2001, Europe, European Union

Eastern Europe’s Churches and the Challenge of E.U. integration

Eastern Europe’s Churches and the Challenge of EU Integration

Jonathan Luxmoore


Westerners generally do not realise how central a foreign policy issue the question of EU membership has been in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. It is the nexus around which all economic and political discussion has taken place. There are no significant differences between the centre-right and the former communists (the centre-left) on the issue; only some fringe parties are opposed to EU membership. The candidate countries watch each other like hawks, especially in the context of EU Commission reports on the extent of their readiness to join. Visiting EU ministers are always asked same first question: ‘When do you think we’ll be allowed to join?’

Five post-communist countries have been negotiating membership since March 1998: the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia (in addition to Cyprus and Malta). Five others have opened negotiations since – Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia – and some of these are now catching up. The Nice summit in December 2000 agreed that enlargement could take place from 1 January 2003, and Poland hopes to complete the process in time for the European Parliament elections in 2004.

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2001, Europe (general), European Union

EU Expansion: a Mainly Political Perspective

EU Expansion: a Mainly Political Perspective

Ken Medhurst

Before the fall of communism in 1989 there had been three successive EU enlargements which expanded membership from the original six countries (the Benelux countries, the Federal German Republic, France and Italy) to include a total of twelve. These enlargements involved Britain, Denmark, Ireland, Greece, Portugal and Spain.

The collapse of communism in principle created a wholly new situation entailing the possibility of a major eastward expansion. The reunification of Germany and the consequent incorporation of the former GDR into the EU was a harbinger of subsequent opportunities and difficulties.

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2001, Europe, Europe (general)

Peace and Reconciliation in Europe

Peace and Reconciliation in Europe

Richard Seebohm


I have spent the last three years as Representative in Brussels of the Quaker Council for European Affairs, lobbying the European institutions on the subjects of peace, human rights and economic justice. One of our outcomes was a club of 17 NGOs with whom we set up the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office. It began work in January 2001, with the task of information-sharing in order to link the non-violent conflict resolution capabilities of the NGOs with the evolution of European Union policies for crisis management.

It is one thing to avert crises, but quite another to solve the problem of enabling people who have been intent on destroying each other to learn once more to live alongside each other.

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2001, Truth Commissions

The Work of Truth Commissions

The Work of Truth Commissions

Roberta Bacic

Notes on Truth Commissions

Truth commissions have been set up in countries that have endured violent conditions and where human rights have been systematically violated. In these countries the new political regime, where there has been war, or transitional governments, where there has been a dictatorship, do not have a judicial system capable of dealing with the consequences of the past. The existing systems cannot be relied upon to prosecute those responsible for previous human rights violations, because usually violence has been perpetrated by the state and its institutions, including the Justice Department. At the very least these institutions have been culpable for their silence, ignoring or denying the violence.

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