NATIONALISM AND MINORITY QUESTIONS IN CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE
This morning we will discuss national and ethnic issues, as they relate to the international security, and specifically to the security in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Speaking about nationality problems, first we should be aware of the fact, that in almost every country of the region these are sensitive questions, hav ing many emotional elements. By definition these problems are associated with national feelings, national memones, sometimes simple beliefs or myths.
There is nothing wrong with the fact that national sensitivity and emotions exist in CEE. The real problem is, that their role is excessive in the politicai debate.
Consequently, one of our tasks should be to try to de-emotionalize the dialogue on these issues , at least here in this forum. Second point, the definition of the terms 'nation' and 'nationalism' is extremely diverse. The historicai evolution of the national idea and the national movement varyed extensively from the West to the East and from the North to the South. The diverging regional experiences are of course reflected in the terminological debates: 'what is a nation' , and 'how nationalism can be defined?' and they explain to a large extent our difficulties to use the same vocabulary.
When speaking about national ideology, one has to bear in mind that it has always been an ambigous social phenomenon, a politicai force with a dual face. Throughout modem history, national idea has very often contained both defensive and offensive elements, patriotic or chauvinistic components. It was frequently very difficult to separate these elements, as they were intermingled in the history of individual nations.
In my presentation I will use the word 'nationalism' in a neutral sense, comprising both the positive and negative meaning and connotations of this concept.
Nationalism is very often mistakenly regarded as a very old phenomenon, as a perennial or permanent factor in the history of mankind. Despite this widespread perception, it is a modem idea and a modem movement. Actually, the first full manifestation of modem nationalism occured in Western Europe in the 17th and 18th century. England was in the vanguard of the economic development of that time. In that country, the industrial revolution combined with the puritan ethics and liberal philosophy paved the way for the emergence of the first national community of modem times.
In France, the Enlightement prepared the intellectual terrain for the Freneh revolution. The Freneh nation was bom in the revolutionary enthusiasm, as an expression of a popular will to live to gether and and fight to gether the common enemy such as the authoritarian rule.
The American nationalism of the 18th century had both the imp act of the English revolution and the Freneh Enlightement. Similar to the nationalism in Revolutionary France the national idea of the settlers of North America was based essentially on the fight to gain more individual freedoms and achieve popular sovereignty for their community. The American nation was constituted by an act of self-determination against an alien rule, which was considered as an illegitimate rule from the perspective of the emerging idea of popular sovereignty.
In this lecture hall it may be interesting to note another similarity between the Freneh and American nationalisms. Both produced a new phenomenon in the art of warfare: the nation in arms. In America and in France of the late 18th century citzen armies, untrained but filled with a new fervour, proved superior to highly trained professional armies that fought without the incentive of nationalism.
The influence of the Englightement coupled later on with the Napoleonic wars spread the spirit of nationalism from Western Europe to the East and the South of the continent. In Central and Eastern Europe the new ideas gave birth to cultural nationalism first. Writers, seholars began to modernize the mother tongue of their community in order to create a literary language. Culture, language and other elements of kinship played an outstanding role in the development of the Central and Eastern European nationalism. They prepared the terrain for more ambitious politicai objectives. In the case of the Italians and the Germans the establishment of a unified national state was the final objective. Further to the East, in the case of many small and medium size nations who lived in multinational states, the independent national statehood was the superior politicai aim.
The 19th century nationalism went hand in hands with an unprecedented economic growth on the European continent, it contributed to the development of national education and the spread of demoeratic institutions such as parliamentarism. In its essence, this was a liberal and demoeratic nationalism, which made a noticeable progress ev en in the Russian Empire, in some segments of the Russian intelligentsia and politicai elite.
However, the same century revealed also the ugly face, the unattractive chauvinistic visage of the nationalism. The word 'chauvinism' comes from the name ofa Freneh soldier of the Napoleonic army. Captain Chauvin was well known for his exaggerarated national sentiments and his despise for other nations.
His comerades in arms labeled first the aggressive, excessive national fee1ing as 'chauvinism'. Both 19th and 20th century saw numerous manifestations of the dominant and exclusivist national ism, ranging from great power supremacy to state sponsored xenophoby oppressing and persecuting minorities. Especially the fascist movements in Germany, Italy and in some smaller Central and Eastern European states in the 1930s and during the war used aggressive nationalism as politicai tool. They equated nati on to race, and made the authoritarian state the supreme expression of the will of this nati on. This was of course the most vicious aberration of the national idea since the appearance of this concept in the late 17th century.
