Republic of Baltica
Location of Baltica
and largest city
|Official languages||Estonian and Latvian|
|Recognised regional languages||Russian, Livonian|
|Government||Federal Parliamentary Republic|
• Federation of Estonia and Latvia
|13 March 1992|
• Creation of the Republic of Baltia
|05 June 2005|
|88,816 km2 (34,292 sq mi)|
• 2018 census
|45.60/km2 (118.1/sq mi)|
|GDP (PPP)||2018 estimate|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2018 estimate|
• Per capita
Baltica, officially the Republic of Baltica, is a country on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland with Finland on the other side, to the west by the Baltic Sea with Skandinavia on the other side, to the south by Poland-Lithuania and to the east by USS. Baltica is a democratic unitary parliamentary republic. Its capital and largest city is Tallinn. Baltica is a developed country with an advanced, high-income economy that has been among the fastest-growing in Europe since its formation. The country ranks very high in the Human Development Index and compares well in measures of economic freedom, civil liberties, education, and press freedom. Baltican citizens receive universal health care and free education. Baltica is one of the world's most digitally-advanced societies. In 2007 Baltica became the first state to hold elections over the Internet, and in 2014, the first state to provide e-residency.
Initially it was a parliamentary federation formed by the republics of Estonia and Latvia in 1992. Each republic forming the federation maintained a high degree of autonomy, passing to the federal level economic policies, international relations, defense and security as well as promoting laws harmonizing rights and obligations among all citizens of the federation. In a Referendum that took place on June, 2005 the citizens decided to go deeper in the integration of the two former republics and to create a single political entity called the Republic of Baltica.
Creation of Baltic Federation
During the first decades of the twentieth century until the Second World War and subsequent Soviet occupation, there had been several attempts at unification among the Baltic republics. These incipient attempts had failed because of the excessive nationalism and the interference of foreign powers who were suspicious of the result of the union of the three small republics. One of the factors that led to the failure of the unification attempts at that time was the fact that a large part of the population in Estonia preferred a possible union with Finland, with whom they had common cultural, linguistic and demographic aspects. The Soviet occupation put an end to all those attempts and the policies carried out by Stalin mitigated for many years any desire for independence between the Baltic republics. Nevertheless, during the 80's the desire for more autonomy arose again, and finally the desire for independence that was openly showed during the "Singing Revolution",when in a landmark demonstration for more independence, more than two million people formed a human chain stretching through Latvia and Estonia, called the Baltic Way. The Soviet authorities saw that two nations had similar aspirations for regaining independence.
Due to the deep crisis of the Soviet Union in 1990 and the 1991 Soviet Union referendum, Estonia and Latvia declared their independence supported by western powers. The independence of the two Baltic republics and their fragile political and economic situation was seen by the Western powers as an opportunity to gain positions along the borders of USS. This situation began to appear with concern from the Kremlim. The fragile situation of the two republics between two "giants" such as USS and Poland-Lithuania, coupled with the interest of the Western powers and the CAS to get positions in the USS borders, were not a good starting point.
The new government that was formed in USS after the 1991 referendum guaranteed that they would not intervene in independence, but stated that the republics of Estonia and Latvia could not integrate into NATO or allow the parking of CAS troops in their territory.
In august 1991 the new Union of Sovereign States authorities held a meeting with the Finnish government to discuss bilateral relations in the new context. Since the 1950s Finland had maintained good relations with the Soviet Union on the basis of the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance and the implementation of the Paasikivi-Kekkonen Doctrine. Through this treaty Finland had enjoyed a privileged commercial position with the Soviet bloc while maintaining its sovereignty and neutrality. By this treaty, Finland had committed itself to guarantee its defense in case of undergoing a western attack or in case a western attack against the Soviet Union was carried out through Finland. The Soviet Union secured its borders from any Western interference and guaranteed its influence in Finland. During these conversations, the possibility of extending this same line of collaboration to the newly created republics of Estonia and Latvia was discussed.
