«A thesis submitted to the Department of Political Science and International Studies of the University of Birmingham for the degree of Doctor of ...»
This has also prompted the above-mentioned on-going debate about the limits of the EU. 9 Thus, since the early 2000s the ENP became the new tool for dealing with these issues.
Despite the fact that this policy does not envisage full EU membership for the partner countries, and therefore, is in some respects a departure from the logic of Enlargement, in other ways it is a continuation of it. Paramount in that respect is that the ENP just as the Enlargement envisages addressing the security threats for the EU by engaging with its neighbours. The overall aims of the Action Plans are concurring with the Copenhagen criteria and their implementation is reminiscent of the accession negotiations of the 1990s.
Therefore, the ENP, just as the Enlargement, can achieve its aims by transforming the borders between the EU and its neighbours through diminishing the visibility of the dividing line. 10 However, the European Security Strategy demonstrates that the overriding logic of the ENP is that the world outside the borders of the EU is disordered. Furthermore, because the disorder of this world is threatening to destroy the ordered world inside the EU, it must undertake due action so that it can protect itself from the outside dangers. The envisaged way of doing this is to neutralise the risks arising from the disorder through the spread of the EU‟s order. This line of thinking, as I demonstrate below has crucial implications that 9 See for example European Commission, Wider Europe - Neighbourhood: a New Framework for Relations with our Eastern and Southern Neighbours, COM (2003) 104 final, 11.03.2003, p. 5; Romano Prodi, A Wider Europe – a Proximity Policy as the Key to Stability, SPEECH/02/619, 05.12.2002; Eneko Landaburu, From Neighbourhood to Integration Policy: are There any Alternatives to Enlargement? held at CEPS Conference “Revitalizing Europe”, available at http://ec.europa.eu/world/enp/pdf/060223_el_ceps_en.pdf, accessed on 21.08.2006; Benita Ferrero-Waldner, European Neighbourhood Policy, SPEECH/06/149, 07.03.2006 10 Nevertheless, the inclusion that will be achieved if the aims of the ENP are met will be of different nature since the partner countries are not envisaged to become full EU members. This prompts a peculiar tension between inclusion and exclusion in the ENP. Examples of studies that have pointed out the inclusionexclusion tension are Stephan Stetter, „Theorizing the European Neighbourhood Policy: Debordering and Rebordering in the Mediterranean‟, EUI Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, Working Paper RSCAS No. 34, 2005 and James Wesley Scott, „The EU and „Wider Europe‟: Towards an Alternative Geopolitics of Regional Cooperation?‟, Geopolitics, 10: 3 (2005), pp. 429- 454 231 lead to an ambiguous configuration of EU and European borders because it obstructs the successful diminishment of the visibility of the border between the EU and its neighbourhood.11 This reasoning has also inspired the particular way in which the ENP functions. In order to achieve the goal of establishing an ever-closer relationship with the Neighbourhood countries, the EU and each partner country reach agreement on reform objectives across a wide range of fields within certain “common” areas such as cooperation on political and security issues, economic and trade matters, mobility, and so on. Crucially, in support of the partner‟s own efforts towards the fulfillment of these goals, the EU provides financial and technical assistance. This arrangement advances a perception of the relationship that although at pains to emphasise the equality between the parties, still retains the dynamic of a senior (EU) – junior (partner-country) hierarchy. From the EU side the actual establishment of the relationship with the partner-country (or Territory in the case of Palestine) proceeds in two stages. Firstly, the Commission prepares a Report that assesses the political and economic situation and the institutional aspects of the possibility to have a relationship with this entity. Once the Council adopts it, an individually negotiated Action Plan is agreed with the partner. The Action Plans define the agenda of political and economic reforms by means of short and medium-term (3-5 years) priorities. A subcommittee formed by the EU and the specific country monitor the implementation of the mutual commitments and objectives of the Action Plan. Starting from 2006, the Commission regularly publishes its reports on the progress achieved. 12 Thus, in this policy area the Commission is mainly the implementer of decisions taken by the Council. This is an important difference to the major role the Commission has in the other policy areas included in this study, where its primary function, as we saw, is to initiate legislation. Thus, in the ENP, the Commission is the channel through which the negotiating, signing and monitoring of the implementation of the Action Plans are 11
A study that engages in-depth with this ambiguity and its causes is Ruben Zaiotti, „Of Friends and Fences:
Europe‟s Neighbourhood Policy and the Gated Community Syndrome‟, Journal of European Integration, 29:
2 (2007), pp. 143-162 12 This summary of the way the ENP functions is based on http://ec.europa.eu/world/enp/howitworks_en.htm, accessed 11.05.2009 232 conducted. However, this leaves open the question of what the role of the Commission is and how as an institution it configures borders in the ENP. This question is crucial, given that, as I argued in Chapter Two, when the external borders of the Union are concerned, the Commission can be expected to promote the construction of borders. The discussion in Chapter Three provided one example of how the Commission has contributed to the construction and reconstruction of EU‟s external borders, thus offering valuable empirical material in support of Neo-functionalists‟ anticipation of Commission promotion of the emergence of EU‟s external borders.
