«A thesis submitted to the Department of Political Science and International Studies of the University of Birmingham for the degree of Doctor of ...»
It is claimed that the cornerstone of the ENP is to enable the Union to maximise the opportunities offered by the 2004 Enlargement by enhancing the relations with the EU‟s new neighbours on the basis of shared values.38 According to the ENP Strategy Paper: “The privileged relationship with neighbours will build upon mutual commitment to common values principally within the fields of the rule of law, good governance, the respect for human rights, including minority rights, the promotion of good neighbourly relations, and the principle of market economy and sustainable development.” 39 The officials of the 36 Olli Rehn, EU Enlargement and the Western Balkans, SPEECH/ 06/85, 15.02.2006, p. 5 37 Thomas Diez, „Constructing the Self and Changing Others: Reconsidering „Normative Power Europe‟‟, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 33: 3 (2005), pp. 613-636, p. 628 38 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. The challenges and contradictions this has created for the EU foreign policy in the Mediterranean are explored in Michelle Pace, „Norm Shifting from EMP to ENP: the EU as a Norm Entrepreneur in the South?‟, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 20: 4 (2007), pp. 659-675 39 European Commission, European Neighbourhood Policy - Strategy Paper, COM (2004) 373 final, 12.05.
2004, p. 3 242 Commission in their public appearances repeat this basic principle. 40 The Commission Communication “Wider Europe – Neighbourhood: a New Framework for Relations with our Eastern and Southern Neighbours”, refers to the EU‟s Charter of Fundamental Rights when setting out the following values: respect for human rights and the rule of law;
democracy. 41 According to Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner, the values that shape today‟s EU are good governance, the rule of law, respect for human rights and democracy. So, what is evident from all this, is that the “common values” that the ENP promotes are in fact the basic values on which the European Union is founded. However, as the measures envisaged to be undertaken in the Action Plans 42 indicate, it is an exaggeration to say that at present the partner countries in the ENP are perceived as having successfully implemented these values in their social, economic, or legal systems. In fact, Commission documents on the ENP envisage several main directions in which the spread of the “common values” is promoted. These will be outlined here on the basis of the EU/ Ukraine and the EU/ Tunisia Action Plans.
Both Action Plans present the following main areas as priorities for reform actions in Tunisia and Ukraine: democracy, rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms;
economic and social reform and development; trade, market and regulatory reform;
cooperation in justice and home affairs; transport, energy, information society and environment; people-to-people contacts.43 There is a difference in the way the specific actions that need to be undertaken are worded between the two Action Plans. The Ukrainian one uses more extensively the aim of implementing reforms in political dialogue (democracy, rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms) in accordance with the “European standards”. 44 The Tunisian Plan refers to the international and the UN legal 40 See for example the speech by Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner, Europe’s Neighbours – Towards Closer Integration, SPEECH/05/253, 22.04.2005; Günter Verheugen, The Neighbourhood Policy of the European Union: an Opportunity for Tunisia, SPEECH/04/33, 22.01.2004 41 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, in footnote 2 42 For a sample of the provisions of the ENP Action Plans see EU/ Ukraine and EU/ Tunisia Action Plans available respectively at http://ec.europa.eu/world/enp/pdf/action_plans/ukraine_enp_ap_final_en.pdf and http://ec.europa.eu/world/enp/pdf/action_plans/tunisia_enp_ap_final_en.pdf, both accessed on 28.08.2006 43 Ibid.
44 http://ec.europa.eu/world/enp/pdf/action_plans/ukraine_enp_ap_final_en.pdf, accessed on 28.08.2006 243 framework on these issues.45 However, even in the Tunisian Acton Plan there is reference to the need to bring the national standards in line with the EU and international ones, although this is usually concerning more technical issues, such as industrial products or reform in the tax system. 46 Furthermore, the introduction of the Tunisia/ EU Action Plan reads: “… with a view to bringing Tunisian economic, social, and science structures more into line with those of the Union. The process also advances and supports the approximation of Tunisian legislation, norms and standards with those of the Union in the areas covered by the plan.” 47 Therefore, arguably EU officials (including the members of the Commission who develop the policy proposals and implement them once they are adopted) see the ENP above all as a good instrument for spreading throughout the EU‟s neighbouring countries these particular values.
However, if the ENP partner countries do not share these values, they emerge from Commission discourse as the “Other” who should be taught the superior EU values and practices. Hence, the ENP in fact serves as a very good example for the latter three strategies for articulating the “Other”. The Action Plans of the Commission outline quite detailed measures necessary for each partner-country to undertake in order to bring its political or economic systems more in tune with those of the EU‟s. In turn, this will eventually enable the partners to enjoy the envisaged participation in the internal market of the EU. However, this clearly marks a border between us and them. This is the case because these actions imply that EU standards are in fact universal and the partnercountries have to undertake certain actions in order to ensure their adherence to these values and norms. Even if the suggestion is not that these are universal, there is clearly the feeling that the EU‟s way for doing things is better and therefore it is necessary to ensure that the neighbouring countries will take it on board. In sum, a very likely effect of these articulations is that it will feed a mindset for both – EU citizens and citizens of the neighbouring countries that contributes to the emergence of an identity border between them. This will be a result of enunciations according to which from an EU citizen‟s point of 45 http://ec.europa.eu/world/enp/pdf/action_plans/tunisia_enp_ap_final_en.pdf, accessed on 28.08.2006 46 Ibid., particularly the sections on Taxation and the medium term objectives on the technical rules, conformity evaluation standards and procedures in the EU harmonised sectors.