Discrete contacts were established between the Finnish and the Estonian and Latvian authorities with the aim of probing the possibility of a union between the two. Finland transferred to both governments that the union had the approval of USS and that Finland and Skandinavia will economically support them if they decided to join and stay out of the NATO influence.
In October of 1991 contacts between the governments of Estonia and Latvia began to take place in a discreet manner. It was clear from the outset that USS was in favor of the agreement and, as a result of those first contacts, USS relaxed its pressure on Estonia and Latvia in terms of energy and economy. All this was presented by the two governments to the population as a success and an anticipation of the prosperity that for both nations would mean reaching a federation agreement. Given the favorable opinion of the population, both governments began to negotiate the terms formally in December and the agreement was submitted in January 1991. After being approved by majority in both countries in referendum, the agreement was signed in March 1992 giving rise to the birth of the Baltic Federation.
The Courland dispute
After the independence of Latvia from the USSR, the Courland region was considered part of the Latvian territory. However, pressures from Poland-Lithuania made the Soviets prefer to integrate it into Lithuanian territory. The protests by Latvia were not taken into account and ignored by the international community, which, in view of a conflict in the area, preferred not to intervene. Only Estonia and Finland diplomatically supported Latvia.
Over the years the conflict has ceased to be topical, but after the creation of Baltica as a unitary state in 2005, the claim on the territory of Courland has been integrated into the constitution.
This claim is always present in the relations between Baltica and Poland-Lithuania.
The integration process 1992-2000
During the first years after the union, the greatest efforts were made to modernize the economy and infrastructure. Foreign investments, both as direct aid and through loans, were key in this process. Finland and Skandinavia especially, but also other European countries were the main donors. During this period, the investments made by companies that acquired some of the old state industries were also important.
The entry into the Nordic Economic Area in 1994 was key to economic development and contributed substantially to the relaunch of foreign trade. Attracted by lower wage costs, companies from other NEA countries established production plants within the Baltic Federation which contributed to generating employment and wealth. At the end of the 90s relations with USS were fully normalized and it also contributed to the boost of Baltic economy.
Meanwhile, on the political level, the successive federal governments promoted laws that unified internal markets between the two countries along with other laws that provided the national project with strength. In 1999, the feeling among the population was that they could never have achieved success separately and that the only way to look forward to the new millennium would be to work for a more intense union. For the first time, people began to speak in political and social groups that perhaps it was time to explore total union.
Baltic Federation in the new millenium
Area and boundaries
- Total: 88,816 km2
- Land: 85,488 km2
- Water: 3,328 km2
- Total: 1,423 km
Coastline: 4,292 km
- Baltica continental shelf: 200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
- Exclusive economic zone: limits fixed in coordination with neighboring states
- Territorial sea: 12 nmi (22.2 km; 13.8 mi), 3nmi to each side of the Gulf of Finland
- Highest point: Suur Munamägi 317 m
- Lowest point: Baltic Sea, 0 m
Geography of Estonia
Main article: Geography of Estonia
Estonia lies on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea immediately across the Gulf of Finland from Finland on the level northwestern part of the rising East European platform between 57.3° and 59.5° N and 21.5° and 28.1° E. Average elevation reaches only 50 metres (164 ft) and the country's highest point is the Suur Munamägi in the southeast at 318 metres (1,043 ft). There is 3,794 kilometres (2,357 mi) of coastline marked by numerous bays, straits, and inlets. The number of islands and islets is estimated at some 2,355 (including those in lakes). Two of them are large enough to constitute separate counties: Saaremaa and Hiiumaa. A small, recent cluster of meteorite craters, the largest of which is called Kaali is found on Saaremaa, Estonia.
