The European Union as a security actor: security provision through enlargement

The European Union as a security actor: security provision through enlargement

Boyka Stefanova

It cannot be repeated often enough: the raison d’etre of the European project is to maintain stability, peace, and prosperity in Europe.

–Erik Holm (1)

The history of the European Union (EU) represents an intriguing security paradox. European integration was born out of the destruction of World War II. Its main rationale was to prevent the recurrence of conflict and devastation in Western Europe, although such objectives were never explicitly stated. Throughout the period of the cold war, regional integration unfolded as an evolutionary process of expansion across an increasing number of issue areas and participating countries. It successfully performed security functions without a formally defined security purpose. The true success of European integration was measured in economic growth, social welfare, and positive security dynamics among former adversaries in the regional system. The geopolitical position of Western Europe was significantly reinforced.

During the post–cold war era, under conditions of decreased direct military threats, the European Union (EU) (2) for the first time formulated a security interest, developed decision-making procedures, and created an institutionalized security domain. It continued to increase its stake in European security by extending an area of freedom, security, and justice in Europe. (3) The continued consolidation of the security position of the union throughout the 1990s was closely related to the historic reunification of the European continent and the democratization of Eastern Europe. By 1996, ten Central and East European countries (CEECs) had applied for EU membership. Enlargement to the east became the true modus operandi of integration–a meeting place of its goals for institutional expansion, the democratic transformation of Eastern Europe, and the stabilization of the entire regional system. The eastward enlargement has been a complex multidimensional process comprised of three elements: (1) accession of the countries from Central and Eastern Europe (now complete) and continued geographic expansion; (2) long-term integration strategy toward the Western Balkans; and (3) gradual development of a European Neighborhood Policy contributing to the democratization, openness, and political stabilization of countries in the periphery of the “Wider Europe.” (4)

Academic and public policy research has sought intuitively to elucidate the security implications of European integration. There is a consensus in the literature that the European Union is a nontraditional security actor. A number of authors regard it as the most important security institution in Europe. The EU has its own identity features, these authors argue. It attracts countries from the periphery. It participates in security creation for the whole of Europe, both independently and jointly with NATO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Security, therefore, has become indivisible from the EU’s integrative dynamics. (5) The security role of the union develops at three levels: an institutionalized security domain, the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP); an “external anchor” for the periphery; and direct military capacity. (6) According to Anders Bjurner, EU enlargement should be regarded as “perhaps the most important security-producing process taking place in Europe today.” (7)

At the same time, a variety of studies contend that the EU is not a meaningful security actor as, historically, security has been only an implicit integration objective and remains underdeveloped. The union continues to depend on NATO’s security umbrella and is at best one of several institutions relevant to European security. (8) Moreover, studies on the evolution of European order in the post-cold war era argue that EU integration cannot bring about the ultimate unification of Europe, as its enlargement mechanism creates new divisions vis-a-vis nonmembers in the wider periphery. (9)

Central in this discussion is the presence of an assumption with respect to the viability of the EU’s security component–that is, whether a security rationale is inherent to the integration project and whether the EU can act as a security provider independently of other security institutions. The question arises: Can regional integration resolve security issues? Does it possess an inherent capacity for the creation of security?

Motivated by the complexity of historical evidence and the inconclusive scholarly discussion so far, this article sets out to investigate the security impact of European integration by examining a critical dimension of the integration process, its eastward enlargement. It seeks to determine the causal path of the EU’s capacity to foster security. Integration has a dual definition. As an endgame, it denotes the emergence of a regional authority. Integration is also a process of gradual transfer of allegiances toward the region through the progressive pooling of sovereignty. Actor-, process-, and structure-based approaches are, therefore, relevant to the study of its security outcomes. This article examines the European Union as a unique security actor in a dynamic setting by tracing its capacity for security creation through process. The continued eastward enlargement serves as an example of the evolution, attributes, and modus operandi of the EU’s nontraditional role in regional security.

