Legal and Political Perspectives
Edited by Panos Koutrakos
Chapter 5: The European Union as an international actors and progressive experimentation in its neighbourhood
5. The European Union as an international actor and progressive experimentation in its neighbourhood Bart Van Vooren INTRODUCTION: THE NATURE OF THE EU AS AN INTERNATIONAL ACTOR In the European Security Strategy (ESS) of December 2003 ‘building security in our neighbourhood’ was posited as a key strategic objective for the European Union.1 The forthcoming enlargement of May 2004 would ‘bring the EU closer to troubled areas’2 and was the main driving force for drawing up a European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) to attain that objective. According to the ESS the Union should promote a ring of well-governed countries to the East and South with whom it could enjoy ‘close and cooperative relations’. The approach set out to that end was ‘to extend the benefits of economic and political cooperation to our neighbours ... while tackling political problems there’.3 Beyond that broad statement, the strategic objectives of the ENP have been subject to much debate and they were certainly not set in stone.4 In December 2002 Romano Prodi described the ‘Wider Europe Initiative’ as seeking to ‘share everything but institutions’ with the neighbours, and the centrepiece would be a common market as well as far-reaching cooperation in common political challenges.5 The first Commission strategy paper of 2003 famously stated that the neighbours should be offered the prospect of ‘the stake in the internal market and further integration and liberalisation to promote the free movement of persons, goods, services and capital’. On this 1 ‘European Security Strategy, A Secure Europe in a Better World’,...
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