244 view, the “Other” is the person outside the current external border of the Union either because this is the person who is very likely to pose some sort of (usually soft) security threat to the EU‟s way of life or because he/ she still needs to be included in the better system of the EU‟s values and norms. In this light the widely spread negative attitude of the EU population towards any possible inclusion of the Eastern neighbourhood countries as full members of the Union is hardly surprising since they are the “Other” who is posing a threat to us, who we should protect ourselves from.
This construction of the Neighbourhood as the “Other” is of paramount importance.
Although at some level all policies inevitably create “Others”, as the first reading of the Commission discourse on the ENP showed, the over-arching aim of this policy is exactly to prevent the emergence of divisions between the EU and its neighbourhood. Therefore, the fact that Commission documents construct the neighbours as the “Other” constitutes them as different, which results in continuous distancing of the EU from its partner-countries.
This in turn subverts the policy altogether because it creates a paradoxical situation in which there is a contradiction between the asserted aims and the actions undertaken, which makes the former unachievable.48 As the articulations of the European Commission on the ENP discussed in the second reading show, they do not do anything to effectively alleviate this situation. On the contrary, these are good empirical examples of this paradoxical situation. Arguably, they are contributing to further deepening the already existing predispositions, which contributes to the establishment of a sharply defined identity border between the EU and its neighbourhood. This is effectively precluding the achievement of the policy‟s insisted on aims because it constitutes the construction of borders.
6.4.2. The Commission ENP discourse as constructing the territorial border of the EU This tendency towards the construction of borders is further confirmed with other articulations of the Commission that can be read as contributing towards the emergence of important new territorial borders at the external EU edges. Again, this is despite the claim 48 Another study that engages with these issues in the Mediterranean is Michelle Pace, „Norm Shifting from
EMP to ENP: the EU as a Norm Entrepreneur in the South?‟, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 20:
4 (2007), pp. 659-675 245 that the ENP is launched in order to avoid the creation of new dividing lines. Instead, the policy itself is an important dividing line, and hence, a border. The reason for this is simple.
The mere decision over which countries participate in the ENP creates an important territorially fixed differentiation. This inevitably works towards creating different types of countries/ entities in respect of their relationship with the EU, and more their prospects for membership in the Union. This is a result of the fact emphasised by Prodi that the EU cannot go on enlarging forever, since this will bring the danger of watering down the European political project. Hence, he maintains that: “We need a debate in Europe to decide where the limits of Europe lie.”49 Article 49 of the Treaty of the EU stipulates that any European country may apply for membership and on this basis some Eastern European states have expressed a clear
desire to join the Union. However, the Wider Europe Communication claims that in reality:
“… any decision on further EU expansion awaits a debate on the ultimate geographic limits of the Union.”50 In fact, membership of the ENP can be read as an indication of where these ultimate geographical limits will lie. These articulations acquire even greater importance when another fact is taken into account - that the countries of the Western Balkans (or South Eastern Europe): Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Albania 51 are dealt with in a separate framework. The really significant distinction between these two groups of states is their prospect for full EU membership. 52 In this respect, while the Eastern European neighbours of the EU are offered a “privileged partnership” (which falls short of EU membership), the countries in the Western Balkans officially have an opportunity for EU membership. As Prodi asserts: “The integration of the Balkans into the European Union will complete the unification of the continent, and we have held out this prospect to them. Although there is 49 Romano Prodi, A Wider Europe – a Proximity Policy as the Key to Stability, SPEECH/02/619, 05.12.2002, p. 3 (emphasis in the original) 50 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 51 The list is taken from http://www.euractiv.com/en/enlargement/eu-western-balkans-relations/articleaccessed on 05.09.2006 52 See for example „Wider Europe‟ a document prepared jointly by Chris Patten and Javier Solana, available at http://ec.europa.eu/world/enp/pdf/_0130163334_001_en.pdf, accessed on 18.08.2006, point 2 246 still a long way to go, the Balkans belong to Europe. The process of integrating them will create a sort of bridge between enlargement and neighbourhood policy.” 53 Furthermore, the clear commitment of the EU to the accession into the Union of the countries of the Western Balkans is indicated by the organisation‟s documents and the speeches of its officials. For example, the current President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso has declared: “… there can be no doubt about our joint objective: full EU membership for Croatia.”54; on the day of the official opening of their Stabilisation and Accession Agreement negotiations the Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn has maintained, in relation to Bosnia and Herzegovina that: “Your country has a clear European perspective, which today becomes even more concrete and tangible.” 55 The European perspective for the Western Balkans is also confirmed in a number of EU documents. 56 The Commission was not the sole actor deciding over the issue of the integration of the Western Balkans. However, the instrument for implementing the EU‟s policy for its relations with this region is the Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP). The prerogatives of the Commission of proposing and implementing policies within SAP make it an actor that has a significant contribution to the over-all decision-making process. Furthermore, as the above articulations indicate, in the Commission discourse there is no attempt of advancing an alternative vision (for example arguing for the necessity to accept the East European Neighbourhood countries) or of at least disagreeing with the current thinking on the issue of future Enlargement. Due to this silence in the Commission discourse on this issue it can be argued that it endorses these articulations and as a result contributes to the establishment of this particular territorial border at the external edges of the Union.