The argument proceeds as follows. First, the article explores the relative utility of analytical concepts in defining the security posture of the union. It then traces how the evolution of its security features has shaped its continued enlargement strategy. The paper regards enlargement as a nonconventional mechanism for the creation of security and identifies three sources of security provision in the process: (1) centralization of authority through enhanced conditionality; (2) extension of European governance to Eastern Europe and beyond through the externalization of policies; (3) increasing military capacity for direct intervention. The article concludes that the eastward enlargement creates an opportunity progressively to enhance the positive security impact of the union well beyond the status of its military capabilities.


[A]s far as contemporary security is concerned,

there is no standard “unit of account.” How

much additional security does an aircraft carrier

bring? Is it more or less than spending the equivalent

amount of money on peacekeeping or the

reconstruction of failed states? Security today is

a multidimensional concept. Bringing peace,

stability and order is an effective way of “draining

the swamp.” (10)

The European security order represents a collective security system which expands beyond the underlying European regional security complex to include significant portions of the Eurasian landmass. (11) Such horizontal arrangements display significant limitations in their capacity for security creation. They tend to perpetuate political divisions or often fail to resolve collective action problems, arguably resulting in a weakening of the quality of the security order. (12) The discrepancy between the growing membership base of the European security system and its effectiveness has become manifest since the end of the cold war. The existing security arrangements, a product of cold war geopolitics, have not been fully able to address new forms of conflict and insecurities in Eastern Europe related to nation building, failing states, and minority concerns. (13) Regional integration and alliance expansion emerged as the preferred method for the provision of security. Since the second half of the 1990s, both NATO and the EU have sought an expansion of their membership base in Eastern Europe.

The logic of integration differs from the logic of security provision typical of alliances. Liberal theory, as well as integration theory per se, emphasizes the economic character of the process. Its security rationale remains rather implicit. It applies as an externality, for example, a positive, incidental consequence of integration beneficial for the entire region, rather than an intended purposive outcome. David Mitrany, whose functionalist approach to international organization provides a fundamental premise in integration theory, regarded the creation of international sectoral agencies as the true alternative to war, “a working peace system.” (14) Integration enhances the collective method of decision making and the mobilization of responses to a variety of disturbances and threats. Because national security objectives are no longer pursued outside the imperatives of the region, enhancement of the security of one individual country does not lead to a decrease in the security of its neighbors. The progressive institutionalization of interdependencies–the essence of the integration process–leads to the development of relations of mast, commonality of goals, and joint decision making. The process is a net producer of security by cooperative, comprehensive and, at the same time, nonconventional approaches.

The historical experience of European integration fully conforms to this logic. Security considerations determined the original institutional design of the European Coal and Steel Community (1951), the failed European Defense Community (1954), and the European Economic Community (1957). Regional integration made military competition between France and Germany obsolete. It transformed the Franco-German relationship from recurrent conflict and rivalry into a strategic partnership. (15) Conversely, a geopolitical rationale has been present in all rounds of European enlargement by reinforcing the relative position of Western Europe. The evolution of the EU is, therefore, a vivid demonstration of the widely held proposition that European integration contributes to regional security. It may be expected that, through geographic expansion, it will continue to positively affect regional security dynamics.

Two sets of questions arise from this probability. First, what attributes define the EU as a security actor and, second, what is the causal path for the provision of security through integration? To address these issues, the following section will examine the security qualities of the union as informed by its historical evolution.

The Complexity of Security Creation: The EU between Community, Society, and Empire

The EU is a security actor whose conceptualization represents an intriguing research question. The history of European integration is a major example of the creation of security beyond the nation state. The difficulty of developing a single definition of the “actorness” of the union is due to its dual nature as an international institution and an evolving political system. Its systemic character is still a work-in-progress. Regional integration is inseparable from the historical circumstances and structural constraints within which it takes place. The duality of change produced by the evolution of the systemic qualities of the EU as an actor and of the structural conditions within which it is embedded reveals the complexity of its security status. Multiple layers of authority and the capacity for security creation exist evoking the features of a composite international system. (16) Several analytical constructs defining the security qualities of the union are prevalent in the literature on the subject: it is seen as a security community, international society, and metaphorical “empire.” Moreover, in the historical process of the deepening and widening of European integration, the relative importance of individual security-related attributes of the actor has changed.

