What Final Frontiers for the European Union ? G raham Avery University of Iceland, Reykjavik 23 September 2008.

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  • What Final Frontiersfor the European Union ?

    Graham Avery

    University of Iceland, Reykjavik23 September 2008

  • ScenarioFollowing the EUs extension from 15 to 27 members, it continues its enlargement policy.The Western Balkan countries and Turkey are officially recognised as prospective members.Other countries in the European neighbourhood aspire to membership.What are the prospects for future enlargement? Where will the EUs final frontiers lie? Can they be decided in advance?

  • PublicationsAvery G., An Ever-Wider Europe? Where will the EUs borders end? Challenge Europe 16, European Policy Centre, Brussels, 2007 http://www.epc.eu/PDF/C16.pdfAvery G, EU Expansion and Wider Europe' in Bomberg E., Peterson J. & Stubb A. (ed.s), The European Union: How Does it Work? Oxford University Press, 2008 (chapter 9)

  • Enlargement of EU : why?Magnetic attraction of European model of integration since 1957 Countries continually knocking on the dooronly 10 years without applicantsEU increased from 6 to 27 membersfrom 20o million to 500 million peoplefrom 4 to 23 official languagesNow bigger thanUSA (300 m) Russia (140m) Japan (125m)Continental scale

  • Founders of EU expected expansionAny European state may apply to be a member (Treaty of Rome 1956)But subsequent extensions werenot planned: reactive, not proactivenot result of imperial ambitionnot predicted: who expected EU-27?So prudence now in forecasting future

  • Enlargement of EU : how ?Until 1993:no criteria for membershipno period of preparationThen Copenhagen criteria:political (democracy, rule of law, human rights, protection of minorities)economic (functioning market economy)administrative (capacity to apply acquis)

  • Conditionalitymonitoring of progress: regular reportslink with accession negotiationsleverage for political & economic reformTransformative power of EUEUs most successful foreign policybut enlargement is not external policy ...... its when the external becomes internalWidening & deepening: antithetical?Has more led to less?

  • Enlargement of EU : who ?Article 49: Any European state which respects the principles set out in Article 6 (1) may apply to become a member of the UnionArticle 6 (1) : The Union is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law

    Amsterdam Treaty 1997

  • Membership of EU is based on valuesYes, but EU was designed forever-closer union of peoplesnot for world governmentLogically, expansion must stop somewhereSo what are the limits of Europe?a debate demanded by politicians & publicbut not yet engaged ...enlargeophobes vs. enlargeophiles

  • What limits for Europe ?Geographical :Seas in North, West & South, but in East:Ural Mountains & Caspian Sea?but Europe is a peninsula of Asian land-massHistorical:Roman Empire? Charlemagne?Renaissance? Enlightenment?Cultural:Christianity?

  • The term European has not been officially defined. It combines geographical historical and cultural elements which all contribute to European identity. The shared experience of proximity, ideas, values, and historical interaction cannot be condensed into a simple formula, and is subject to review by each succeeding generation. It is neither possible nor opportune to establish now the frontiers of the European Union, whose contours will be shaped over many years to come

    European Commission 1992

  • But is it really impossible ?Towards a list of European statesCompare other European organisationsCouncil of Europe: 47 membersOrganisation for Cooperation & Security in Europe (OSCE): 56 membersThey have different aims &tasks than EU ...... but all EU members are signatories

  • Council of Europe27 European Union members plus:Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia (FYROM), Montenegro, SerbiaTurkeyIceland, Norway, SwitzerlandArmenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Russian Federation, UkraineAndorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino

  • OSCE47 Council of Europe members plus:Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, UzbekistanCanada, United States of AmericaHoly See (Vatican)

  • If we leave asideTransatlantic members of OSCE (Canada, USA)Central Asian members (Kazakhstan etc.)Mini-states (Andorra etc.)We have 17 states officially recognised as European which are not EU members6 Western Balkan countriesTurkey6 countries in European Neighbourhood Policy3 countries in European Free Trade AssociationRussia

  • EU-44 ?

  • How many members for EU ?EU-27 will not necessarily become EU-44:No state is obliged to applyEU is not obliged to accept an applicantNew states may be created (cf. Kosovo)States may leave EUBut this list of 17 does represent the outer limits of Europe as officially recognised in the first decade of the 21st century

  • Absorption capacity4th criterion agreed at Copenhagen in 1993:The Unions capacity to absorb new members, while maintaining the momentum of European integration, is an important consideration in the general interest of both the Union and the candidate countriesDemystified by Commission in 2006 , but European Council said pace of enlargement must take absorption capacity into accountQuestion: is Lisbon Treaty a condition for future expansion of EU?

  • The next frontiersIn short & medium term EU will limit its expansion to:6 countries of Western Balkans: membership promised by EU at Thessaloniki in 2003Turkey: accession uncertain, and in any case will take a long time3 EFTA countries (Iceland, Switzerland, Norway): if they apply, could join rapidly

  • Western Balkans6 countries (& Kosovo): 25 millionSlow progress to EU membershipHeritage of conflictUncertain frontiersExternal dependence - protectoratesBut what realistic alternative?Completely surrounded by EUNot whether, but when ...

  • TurkeyLongest wait: candidate since 1987Biggest candidate: 72m now, 85m in futureArguments in favour of membershipEconomics: rapid growth, labour forcePolitics: geostrategic position - yes, but ...Problems with membership criteriaMinorities, civil/military, freedom of expressionProblem of Cyprus

  • EFTA: The forgotten enlargementNorways membership of EU2 Treaties signed, but 2 referendums said noSwitzerlands membership of EUapplication made in 1992, but withdrawnIcelands membership of EU? a question of debate in IcelandEuropean Economic AreaEUs closest relationship with neighbours

  • The final frontiersIn longer term EU may consider as potential members the East European countriesUkraine, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, BelarusPresently in EUs Neighbourhood Policyan accession-neutral relationshipBut Russias invasion of Georgia has new implications both for NATO & for EU

  • Russia ?Idea of EU membership mentioned by leaders on both sides (Yeltsin, Berlusconi)But is membership feasible with Russiasself-image as a great power ?population of 140 million ?In terms of values, Russia today seems to be moving away from EUBut maybe one day ... ?

  • Decide EUs final frontiers now ?Not possible: enlargement needs unanimityexisting EU members have differing viewsNot rational: other options not yet clearstrategic partnership?enhanced Neighbourhood Policy?Not desirable: definition of limits woulddiscourage states excludeddiminish leverage for states included

  • ConclusionFinal limits are likely to resultnot from strategic choice made in advancebut from successive political decisions & eventsPolicy of constructive ambiguityneither yes nor no to future enlargementBut EU must keep its door open for other Europeans to join us in the construction of the European house

  • What Final Frontiersfor the European Union ?

    Graham Avery

    University of Iceland, Reykjavik23 September 2008

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