However, in the field of border controls one can argue that the Commission has had a very limited ability to advance successfully a position promoting lesser visibility of borders, given the decision-making structure and the preferences of the member states.
Arguably this is not the case with the ENP. Although the preferences of the member states and the decision-making process are still unfavourable for the Commission, the successful achievement of the main aims of the ENP presupposes altering borders. This should be a fertile ground on which the Commission could (if that was its goal) advance a stance that blurs the distinction between the EU and its neighbourhood by utilising the prerogatives it is charged with in the third pillar. Despite that, as the analysis below shows, the Commission discourse on the ENP does not contain an indication that it has tried to do this.
Instead, as far as the configuration of EU borders is concerned, just as in the case of border controls, the Commission discourse endorses and reproduces the assumptions on which articulations are based. In doing this, contrary to the aims of the ENP, the Commission configures borders ambiguously, thus contributing to border construction and reconstruction instead of preventing their emergence.
The Commission can base a more radical stance building on the two core articulations of what the aim of the ENP is. Its “Wider Europe” Communication, on which the policy is founded, maintains that in order to successfully respond to the challenges the EU currently faces, it has to: “avoid drawing new dividing lines in Europe and to promote stability and prosperity within and beyond the new borders of the Union”13 and to: “aim to 13 European Commission, Wider Europe - Neighbourhood: a New Framework for Relations with our Eastern and Southern Neighbours, COM (2003) 104 final, 11.03.2003, p. 4 (emphasis in the original) 233 develop a zone of prosperity and a friendly neighbourhood – a „ring of friends‟ – with whom the EU enjoys close, peaceful and co-operative relations.”14 These aims require that the visibility of current borders that mark the divisions between the EU and its neighbours be altered through enhanced relations with the neighbourhood countries. 15 Thus, although these two formulations acknowledge that borders will not disappear, they envisage much closer cooperation, which in turn should blur the distinction between the EU and its neighbours, thus significantly reducing the visibility of the dividing line. Hence, these are the main articulations that configure borders. In turn, the Commission can utilise these clear policy aims in an effort to advancea more radical position that promotes increased and eased interaction between the EU and its neighbourhood. As I show in the next section, on the surface Commission articulations show a trend that contributes to the establishment of this common zone, thus implying an alteration in the current visibility of borders.
6.3. The Trend towards De-bordering in the Commission ENP Discourse The trend in Commission ENP discourse towards decreasing the salience of the external EU borders is evident in articulations that configure identity, functional and territorial borders. These express the current thinking on how the aims of the ENP can be achieved in practice. The key formulations that enunciate it are well summarised in the Commission ENP Strategy Paper. Therefore, in the table below, I display these formulations as well as the incentives and the policy tools through which the EU envisages the implementation of the ENP‟s Action Plans. 16
14 Ibid. (emphasis in the original) 15 Ibid. (emphasis in the original) 16 A good summary of the areas covered in the Action Plans is also available in European Commission, Beyond Enlargement: Commission Shifts European Neighbourhood Policy into Higher Gear, IP/04/632, 12.05.2004.
235 The measures envisaged in the Strategy Paper include a broad variety of undertakings that promote the inclusion of the EU‟s neighbours into different aspects of the policy areas in question. The idea is that over time, if successful, this will have very similar effects to those of European integration and the relationship between the two parties will resemble the relations the EU currently has with the countries of the EEA. 17 Although the latter officially are not members of the EU, they participate in most of its policies. Thus, it is anticipated that the measures undertaken within the ENP will result in decreasing the salience of borders between the EU and its neighbouring states. This will be achieved through privileging inclusion at the expense of exclusion, which will lead to blurring the dividing line between the Union and its neighbourhood, thus leading to achieving the policy‟s aims and to unification of the continent.
Furthermore, as I said above, these articulations configure identity, functional and territorial borders. From the above formulations and policy aims, the goal of promoting cultural, educational and general societal links between the EU and its neighbours has the greatest potential to contribute to the emergence of a feeling of common identity in the area. This is the case because the possibility of knowing each other will allow (in a positive scenario) people to discover that they are not all that different after all. Furthermore, forging links between institutions (cultural, educational and so on) will enable the transfer of practices, which in the medium to long-term in theory can also contribute to the perception of shared identity, which, in turn, will diminish the importance of current borders. Also, the approximation of legislation and the gradual convergence of practices and policies over time can have similar effects. 18 As far as territorial and functional borders are concerned, the envisaged improved access to each other‟s markets in a number of areas (economic, research and education, movement of people) is a way of removing current 17 EEA comprises the members of the EU and the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) (Norway, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, and Iceland) and was created in order to allow the EFTA countries to participate in the EU‟s single market.
18 A contribution that explores the development of this side of the EU – Neighbourhood relations is Michelle Pace, „People-to-People: Education and Culture‟ in Katja Weber, Michael Smith, Michael Baun (eds), Governing Europe’s Neighbourhood: Partners or Periphery? (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2007), pp. 156-175 236 physical, legal and administrative obstacles to mobility. If achieved in practice, the aim of establishing a common area between the EU and its neighbouring countries will start taking shape.