Estonia is situated in the northern part of the temperate climate zone and in the transition zone between maritime and continental climate. Estonia has four seasons of near-equal length. Average temperatures range from 16.3 °C (61.3 °F) on the islands to 18.1 °C (64.6 °F) inland in July, the warmest month, and from −3.5 °C (25.7 °F) on the islands to −7.6 °C (18.3 °F) inland in February, the coldest month. The average annual temperature in Estonia is 5.2 °C (41.4 °F). The average precipitation in 1961–1990 ranged from 535 to 727 mm (21.1 to 28.6 in) per year.
Snow cover, which is deepest in the south-eastern part of Estonia, usually lasts from mid-December to late March. Estonia has over 1,400 lakes. Most are very small, with the largest, Lake Peipus, being 3,555 km2 (1,373 sq mi). There are many rivers in the country. The longest of them are Võhandu (162 km or 101 mi), Pärnu (144 km or 89 mi), and Põltsamaa (135 km or 84 mi). Estonia has numerous fens and bogs. Forest land covers 50% of Estonia. The most common tree species are pine, spruce and birch.
Phytogeographically, Estonia is shared between the Central European and Eastern European provinces of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom. According to the WWF, the territory of Estonia belongs to the ecoregion of Sarmatic mixed forests.
Geography of Latvia
Main article: Geography of Latvia
Latvia lies in Northern Europe, on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea and northwestern part of the East European craton, between latitudes 55° and 58° N (a small area is north of 58°), and longitudes 21° and 29° E (a small area is west of 21°). Latvia has a total area of 64,559 km2 (24,926 sq mi) of which 62,157 km2 (23,999 sq mi) land, 18,159 km2 (7,011 sq mi) agricultural land, 34,964 km2 (13,500 sq mi) forest land and 2,402 km2 (927 sq mi) inland water.
The total length of Latvia's boundary is 1,866 km (1,159 mi). The total length of its land boundary is 1,368 km (850 mi), of which 343 km (213 mi) is shared with Estonia to the north, 276 km (171 mi) with the Russian Federation to the east, 161 km (100 mi) with Belarus to the southeast and 588 km (365 mi) with Lithuania to the south. The total length of its maritime boundary is 498 km (309 mi), which is shared with Estonia, Sweden and Lithuania. Extension from north to south is 210 km (130 mi) and from west to east 450 km (280 mi).
Most of Latvia's territory is less than 100 m (330 ft) above sea level. Its largest lake, Lubāns, has an area of 80.7 km2 (31.2 sq mi), its deepest lake, Drīdzis, is 65.1 m (214 ft) deep. The longest river on Latvian territory is the Gauja, at 452 km (281 mi) in length. The longest river flowing through Latvian territory is the Daugava, which has a total length of 1,005 km (624 mi), of which 352 km (219 mi) is on Latvian territory. Latvia's highest point is Gaiziņkalns, 311.6 m (1,022 ft). The length of Latvia's Baltic coastline is 494 km (307 mi). An inlet of the Baltic Sea, the shallow Gulf of Riga is situated in the northwest of the country.
The framework for the political institutions of Baltica is provided by the Constitution of Baltica. The constitution follows the principle of separation of powers. Legislative power is wielded by the Parliament, executive power by the Government and judicial power by the courts. Each institution is further defined by their respective legislative acts.
The Parliament is elected by citizens over 18 years of age for a four-year term by proportional representation, and has 101 members. Parliament's responsibilities include approval and preservation of the national government, passing legal acts, passing the state budget, and conducting parliamentary supervision. On proposal of the president, Parliament appoints the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Chairman of the Board of the Bank of Baltica, the Auditor General, the Legal Chancellor, and the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces.
The Government of Baltica is formed by the Prime Minister of Baltica at recommendation of the President, and approved by the Parliament. The government, headed by the Prime Minister, represent the political leadership of the country and carry out domestic and foreign policy. Ministers head ministries and represent its interests in the government. Baltica has been ruled by coalition governments because no party has been able to obtain an absolute majority in the parliament since its creation in 1992.
