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But this nevertheless serves to illustrate a contention often brought up at ET: whether extending EU membership to countries with significant shortcomings in human rights is at all a wise idea. Instead of being able to dangle the carrot of potential EU membership to encourage improvements and reforms, we have now instead internalised the issue, with seemingly little political will or ability to address it.

Those were my thoughts during the negotiations on Estonian membership in the European Union. Estonians surrounding the current president of Estonia were just biding their time for revenge on anyone and anything Russian, and it was just a matter of time before their crusade against Russians could go into full swing. The president himself immigrated to the US as a small child and grew up in America among Estonian refugees thirsting to pay "the" Russians back. I thought the European Union should make settlement of the Russian minority issue in Estonia a condition for Estonian membership in the EU. I saw time and time again that Estonians didn't care what anyone else in Europe thought, for example, when a member of the Estonian government marched in a celebration in Tallinn with former Estonian SS men in their uniforms. Now the Estonian government has the bit in its teeth with its minority problem, and the EU can just sit by and watch.
by Anthony Williamson on Mon May 19th, 2008 at 02:18:57 PM EST

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