Let us return for a while to the original question 'what is anation?' . As we said at the outlet, the answers to this question are different because the experiences of the various regions in nation-building are different too.
The nation-state in Western Europe was developed by the consolidation of territories, often from a core which gradually established its politicai and economic dominance to adjacent areas. Here, the concept of nation was attached essentially to the territory; the national identity was closely linked with the state; with its institutions and values.
In such circumstances nationality and citizenship (for example Frech national and Freneh citizen) have become more allless mutually interchangeble. More or less, because also in Western Europe there have been national and regional minorities, who challenged the homogeneity of nation-state, this part of the continent also new bloody territorial wars during its history. This fact however does not challenge the fundamental trend in nation-building. In Western Europe nationality coincided to a large extent with the civiccommunity, with the society living within the borders of a state. This is a territorial and legal-political concept of nation which has been predominant up to the present time.
Compared to Western Europe, the ethnic map of CEE has always been extremely diverse; much more complex than that of Western part of the continent. As a general rule ethnic borders and politicai borders do not coincide. The ethni c variety of the individual states and ethnic heterogeneity of the region as a whole, are greater than in the West. This diversity has had considerable influence on the historic process of nation-building, as it has been frequently difficult to identify the states exclusively with one nation.
In the period, when nati on states were established in the West, most of the nations of CEE lived in multinational empires, under foreign rule. Sometimes they were divided among several states , like the Poles among Tsarist Russia, Prussia and the Habsburg empire. In such conditions, the concept of nati on was based essentially on common language, religion and other characteristics of ethnic culture. This was an ethno-cultural concept of nation. In this concept, to be a Pole, a Slovak, a Hungarian, or other nationality simply meant that the person belonged to an historically shaped cultural community, sometimes irrespective of the state affiliation. The various national self-determination movements have used ethnicity as a main criterion for statehood, in this part of Europe for centuries. This concept of nation has prevailed in the region until today. The fact, that co-nationals with the same language, culture and shared sense of community can live in different states, implies also the internationalization of the ethnic problem. Minorities, if they feel oppressed or discriminated against, will frequently seek the protection of the kin-nati on beyond the border. This is a potential for conflict, not only internally, but also externally, in the relations between countries.
- second, there is a fundamental difference between Western and Eastern Europe concerning the stability of the borders. In the West most of the state borders have shown considerable stability. Take the examples of the politicai lines separating Spain from Portugal, and Spain from France, or the borders of Switzerland. which have not shifted since the Napoleonic wars. Compared to this picture, the territorial status quo in CEE has been extremely fluid, the durability of the state borders in that region has been much weaker. The frequency of changes in that part of Europe - including in this respect also Gerrnany - has been considerably higher. Most of the current borders were established within the last 80 years; some of them shifted several times during this period. For instance, the Ukrainian Sub-Carpathia, the Western-most region of the Ukrainian Republic today, changed its state-sovereignity five times in this century. And this is not an exceptional case in Eastern Europe.
Because of the multiethnic composition of the border areas the same shift of frontiers meant national unification for one community, and separation from the ancestral homeland for another national community.
It meant the legitimate right for self-determination for one group; the possible refusal of the same right for the other group. Celebration on the one side, historic trauma on the other; chauvinistic rule of the dominant community, preparation for revenge by the oppressed nati on or minority. The Habsburg empire and its disintegration is an example from the early 20th century. Versailles has a very different historicai meaning and message for many peoples in Central Europe and the Balkans. Yugoslavia and its collapse, especially the case of Bosnia-Herzegovina is a recent illustration of how various national communities, alI of which refer alI to national self-determination, have had sometimes radically opposing experiences and divergent perceptions about the same events.
This is partly true of the whole process of self-determination and state-building, which changed a substantial part of the politicai map of the region at the beginning of the 1990s. Three multinational states disintegrated, and a large number of new states emerged in their place.
This disintegration should be placed in the prop er historicai perspective. During this century we witnessed the break up of several empires; however, not since medieval times have we experienced su ch a large scale territorial fragmentation on the European continent, if we include the territory of the former Soviet Union. Thirty five states signed the Helsinki Final Act, which created the CSCE; the number of member states of the successsor Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe currently exceeds Fifty.
This created a radicalIy changed situation, obviously first of alI, for the countries directly involved in the new state-building process. But the fragmentation created a new environment for the neighbouring countries too. Let us take the example of Poland; alI of its neighbours are new states with the exception of Germany; but Germany itself, after the re-unification, was re-defined as a state, within its new borders. Or, we can cite the case of Hungary: five of seven neighbours are new states, which were created in the last four or five years.
