From the CIAO Atlas Map of Asia 

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CIAO DATE: 05/02

The Saviour and Other Europes—Identity, Interests, and Geopolitical Images of Europe in Estonia

Pami Aalto

Department of European Studies (Baltic Research Unit), University of Bradford, UK
Department of Political Science, University of Helsinki, Finland

International Studies Association
41th Annual Convention
Los Angeles, CA.
March 14-18, 2000


It is no secret that research on integration within the European Union (EU) is not any more limited to the traditional dispute between intergovernmentalism and neo-functionalism. The debate between these two branches of research is now joined by International Relations (IR) constructivism, comparative politics approaches, and approaches treating the EU as "new governance" (Christiansen et al. 1999: 537). The issue of EU enlargement, moreover, enforces us to enlarge the research agenda horizontally, too, in order to make EU integration comprehensible. One of the metaphors depicting this enlarged research agenda is the "Europe of concentric circles", with Brussels and EU institutions as the centre (Joenniemi 1993: 209-12). For Ola Tunander (1997: 32), the emerging perception in the EU centre is that it represents a "Cosmos" of order and peace. This "Cosmos" is surrounded by a concentric circle of less integrated EU members, then a circle of relatively stable states eager for joining the EU, an outer circle of states less prepared to do so, and finally, a periphery representing "Chaos"; a final frontier of Europe which is definitely not about to join the EU in the foreseeable future. Ole Wæver (1997), for his part, speaks of a "Europe of three empires". The EU is the most important empire, but it is accompanied by the "empire of the Tsars" — Russia and its sphere of interests — and the "empire of the Ottomans" — Turkey with its sphere of interests.