The impact of Estonia’s established relations with the EU on the success of its post-communist transition
Keywords:Estonia, Estonian Independence, EU accession, EU-Estonian Relations, European Union, Post-Communist Transition
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This paper investigates Estonia’s post-communist transition and the successes and challenges of its accession and integration into EU. Specifically, it examines the tumultuous history between Estonia and Russia over the course of the last century and how this affected Estonian independence in the 1990s and the path to EU accession. Due to historical and ethnic factors, Estonians had always been opposed to Russification. This factor, coupled with Estonia’s consolidated liberal democracy and working market economy, has led the country’s accession to the EU to be one of the most successful examples of an effective post-communist transition. EU accession has benefitted Estonia in terms of protection against the ever-lingering threat of Russia, but such benefits have not come without a cost. Estonia has struggled with treatment of minorities and refugees, while its support for EU integration has been tested by the rise of populism both within and beyond its borders.
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