The radical alteration of the politicai map expressed in a powerful way the victory of the idea of self-determination. Self-determination, as it appeared at the beginning of the 1990s, was aliberating concept. Peoples, who had been confined within the borders of countries, with which they did not identify, and whose regimes they intensely disliked, sought liberation from alien rule.
The restoration of lost sovereignties and the establishment of independent states have been accomplished through a fundamentally demoeratic process, and it was recognized as such by the international community. (Let us note here the fact that if we are so numerous and diverse in this room at the Marshall Center this morning, it is due to the history -shaping force of the self-determination.)
The multiplication of sovereign states, however has raised also legitimate questions. What is the self in self-determination? What kind of community is entitled to exercise this right? Where are the limits of self- determination? Where are the legal and politicai frontiers of this concept, that the international community should recognize as legitimate and reasonable?
Should self-determination allways mean separation; is the process of disintegration always irreversible? At the end of the 20th century, is the trend towards territorial fragmentation compatible with the growing globalization of economy and technology; and the increased need for regional integration?
The relevance of these questions is underlined by the fact that the dominant type of conflict at the present, and probably in the period ahead, is internal conflict, which has in most cases ethni c roots.
The world today knows several dozen inter-ethnic crises from the highly developed Freneh Canadian Quebec to the underdeveloped Sri-Lanka and Somalia. Compared to these examples, the former Communist states of Central and Eastern Europe, reveal some substantial differences, related mainly to their evolution in the Iast decades, and the ongoing process of transformation.
From the early nineties, as the authoritarian regimes have become more open, this openness eliminated also the forces restraining nationalism on both domestic and interstate level. The unexpected impetus of the resurgence of national identity can be explained by several factors, although no one of these factors alone can give a full explanation.
First, with the demise of the Communist ideology a vacuum was created, and it is in the nature of the vacuum to be filled. The nationalism is a powerful ideology, - easy to grasp, easy to assimilate, and easy to spread .
In some circumstances, especially in cases, where the demoeratic institutions are still weak, it might become ubstitute for the previous official worldview.
Second, beside the ideological vacuum, a security vacuum has been developed too. With the end of the Cold War an international security order disappeared without be ing replaced by a new structure of collective security in Europe. The result is a fragmented security landscape on the continent, with an extremely ambigous and volatile situation, especially for the small and medium size countries of CEE. This situation is fertile terrain for mutual misunderstanding, suspicion and overreaction in the contacts between neighboring countries. The probability of such development IS obviously higher where relations are shadowed by lasting historicai burdens, nationality complaints or prejudices about one another.
The common wisdom is, that national feelings and ethnic identities can be expressed without being aggressive and threatening to the interests and values of other communities. The national idea is becoming especially offensive, tending to violence, if it is purposefully manipulated. The East-Central European history proves, that national feelings have been very often manipulated by the politicai elites: politicians, media people, ideologues of all kind. Some analysts of nationality problems attribute the whole responsibility for such tensions to the politicai elites - or the ruling class, to use another term.
This is probably an exaggeration. However, the prominent role (positive and negative role) of the national elites, - and the states themselves - III the mobilization of the ethnic identites, cannot be ignored.
- (last but not least) we should menti on the worsening economic conditions and the falling living standards III many countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Another group of analysts, interestingly both on the liberal and on the marxi st side, view the fundamental cause of ethnic conflict as economic: -problems emanate from the uneven development within a society, fight for resources, or for jobs.
Even if economic difficulties are not the fundamental cause, they certainly deep en the confrontation. Central and Eastern European history proves that nationalism has been often used as a substitute for basic consumer goods. It is also true that, national feelings and emotions are easier to manipulate in a period of dec1ining living standards and increasing misery. Potential manipulators today have certainly more difficulty to propagate their nationalistic ideas III Switzerland or Sweden, than III Southeastern Europe.
There are former Communist countries, where the hidden tensions have become simply more transparent in the last five years. In others, the inter-ethnic relations have clearly worsened compared to the previous situation.
In extreme cases the ethnic resurgence led to open, violent, armed conflicts in the area. This is how the situation has evolved in some regions of the former Soviet Union and the former Yugoslav Federation. The case of Russia and Central Asia will be discussed this morning, and several aspects of the Yugoslav conflict later on in this course, so I can focus on the other CEE countries outside these two former multinational entities.
