Estonia’s Integration into International Organisations - from the Viewpoint of Security

Author:Jaanika Erne
Position:LL.M., M.A., Contractual Consultant, European Union Electronica Information Service, European Documentation Centre, University of Tartu
Pages:63-68
SUMMARY

1. The interrelationship between security organisations - 2. The viewpoint of Estonia - the importance of joining security organisations and the concept of security - 3. The legal implications of Estonia's security-related international integration - 3.1. The implications of the membership of the European Union to the Estonian defence system - 3.2. The legal implications of the membership of the... (see full summary)

 
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Jaanika Erne

LL.M., M.A., Contractual Consultant, European Union Electronica Information Service, European Documentation Centre, University of Tartu

Estonia's Integration into International Organisations - from the Viewpoint of Security

The Republic of Estonia has been a full member state of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation since 29 March 2004,Estonia is the full member state of the European Union since 1 May 2004. These developments are in testimony of a huge step towards a free, whole and peaceful Europe1. For the acceding states, accession to both these organisations means supranational integration in security issues, as has also meant the accession to other security organisations, such as the Western European Union (WEU), the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the United Nations (UN).

From historical viewpoint - as a small state that has been occupied many times - security guarantees are essential to Estonia. The pursuit of independence, territorial integrity and cultural identity has accompanied the development of the Estonian nation. Although the author sees neither military nor political threats aiming to change Estonia's internal or external policies today or in the near future, she is aware of and understands that the state must be ready to combat such threats as economic, social and environmental risks, international crime, and terrorism.

Considering the previous, the purpose of this article is to estimate whether the accession of the Republic of Estonia to supranational organisations guarantees higher security in the region. Considering this purpose, the author has divided the article into three main sections.

The first section gives an overview about the interrelationship of those security organisations in which Estonia participates. More precisely, about the position of the common foreign and security policy (CFSP) of the European Union within the global security area. Here it is demonstrated that the enlarged European Union embraces the WEU. Such development strengthens the position of the European Union in the global security structures. The author demonstrates the close ties of the CFSP of the European Union with the NATO under the UN umbrella. In the second section, the author discusses why participation in security organisations is important to Estonia and tries to define the main threats to Estonia's security. In the third section, the author addresses the legal implications of Estonia's security-related integration into the NATO and the European Union. With that aim, the author firstly analyses the implications of the European Union membership to the Estonian defence system through the main, consequent to enlargement changes in the CFSP of the European Union, and highlights the three important points related to the new European Union member states: unanimity, sovereignty and participation in the NATO. The author tries to determine the implications of the accession of Estonia to the European Union and the NATO to the state's security system and sovereignty. At the end of the article, the author assesses the balance of powers between the post-enlargement European Union and the NATO as regards the maintenance of security.

1. The interrelationship between security organisations

In order to understand Estonia's position and reasons to accede to security organisations, the interrelationship of the security organisations in which Estonia participates is examined below. Although the European Union cannot be considered a purely security organisation, it is developing from an economic union towards also a political one and it is re-examining its CFSP in order to better achieve its political aims. Therefore, especially in the light of the latest developments in the European Union concerning the growing interrelatedness and the proposed merger of its three pillars, in the article the author deals with the elements of the European Union as a security organisation.

As the activities of the security organisations discussed are based on the Charter of the UN2, the author considered that the most logical way to examine the relations between the security organisations could be in the light of the Charter of the UN. The UN is the supreme world organisation in security matters. Despite the idea, which arose at the time of the League of Nations, that international order could best be served not only by centralised decision-making in a global organisation, but also by regional bodies, most of the League of Nations leaders favoured a supreme world organisation in security matters3. This preference may be explained by the concept that the centralised control over regional activities avoids too large extension of the limits of enforcement action by regional organisations in third countries and guarantees the objectivity of enforcement action.

On the other hand, considering that regional organisations are better informed about the regional conditions and the resources that the UN would need for regional enforcement action, decentralisation was supported in order to solve practical regional problems, but also with regard to external threats. For that reason, regional elements were and are strengthened in the composition of the UN4, as well as concerning the organisations, whose work was based on the UN Charter. In the context of this article, such regional organisations as the WEU and the NATO serve as examples alongside the European Union which has even described itself as a regional arrangement under Chapter VIII of the UN Charter5. The European Union has strong security relations with the WEU and the NATO, which are mentioned in article 17 of the Treaty on European Union. Namely, the European Union depends on the WEU and the NATO in realising its two primary CFSP goals: to strengthen its own security, and to preserve peace and strengthen international security. Quoting Wessel, the European Union, the WEU and NATO 'today form an institutional triangle with tied security policies under the UN umbrella'6.Recognising the need of international organisations to co-operate in order to promote security, these security organisations co-operate under the UN umbrella also with the OSCE, as well as with other regional organisations.

2. The viewpoint of Estonia - the importance of joining security organisations and the concept of security

In the author's opinion, the primary reason why states belong to international security organisations is the achievement of higher security in the region. For that reason, the full membership of the European Union and the NATO have been Estonia's primary foreign policy goals since regaining independence in 1991. However, when trying to determine the meaning of the concept 'security', one finds that the concept is very broad and has military and civil aspects.

Opening the meaning of the concept 'national security', the former president of the Republic, LennartMeri, indicated that this did not only mean military or economic security, but should have also been construed as involving 'culture, demographics, linguistics, and education as issues deemed vital to the survival of the Estonian nation'7.

Accordingly, it has been determined in the Estonian Republic Basic Security Policy Act that security embraces military and political activities, activities in the economic and social spheres, as well as combating environmental risks, illegal immigration, international organised crime and terrorism8. The same Act accordingly determines Estonia's state interests and security policy goals: maintenance of independence and territorial integrity, protection of Estonia's stability and her democratic development, promotion of peoples' welfare and maintenance of cultural heritage, continuity of Estonian nation, language, culture and identity through international globalising co-operation9.

Based on the preceding, one may say that Estonia's security can today be threatened by political and economic...

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