5 - the geographic definition of Europe: * Europe includes the area west of the Ural Mountains in Russia and north of the Mediterranean, Black, and Caspian seas. * Region includes the land areas roughly between ten and sixty degrees longitude (plus Iceland) and between forty and seventy degrees latitude (plus the southern parts of Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Greece.) Where is Europe ?
6 -some points on shifting borders, alliances and aspirations 1.The German Democratic Republic (GDR) or East Germany had been reunited with West Germany to form a single, populous (over eighty million, the most populous country in Europe), potentially powerful (both economically and strategically) nation in 1990. - The capital has also moved east, from Bonn to Berlin, Germany's historic capital, with the Bundestag (parliament) and Chancellor's (prime minister's) office right in the heart of Berlin where the now-demolished Wall once stood.
7 - But the former East Germany is far less developed and lacking in institutions than previously thought, and it is proving far more difficult and expensive than expected to integrate the East with the West. - These tensions will likely continue, causing severe stresses in Germany internally as well as in its international position.
8 2. With the collapse of the Iron Curtain, all of Eastern Europe has been liberated from Soviet dominance: Eastern Europe (although in varying degrees) now wishes to join the West both economically (free markets) and politically (democracy). Several points need to be made about this issue: (1) Although Eastern Europe is still Eastern Europe (referring to the region as a whole), the more-developed parts of it - Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia - prefer to be called “Central Europe,” both for geographic regions and to distinguish themselves from the less-successful states of the Balkans.
9 (2) As with East Germany's integration into West Germany, Eastern Europe's problems are far greater than expected, and the time and costs for integration into Western Europe will be far greater than earlier thought. (3) Some parts of Eastern Europe - Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary - are more modern, prosperous, and readier for integration into Europe than others. They have already been voted into NATO and entered the EU early in the twenty-first century.
10 3. Several Eastern European countries - Romania, Bulgaria, the former Yugoslavia, as well as some of those already named - are torn by tension, violence, and ethnic and religious strife. - Both the former Yugoslavia and the former Czechoslovakia have split up into smaller, often feuding and warring (in the case of Yugoslavia) entities over these issues. - In Eastern Europe, there is fear that a new “Iron Curtain,” segregating the more affluent counties that are being integrated into Europe from the poorer, less successful ones, is descending over the area and forcing us to draw a new line on the map between those countries that are making it and those that are not.
11 4. There are the Baltic countries: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. -All three of these countries think of themselves as part of the east; all three want to maintain their autonomy and independence from Russia; all three entered the EU in 2004. -Yet for hundreds of years these territories were pawns traded among the larger European powers, gaining their independence briefly in the inter-war period, before being swallowed up by the Soviet Union. -However, they kept their ethnic, cultural, and linguistic identity, thing of themselves as Western or Scandinavian countries rather than Eastern ones, and when the time came as the Soviet Union disintegrated, declared their independence.
12 - With Russia as their large and sometimes overbearing neighbor and with upwards of 40 percent of their populations Russian, the Baltic states have carefully cultivated the West, and several of their Scandinavian Baltic neighbors (Denmark, Finland, and Sweden) are presently assisting the Balts and seeking to integrate them into an expanded Europe. - It is a close call; only time will tell whether the Balts can maintain their independence and become integrated into the West or if they will again be pushed back into the Russian orbit.
13 5. Moving still farther east, we come to the newly independent states of Belarus and the Ukraine. -These areas, like the Baltic states, were part of the Union of Soviet socialist Republics: but when the USSR disintegrated, they also went their separate, independent ways. -They became part of the Commonwealth of Independent States(CIS), independent but still linked to Russia with whom they have long been a part.
14 - Although some in the West have sought to pull Belarus and the Ukraine closer into the Western orbit and to further detach them from Russia, in fact these new states have limited economic and political links to the West. - None of the three have well-established democratic institutions or open and free markets, and under the CIS arrangements their foreign and defense policies are still mainly handled by Russia.
15 6. There is Russia itself, or at least European Russia, that part of Russia west of the Urals. -Russia, although now diminished and degraded since the end of the Cold War, is nevertheless still the world's largest nation and a force (including nuclear) with which to be reckoned. - Yet even that part of Russia that is geographically a part of Europe has never been entirely sure whether it wants to be part of the West, or Europe, or not.
16 - It has often been torn apart by the dispute, and even now is deeply culturally divided between its European and it Slavophile tendencies. - Clearly, Russia wants the economic benefits of the West and wants to be respected among nations, but it lacks the political institutions that would ensure stable democracy and the economic institutions for a dynamic, prospering free-market system.
18 - Meanwhile, we have also discovered that Russia, like Eastern Europe, was not a developed communist country but, in fact, a very poor one and closer to the level of the third World. Furthermore, since the demise of communism, life expectancy, literacy, health care, and standards of living have all fallen quite drastically. - It will take a long time - several generations - to catch up. So Russia, like Belarus and the Ukraine, may or may not join the West and become integrated with it.
19 - Several European governments (such as Austria and Germany), as well as many investors, have all but given up on it, pulling out the investments and terminating the assistance programs initiated in the early 1990s when the old Soviet Union collapsed and Russia still looked hopeful, and concentrating on Eastern Europe, which is not only closer to their borders but at this stage looks like a more hopeful possibility.
20 As we think about Europe's opening to the East, therefore, several points need to be made. 1. All of these areas are far poorer and less developed in terms of economic and political institutions than our earlier understanding of the Second World of ‘developed’ communist countries would lead us to expect. 2. Democratic, social, institutional, and economic modernization will take far longer than expected: we are talking about two or three generations for change to take place, not a few years as some officials thought earlier.
21 3. Degrees and gradations of proximity to the West exist and, therefore, the expectation of being integrated into it varies. - At present, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic look like the best prospects for early integration; - they are followed by Slovakia, Slovenia, and Croatia; - and then Bulgaria, Romania, the Balkan states, and perhaps (if peace and stability can be restored) Bosnia-Herzegowina and Serbia. - It seems unlikely that Belarus, the Ukraine, and Russia will be fully integrated into the West anytime soon; indeed, in the security and foreign policy fields and perhaps the political and economic ones as well, Belarus and the Ukraine may move to the East, toward reintegration with Russia rather than integration into the West.