First, no one of the Central and Eastern European countries is totally immune from ethnic problems, or from ethnically related historicai problems with neighbours. Second, these ethnic issues vary greatly from country to country.
In terms of ethnic composition currently Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Albania have relatively few minorities on their territory (2-3 of the total population). Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria have a larger minority population. Their ratio exceeds 10 of total population aceording the official census data.
In some administrative areas their percentage constitutes an absolute majority of the local population. Even more important, in terms of ratio and of domestic politicai significance, is the - essentially Russian - minority population of the Baltic states. (In Latvia, for instance they constitute almost half of the population)
I would like to stress, that having few minorities does not mean that the ethnic issue is unkown for the country, as the existence of the Gypsy problem (or the Roma problem, to use the official term) indicates it in the Czech Republic or in Hungary. Obviously, the more the population of a country is composed of multinational and multicultural societies, the more complex this issue becomes in politics.
The ethni c concerns of East Central Europe are fundamentally different from those in some parts of ex- Yugoslavia and the former Soviet Union, where violent clashes have erupted between majority and minority populations. A common denominator of this region is, that the nationality issues are addressed through politicai and diplomatic means: they have not become violent.
The ethnic and cultural problems between Slovaks and Hungarians, Hungarians and Romanians, Bulgarians and Turks and other nationalities are matters of sometimes heated domestic and international debates, but they are clearly not military matters. They have been kept within the limits of the politicai bargaining process.
This is a positive fact, which, however should not be taken for granted .. Conditions might change, and they might change for the worse. Consequently, the inter-ethni c relations should be further stabilized through carefully considered policies.
In Central and Eastern Europe both the states and the minorities suffer from an 'insecurity complex'. Each side feels that its vital interests might be threatened. On the one hand, vanous states fear isolationist or separatist tendencies on the part of minorities. The majority authorities think, that, if they accept ev en amodest minority request, this might start down a slippery sloap, whereby a small gesture today will result in disaster for the state tomorrow. An elementary school in the mother tongue of a minority today, - a loss of territory tomorrow - a simplification of a reasoning, frequently used on the other side of the former Iron Curtain.
Minorities also fear that, at any time, they might become the target of forced assimilation; or ev en worse, of ethni c cleansing. As they were frequently victims of state-sponsored nationalism in the communist past, this memory leaves a heavy mistrust towards authorities; a permanent suspicion conceming the real intensions of the majoritarian govemment.
Sometimes these concems are based on very concrete historical experiences, sometimes they are based on unfounded perceptions. But even as perceptions, these problems should be treated with great sensitivity. Politicai arrangements should be established, which stabilize both the position of the states and the status of the minorities. If the minorities are integrated and not assimilated to the society, they can develop both the general civic identity of the state, and preserve ethnic identity as well,
In other words this would mean: - loyalty to the state, III which they live and they are citizens, and - the right to preserve and develop their own national and ethnic characteristics.
Someone might say that these two elements are III conflict. Especially persons belonging to majoritarian nations, com ing from countries with lasting ethnic tensions are inclined to reject concepts like multiculturalism, ethnic pluralism, multinational federation, autonomy, minority protection.
In their view ei ther assimilation, or emigration of minorities, leading to a homogeneous nati on-state is the realistic solution for ethnic problems.
This thinking is not radically new in Central and Eastern Europe; its ideological roots go back to the late --19th century. Compared to the pre-war period, the communist system, despite its 'internationalist' rethoric, did very little to change effectively relations between nations and ethnic groups III the area. As a general rule, the Communist regimes froze the tensions and oppressed the conflicts instead of solving them.
The parallel Western European development has been strikingly different. The nations in the West have not been inherently more enlighted in matters of ethnic tolerance and international openness, than their fellow nations in the East. But since the WW2 they have had the politicai will to openly confront and manage the painful issues of nationalism both domestically and internationally.
It is characteristic that in the 1970s, in a period, when in Western Europe Spain, Belgium, France and Great-Britain went through a fundamental territorial decentralization, giving more power to the regions, and the nationalities living there; in Eastern Europe Czechoslovakia, Rumania, Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union the central power of the state was reinforced.
The emergmg Western European integration and the regional cooperation of the Nordic countries made also an enormous difference in the perception how civilized nations can and should live side-by-side. National societies in the West were increasingly opening up. Political frontiers ,as dividing lines between peoples, were gradually disappearing within the European Community, later on the European Union. Exchanges at the grass-root level, between individuals, institutions, smaller or larger communities have become a mass phenomenon. Purposefui policies, inc1uding youth exchange, twin city movement, have been set up to improve relations between nations with difficult historicai legacy: Freneh and Germans in Western Europe; Danes and Norwegians in the Nordic region.