In the early stages of its development, the EU existed as an evolving security community defined by shared values, empathy, trust, and dependable expectations of peace. The security community concept was originally advanced by Karl Deutsch and others after World War II. Deutsch and his colleagues explored the potential of a regional political community to perform security functions through the development of

mutual sympathy and loyalties; of “we feeling,”

trust, and mutual consideration; of partial identification

in terms of self-images and interests; of

mutually successful predictions of behavior….

[It involved] in short, a matter of a perpetual

dynamic process of mutual attention, communication,

perception of needs, and responsiveness

in the process of decision making. (17)

A widely held proposition is that the history of the European Union represents a security community which continuously extends the zone of peace in Europe. The eastward enlargement is currently the principal mode institutionalizing this process. Enlargement alone, however, is problematic. It creates divisions between members and nonmembers with major sociopolitical and security implications. The integrated core is a configuration defined by shared values, norms, and peaceful relations–an island of “society” within the broader anarchic international system. (18)

An alternative conceptualization of the union is that of a “developed international society, with many shared norms, rules and institutions coordinating, constraining, and facilitating relationships among its members.” (19) The social aspect of the relationship contrasts with the “asocial” or “unsocialized” world outside. As Barry Buzan points out, the balance of threats and vulnerabilities pertaining to this environment is much more dynamic, uncertain, and unpredictable than the complex of relations among the members. Although a security dilemma within the community is nonexistent, specific threats of coercion, imperial imposition of values, or a relative weakening of the international position of outsiders enhances their vulnerability and, accordingly, their insecurity. (20) To offset such external pressures, the society extends certain standards of behavior toward these outsiders, the nonmembers in its proximity. The process of socialization creates a system of hierarchical relationships, characterized as dependence of the periphery and dominance of the core. The configuration acts as a net producer of security due to the way in which the qualities of the asymmetry create order. The core attracts and dominates the periphery. Portions of it gradually adhere to the core. New concentric circles of states now become the immediate periphery and an object for providing security. The process continuously repeats itself.

Since the end of the cold war, the EU has been confronted by a similar challenge: the necessity to maintain European order by securing the outlying periphery. The stabilization of what is now commonly called “the Wider Europe” emerged as a major mechanism of security creation inseparable from its eastward enlargement and an illustration of the security-oriented character of the process. Enlargement created tiers of cooperative systems outside the EU’s membership base. Ole Waever contends that as a result of the EU’s long-term enlargement to the east, the post-cold war European order resembles an imperial structure–a metaphorical benevolent empire. (21) Similarly, Robert Cooper refers to Europe’s contemporary order as a postmodern imperial configuration in which security is created not by a horizontal collective system but by the most capable regional players, through external verification and intervention transcending state sovereignty. (22) In Europe’s case, the creation of order is dominated by a new voluntary cooperative imperialism exercised by the advanced democratic states through imposition of standards of good governance and protection of human rights. The EU is the leading representative of a particular type of liberal imperialism, the “imperialism of neighbors.” The latter secures the core from threats of misgovernment, ethnic violence, crime, and terrorism in the periphery by intervention, election monitoring, and administrative, legal, and economic assistance. (23) The empire concept, however, cannot by itself serve as an adequate conceptualization of the EU. It reveals significant aspects of its external security posture as an open, hierarchical defense system. Internally, institutional evolution has consolidated its community features through the development of a common external domain and foreign policy. The institutions, processes, and methods of creating security suggest that the EU is an independent and meaningful actor, more complex than a security community, an international society, or a benevolent empire.

