What future for EU enlargement policy?
The Enlargement has been on the EEC/EU agenda all along its history and was believed to be its “most successful” policy. Although enlargement policy was built on values and rules, geopolitics have traditionally been a strong driving force behind it, while tension between widening and deepening has always been present. The fifth enlargement was instrumentalised by the prevailing policies of extreme neoliberalism causing public opinion reaction and nurturing “enlargement fatigue”. The implicit enlargement agenda in the neighbourhood policy has been put to the service of anti-Russian strategies which have utterly failed while jeopardising good neighbourly relations with Moscow and contributing to the negative turn of the Putin regime. During the last decade, enlargement policy has rapidly degenerated and today it is essentially at a standstill in all three of its dimensions (Balkans, Turkey, European neighbourhood countries). This is a negative development both for the EU and its neighbours. The revival of the policy is conditional upon a necessary, but improbable, major shift in the EU, with the strengthening of solidarity.
Author: Axel Sotiris Wallden