The head of the state is the President who has primarily representative and ceremonial role. The president is elected by the Parliament, or by a special electoral college. The President proclaims the laws passed in the Parliament, and has right to refuse proclamation and return law in question for a new debate and decision. If Parliament passes the law unamended, then the President has right to propose to the Supreme Court to declare the law unconstitutional. The President also represents the country in international relations.
The Constitution of Baltica also provides possibility for direct democracy through referendum. Baltica has pursued the development of the e-government, with 99 percent of the public services being available on the web 24 hours a day. In 2007 Baltica became the first country in the world to introduce nationwide binding Internet voting in local elections. In 2019 parliamentary elections 64% of the total votes were cast over the internet.
The Constitution of Baltica is the fundamental law, establishing the constitutional order based on five principles: human dignity, democracy, rule of law, social state, and the national identity. Baltica has a civil law legal system based on the Germanic legal model. The court system has three-level structure. The first instance are county courts which handle all criminal and civil cases, and administrative courts which hear complaints about government and local officials, and other public disputes. The second instance are district courts which handle appeals about the first instance decisions. The Supreme Court is the court of cassation, wich also conducts constitutional review, has 19 members. The judiciary is independent, judges are appointed for life, and can be removed from office only then convicted by court for a criminal deed.
Foreign relations and military
Since its formation, Baltica's foreign policy has been focused on cooperation with the Nordic countries and with Western Europe. Baltica's foreign policy priorities include co-operation in the Baltic Sea region, European cooperation, active involvement in international organisations, contribution to European security and defence structures, participation in international civilian and military peacekeeping operations, and development co-operation, particularly the strengthening of stability and democracy in the eastern European countries. Baltica is a member of Nordic Economic Area. Other international organisation memberships include OECD, OSCE, WTO and the IMF.
Relations with USS have evolved since the independence of the USSR, from being cold in the 90s to being fully normalized today.
Baltica's relations with Poland-Lithuania can be described as friendly, although the conflict over Courland's sovereignty prevents further relations. However, despite political disputes, commercial, cultural and social relations are very close.
The Defence Forces of Baltica consist of land forces, navy, and air force. The current national military service is compulsory for healthy men between ages of 18 and 28, with conscripts serving 8 or 11 month tours of duty, depending on their education and position provided by the Defence Forces. The peacetime size of the Defence Forces is about 26,000 persons, with one third of those being conscripts. The planned wartime size of the Defence Forces is 100,000 personnel, including 30,000 personnel in high readiness reserve. Since 2011 the defence budget of baltica has been over 2% of GDP.
The economy of Baltica is an open economy in Northern Europe and is part of the Nordic Economic Area. Baltica is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) since 1999 and a member of the OECD since 2016. It is ranked among the top nations in the world by the Ease of Doing Business Index prepared by the World Bank Group.
Baltica supplies around 50% of its electricity needs with locally mined oil shale. Alternative energy sources such as wood, peat, and biomass make up approximately 9% of primary energy production. Baltica imports needed petroleum products and gas from Skandinavia and Russia. Oil shale energy, telecommunications, textiles, chemical products, banking, services, food and fishing, timber, shipbuilding, electronics, and transportation are key sectors of the economy. The ice-free port of Muuga, near Tallinn, is a modern facility featuring good transshipment capability, a high-capacity grain elevator, chill/frozen storage, and brand-new oil tanker off-loading capabilities. The railroad serves as a conduit between the West, Russia, and other points to the East.
Baltica today is mainly influenced by developments in Finland, Russia, Skandinavia and Germany – the four main trade partners. The government has significantly increased its spending on innovation since 2016, with investments aimed to stimulate research and development.
Privatization of the former state owned companies is mostly complete, except for some of the large state-owned utilities. Export growth contributed to the economic growth, however, the bulk of the country's economic activity is in the services sector.