Central Europe, the New Allies? The Road from Visegrad to Brussels

Central Europe, the New Allies? The Road from Visegrad to Brussels

Central Europe, the New Allies? The Road from Visegrad to Brussels

Central Europe, the New Allies? The Road from Visegrad to Brussels

Excerpt

"You are not left alone, neither today nor tomorrow." Manfred Wörner, Secretary General of NATO NATO Seminar, Warsaw, April 1992

Security can be divided into two components: External and internal. Security risks, too, are made up of these two components. Thus, the arrival of a large number of refugees may further undermine the already precarious stability of a country. After the outbreak of the civil war in Yugoslavia (1991) over 40,000 people from Vojvodina and Croatia fled to Hungary. This was a heavy burden on the economy, which was in the process of being reformed. When the conflict escalated and spread to Bosnia-Herzegovina (1992) the number of refugees rose dramatically and caused social tensions in the countries in the region. Western Europe is now being confronted with massive flows of refugees for the first time since World War II. The population of Germany had mixed feelings about the arrival of tens of thousands of refugees and asylum-seekers. The German government was forced to adopt a stricter policy if only to preclude more violence against foreigners by right-wing radicals and neofascists. Foreigners suffered discrimination and even life-threatening attacks by these groups on the extreme right, who operate mostly in former communist East Germany.

The internal risks in Central Europe stem directly from the transition from communist regimes to market economies. Inadequate and outdated legislation, a lack of democratic traditions, populism, growing nationalism and the emergence of "the new capitalists," who play the market game only to enrich themselves instead of helping to build up the economy, all . . .

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