and NATO’s navies. These operations, under an English cryptonym Baltic Operations have been organised regularly every year since that time. The plans of the NATO enlargement onto the east an Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary are being realised and advanced faster than it was expected in 1996. The Euro-Baltic region, due to NATO activities, is becoming the area of the greatest military - political stabilisation, contrary to the southern European region, i.e. the Balkans. Here the practice of multi-sided military co-operation within, for instance, permanent meetings of the Nordic states and the Baltic republics' defence ministers seem very interesting. This practice may, in a longer perspective, contribute to enlarge this formula to all Baltic states meetings, probable with the USA participation (!). Long and multisided co-operation of the Nordic states was an inspiring factor and influenced the cooperation between the Baltic states realised since 1992 in the Council of the Baltic States.