Challenges of further enlargement in front of the European Union

Katarzyna Sosnowska

It seems that the European Union is interested primarily in economic relations with the countries of the ENP, the enlargement policy is not a priority for Member States.  However, if the extension would have taken place, the focus should be on the development of future candidates, so that they could become an equal partners to the current Member States. Statistics show that they are in a much weaker economic condition in comparison to the state which acceded to the EU in 2004, at the time when they were candidates.

In my personal opinion, an important challenge is also to show to Member States that the enlargement brings the benefits for them. In the extension process future members will go through transformation and will no longer be a source of threats. Accession of the Western Balkan region can help to stabilize the area at the EU’s borders, going further, this may result in an overall improvement of safety. Another challenges can appear, i.e. problem of effective foreign policy in times of crisis. If the EU wants to achieve uniformity, must solve internal problems, such as the threat of breakdown by Member State of first and second category. It may look like the EU is trying to earn something for itself without giving a clear offer back, knowing that EU is still the only perspective for the Western Balkans. The transparent position, explicit by Member States, putting a clear, detailed and specific tasks is needed. That can help to reduce uncertainty in the relations with ENP countries.

Taking into account reports on the implementation of the ENP the first signs are encouraging, however, to consolidate this process it is necessary to make a sustained effort. Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, Social Committee and Committee of Regions from May 2012 points a number of issues in which partner countries should increase their efforts to reform. There are also areas in which the EU should better implement its offer of assistance. One of them is the matter of building sustainable democracy in the ENP countries. It includes second challenge which id the fight against unemployment, social exclusion, inequality and poverty. These problems are among the main reasons for instability and unrest. For the process of democratization to be sustained, the problems must be solved. What shows parliamentary election in Georgia, much depends on the political situation in the country.

Facilitating mobility is perceived as another challenge for the EU. Creating partnerships for mobility and visa facilitations look like a proper way to reach that goal. As the Communication from the Commission states It will help to promote “objectives in the area of education, to promote business contacts, cultural exchange and people-to-people contact”.

There is no doubt that the most important things are to support the democratic transition and economic development which are a basic ground for another actions and stability. But on the other hand Member States have to face a huge difference in basic principles, existing on a cultural level.  It can be considered that facing all of these challenges can benefit not only for the ENP countries but also for the European Union itself. If Eastern Policy make a hit it will strengthen the role of the EU as a global player on the international stage.

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2 thoughts on “Challenges of further enlargement in front of the European Union

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