During decades there was no similar undertaking in the historically sensitive relationships in the East; like the Polish-Lithuanian, Czech-German, Slovak-Ukrainian, Hungarian-Rumanian, Rumanian-Ukrainian and Russian, Bulgarian and Serbian, Serbian - Albanian relationship. East European societies remained essentially elosed societies vis-a-vis each other. This situation, very often, preserved old national stereotypes and distorted c1ichés about each other. AIso in this respect, there was a widening gap between the official discourse emphasizing fraternal friendship on the one hand, and politicai reality, on the other.
Since the early 1990s, in the eyes of many Eastern European observers, the disintegration of Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union has not only discredited the federal model as a solution for ethni c problems, but it also made illusory ethnic coexistence in multinational frameworks. The devastating war in the former Yugoslavia, and the multiplication of ethnic strifes throughout the region increased the number of skeptics, who do not believe that Central and Eastern Europe can solve ethnic and nationality problems in a civilized manner.
Despite widespread skepticism, the minority problem has also become an important issue of debate in the domestic democratization process. It might seem paradoxical, but it has also been widely recognized that democracy in Central and Eastern Europe cannot be stable, without a fair treatement of minority questions.
On the international level, the settlement of the ethnic disputes has become apolitical requirement for countries wanting to join NATO or the EU. In the light of these requirements, the study of West European, expenences might be useful for states interested in the integration process. There are constitutional and politicai arrangements, which are certainly not perfect, but they work, they can ease ethnic problems. They are successful, or at least more successful than most of the ethnic policies existing in CEE.
The multilingual model of Switzerland is based on the cantonal system. It officially recognizes the equal cultural rights of the German, Freneh and Italian speaking communities. The Swiss Confederation promotes the minority rights of a forty thousand strong community, called Romansch, or Raeto-romans. Their language is officially used in the canton Grisons, where they live, and it is recognised as one of the four nationallanguages of Switzerland, on the level of the Confederation.
Belgium is a le ss peaceful example; its Flemish- Walloon conflict is well known. Based on the bitter experiences of this long lasting conflict, Belgium has developed an innovative constitutional arrangement for its linguistic communities. It is not without problems ev en today, but the legal and politicai efforts to find solutions for ethnic coexistence are worthy of attention.
The same is true for Spain, which went through a major decentralization in the 1970s, after General Franco's death. In this process, the ethnic communities: the Catalans and the Basques re-established their autonomy.
The 'devolution' III Great-Britain reinforced self-rule in Wales and and Scotland. No similar solution has been possible in Northern Ireland sofar, where the intercommunal strife has not yet found a settlement despite domestic and international efforts.
In the 1950s, Alto- Adige, South Tyrol was a place of violent inter-ethnic conflict. Today within this region the German speaking minority enjoys significant cultural autonomy, which is also reinforced by interstate cooperation between Austria and Italy.
This cooperation is similar to cultural exchange, what the ethnic Danes and Germans have in the Schleswig region, across the German-Danish border. The Swedish speaking population of Finland, which constitutes 8 percent of the total population also enjoys the advantages of Nordic regional cooperation. This nationality has large cultural autonomy, which is combined with territorial autonomy for the Swedish inhabitants of the Aland islands.
(While discussing Finland, let me recall here a personal expenence from a few years ago, when I was in office in the Hungarian Ministry of Defense. My minister received his counterpart from Finland - a woman - who was a leading politician of the Swedish People's Party in Finland. <By the way, she is still active cabinet member, and one of the leaders of her party, which participates in the govemment coalition.> Certainly many of you agree with me, that to give such an important responsibility to a minority politician, is sign of a considerable level of politicai culture. Not to mention the fact, that throughout Europe, it is not very frequent either to have a woman politician on the post of defense minister, )
It is true, that Westem European models were developed in specific historicai and societal circumstances. Consequently, they cannot be copied 100 in the different conditions of the countries of CEE. However, they have certainly some normative or institutional elements, which can be usefully incorporated in the minority policies of the region. There are several altemative approaches, which can further consolidate the already existing minority rights. - if there is a politicai will for that!
Very often, however, in the CEE countries there is no motivation for politicai compromise. Compromise is frequently seen as a sign of weakness, and not a natural part of the politicaI process.
