dark histories, brighter futures? the balkans and black sea region: european union frontiers, war...
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Dark Histories, Brighter Futures?The Balkans and Black Sea Region:European Union Frontiers, War Crimesand Confronting the PastJames GowPublished online: 05 Sep 2007.
To cite this article: James Gow (2007) Dark Histories, Brighter Futures? The Balkans and Black SeaRegion: European Union Frontiers, War Crimes and Confronting the Past, Southeast European andBlack Sea Studies, 7:3, 345-355, DOI: 10.1080/14683850701565700
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Southeast European and Black Sea StudiesVol. 7, No. 3, September 2007, pp. 345355
ISSN 14683857 (print)/ISSN 17439639 (online) 2007 Taylor & FrancisDOI: 10.1080/14683850701565700
Dark Histories, Brighter Futures? The Balkans and Black Sea Region: European Union Frontiers, War Crimes and Confronting the PastJames Gow
Taylor and Francis LtdFBSS_A_256427.sgm10.1080/14683850701565700Southeast European and Black Sea Studies1468-3857 (print)/1743-9639 (online)Original Article2007Taylor & Francis73000000September 2007Professor JamesGowjames.email@example.com
When Romania and Bulgaria acceded to the European Union (EU) in 2007, theyformed a cordon connecting Greece physically with the remainder of the Union for thefirst time, while either side of that cordon lay the frontier lands of the Unions NewNeighbourhood (EC n.d.):1 the range of countries spanning the western Balkans andthe Black Sea, where the underlying strategic logic of the Union, partnership andenlargement, will find their next challenges. The territories stretching from the easternedges of the Adriatic Sea across to the countries bordering the eastern coast of the BlackSea constitute a significant part of the EUs new neighbourhood. At the same time,those lands are marked by a peculiar shared history of challenged statehood, war and,above all, atrocity. As the EU has been instrumental in, or a function of, addressing andovercoming the legacies of war, it should be well placed to encourage similar develop-ments in the Balkan and Black Sea region via the prospect of association with the Union.Certainly, there can be no prospect that any of the countries of the Balkan and BlackSea region will be eligible for membership of the Union if the legacy of war and atrocity,particularly in the recent past, continues to cast a shadow. Thus, there is an intersectionbetween the issues of peace and justice in the broad northeast Mediterranean region,and the security policy requirements already emerging for the EU in that region.
The Balkan and Black Sea New Neighbourhood will be at the heart of debates onfuture enlargement at, or immediately following, a time when the very nature of theUnion, its future direction and, particularly, further enlargement face a critical junc-ture following the rejection of the proposed EU Constitutional Treaty in referendumsin France and the Netherlands. While technically rejections of the Constitution, these
Correspondence to: James Gow, Department of War Studies, Kings College London, Strand, London WC2R 2LS,UK. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
346 J. Gow
votes were widely interpreted as general dissatisfaction with developments in theUnion, including the prospect of enlargement to include Turkey, following agreementto open accession talks with Ankara in 2004. The logic of the EU entails some form offuture enlargement to spread security and stability in order to preserve the zone ofsecurity and stability on which existing members of the Union depend. At the sametime, both as a matter of substance and as a possible pretext for those seeking to blockenlargement for other reasons, the record of atrocity and absence of contrition andreconciliation, let alone continuing unresolved conflicts, would be an obstacle toenlargement. There will be a dilemma for the Union. It will need to continue the pathof using its influence and the prospect of membership to encourage further securityand stability at its borders necessary to the prosperity of the EU; yet, in doing so it willcreate a new range of potential candidate countries. Once it does this, it will face inter-nal resistance to further enlargement. The war crimes legacy in the Balkan and BlackSea region will be a pivotal feature in those discussions and debates.
There are two planks on which the proposed study is based therefore. The first is theassumption that the logic of the EUs strategic development means further enlargementand partnership, widening the zone of peace and stability that the EU has been instru-mental in creating and which it needs for its security and future evolution. The secondis that there is a broad northeast Mediterranean, southeast European, Balkan and BlackSea zone that is the EUs New Neighbourhood, but the history of which is characterisedby atrocity and war crimesa legacy that will need to be addressed before substantiveprogress on partnership or membership can be made. These issues are addressed in thefollowing sections.
Partnership, Engagement and Stability
Partnership and engagement developed successfully to stabilise the European continentduring the 1990s. The EUs New Neighbourhood Policy was introduced in May 2004(EC n.d.; Samson n.d.).2 The following December, the European Commissionannounced action plans for closer ties with seven new neighbours. These countrieswere Ukraine, Moldova, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and the Palestinian Authority.However, the immediate issues that prompted this first round of candidates for EUattention did not mean that others would not follow. Already, in March 2005, theCommission issued country reports on Egypt and Lebanon, as well as Armenia,Azerbaijan and Georgia. And for some years before this, the EU had been involved withthe countries of the Western Balkans, as the former Yugoslav lands minus Slovenia plusAlbania had come to be known. While these were not formally associated with theNeighbourhood Policy, it was clear that, in practice, they had already been subject tothe same kind of EU policy over the years. While some of the New Neighbourhood coun-tries were on the southern and eastern littorals of the Mediterranean Sea, suggesting thatthe scope for EU development was extensive, the others were around the Black Sea. And,while the other countries represented an entirely new phase of EU policy developmentand relationships, the Black Sea countries, along with the Balkan ones, were in the frontline of an evolutionary process that had seen the EUs being instrumental in fostering
Southeast European and Black Sea Studies 347
and engineering post-communist transition in Central and Eastern Europe. Thenext waves in that process were destined to cover the Balkans and the Black Sea, whichwere split by the isthmus of Bulgaria and Romania, when those countries joined theUnion.
Partnership and enlargement approaches, policies and patterns developed duringthe 1990s as the EU, NATO and their member states sought to stabilise and embracethe former communist parts of the European continent. While NATO was assumedinitially to be in the background on approaches to Central and East Europe, from 1994onwards, its Partnership for Peace Programme became the leading element in forgingnew relations with the countries of that region. By 1997, when NATO was ready toinvite three countries (Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic) to join it in a firstwave of post-Cold War enlargement, the EU too was rapidly developing partnershipsand associations throughout the region and an