Therefore, it is not an exaggeration to say, that minority problems are very often problems of the general politicaI culture, problems concermng the level of tolerance; the intellectual and institutional disposition to accept differences, inc1uding ethni c differences.
The ability to compromise is also necessary m international relations.
This has paramount importance in East-Central Europe, where security between neighbors might be threatened by discord over the treatment of national minorities. Consequently, the ethnic issue also needs 'confidence building measures' in the interstate relations.
At the end of the 20th century minority questions cannot be 'solved' usmg methods practiced during and after WW2. By irredentist movements and forcible border-changes on the one hand; or by ethnic c1eansings and massive deportations on the other. Nor is the 'cultural ethnic c1eansing', the forced assimilation of minorities an acceptable method for civilized societies today.
Regional stability requires from the neighboring countries mutual recognition of
- the inviolability of the existing borders
- respect for the rights of the minorities living in their territories
These are two major elements of the 'Stability Pact', which most of the countries of CEE adopted last year, III Paris. Most of them also signed bilateral treaties, regulating the basic principles of their inter-state relations.
F or instance, su ch treaties were elaborated and signed between Poland and its new neighbors. Or to take another example, Hungary signed interstate treaties with Ukraine, Slovenia, Croatia and Slovakia, containing clauses concerning minorities.
A similar document has been under negotiation with Romania for some time. If signed, it will probably be completed with other documents, like the Declaration on the historical reconciliation between the two nations.
These treaties and agreements, are crucial for the consolidation of international relations in the area. More imporant , in my view, is the actual cooperation that they might bring about in interstate relations. Thus, implementation matters; and in this respect, we should see these documents not as an end, but rather as the beginning of a process.
The paradox in the Slovak-Hungarian and Hungarian-Rumanian relations IS, that there are areas where the cooperation IS developing in a very encouragmg, ev en examplary way. For instance, this is the case of trade contacts between Hungary and Slovakia, including the so-called small border exchanges, or the defense cooperation between Rumania and Hungary, including such sensitive areas as the open skies exercises, or joint programs of the ground forces. Compared to these developments, disputes on the treatment of minorities cast shadow on the politicai relations, creating sometimes important tensions among these countries.
Many observers believe, in my view rightly, that good economic or defense cooperation cannot survive if it remains isolated. If it is not supported by a general desire to improve politicai relations from both sides, including of course the sensitive question of treatement of minorities.
I will conclude with a few words about the role of international organizations. In recent years various multinational institutions, like the UN, the Council of Europe and the OSCE have increasingly turned their attention to the minority issue. In terms of 'Realpolitik' , obviously it would be an error to overestimate the influence of these organizations on the actual politicai processes of the member-states, including their individual ethnic policies. However, it would be another error to ignore completely their impact, especially in the areas where the states have clear international obligations to comply with. The increasing activity of these institutions demonstrates that the treatment of minorities is not exclusively an internal affair, and the 'external' interest of the international community IS a legitimate one.
The countries of Central and Eastern Europe, which want to join Euro-Atlantic structures, also received an other signal. NATO has made it clear, that it does not want another Greek- Turkish rivalry in the Alliance.
It seems that the message has been heared and this diplomatic pressure- and it is a pressure - has also stimulated some efforts for improvement.
However, one should not forget the other side of the story - either. Integration itself might promote better understanding between peoples, multiplying channels of communications, setting standards and establishing a larger area of shared values on the European continent.
For example, for over threee decades the NATO Alliance has had a considerable leverage on Greece and Turkey. It has restrained them, preventing the escalation of tension on more than a few occasions from breaking out in war. Through its multilateral politicai , diplomatic and military channels NATO has projected stability to the Greeko-Turkish relations.
In my view, this is an important point to take into consideration in any debate concerning enlargement of NATO. In the future, in Central Europe the politicai stabilizing function of the North Atlantic Alliance might be as significant as is the traditional collective defense function of this organization.
As the European Union is concerned, the Central and Eastern European countries which are applying for membership in it, are seeking not only better conditions for their prosperity, but also a sense of increased security in the area, as a consequence of their integration.
But, aside from the question of enlargement, and the requirements involved, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe should Improve bilateral relations, because it is in their interest.
The international community, including such institutions as NATO, EU, OSCE can help on occasions, but it cannot substitute for the specific country-to-country efforts to settle these lasting nationality problems.
Introductory presentation for Round Table April 29.1996; Subj. 1.