The EU Security Domain and Interests

Although not directly stated in the founding Rome Treaty (1957), the EU’s security dimension has been omnipresent. During the cold war, security in Europe was maintained by two principles: externally, by a balance of power produced by superpower rivalry, and, internally, by a neofunctionalist logic within the EU. The security profile of the union was at best implicit, determined by its dichotomous situation. It benefited from the NATO security umbrella as the majority of its members were also members of the alliance and of the Western European Union. Internally, the EU successfully reconciled power asymmetries within Western Europe. The strategic purpose of the union was to make geopolitical conceptions of security among its members obsolete by promoting economic and social relations beyond military and strategic interdependence. The EU performed security functions also by expanding a prospering, democratic political and economic system through successive rounds of enlargement in 1972, 1981, and 1986, respectively. This situation persisted after the end of the cold war with the 1995 accession of Austria, Finland, and Sweden. In the absence of great power rivalry, the union initially assumed that its security-building model would be adequate to the objectives of a stable and predictable European order.

A demand-driven reorientation of its capacity to create security became necessary, however, when the end of the cold war changed the context of European relations. The end of ideological, military, and economic confrontation in Europe imposed a redefinition of the existing security infrastructure. The institutional division of labor providing for the external and internal security of the union became obsolete. Security provision by a defense alliance outside the EU was at odds with the diminishing levels of military threat. The deepening of integration and its growing membership base exerted considerable pressure toward the acceleration of the process in the political domain.

The EU first formulated its own security objectives in the Treaty on the European Union in Maastricht in 1992. In 1993, the Copenhagen European Council developed the enlargement position of the union with respect to Eastern Europe by elaborating a set of political and economic criteria for membership. (24) The simultaneous timing of these developments can be explained by the necessity of reintroducing a security rationale in integration under conditions of changed system polarity. The consolidation of the EU’s security domain since 1993 and its geographic expansion to the east evolved as two simultaneous, intertwined institutional processes.

Historically, the concretization of an EU security interest can be summarized along the following directions and stages:

1. Provision of security among members in a nonwar, cooperative relationship toward a dynamic internal/external complex of security relations sustained by geographic expansion–since the mid-1990s, in particular, in the EU’s eastward enlargement;

2. Evolution of a security domain under the EU CFSP;

3. Expansion of a security agenda in which military security decreases and threats of international crime, economic destabilization, migration and human rights issues, cross-border environmental pollution and nuclear safety acquire a security profile; (25)

4. Since 1999 (the Kosovo campaign), and especially since September 11, 2001, a trend toward strengthening the direct security rationale of integration by means of increased defense preparedness and military capabilities.

Since the end of the cold war, the EU’s security interest has evolved from implicit to direct formulation. It is the result of granting security status, or the “securitization,” of humanistic and democratic values and the rule of law. (26) The CFSP is a combination of development, trade, humanitarian, and crisis-prevention policies. It is based on security objectives such as the safeguarding of “common values, fundamental interests, independence and integrity of the union in conformity with the United Nations Charter,” the preservation and strengthening of international peace and security, the consolidation of democracy and the rule of law, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. (27) The EU has favored an approach to security by foreign policy means, aimed at the promotion of democracy and civil values. It is maintained by dialogue and asymmetrical negotiation in the EU’s external relations and internal compromises to preserve consensus in decision making. The CFSP constitutes also a treaty-based anchor for the implementation of a European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP), expected to develop as the “progressive framing of a common defence policy, which might lead to a common defence.” (28) The strategic posture of the EU was also significantly developed by the European Security Strategy (ESS). The strategy was precipitated by and formulated as a response to the impasse in the CFSP during the Iraq campaign (2002-2003). It affirms the strong strategic interest of the union in the effective promotion of its core values. The ESS outlines the international security position of the EU as a global actor and a frontrunner in the international system. (29) It sets forth the principle of effective multilateralism as a cornerstone of its foreign and security policy. This commitment is to be maintained by action-oriented initiatives, policy dialogue and partnerships with the UN, and mutual reinforcement between the existing bilateral and multilateral policies.

Four areas in the institutionalization of the EU’s security domain are central to its definition as a security actor. First, the CFSP is a tentative framework for the progressive development of security planning and problem solving–that is, it increasingly performs government-like functions at the regional level. Policy centralization takes place through the elaboration of common strategies, common positions, joint actions, and systematic cooperation in the conduct of foreign policy. Such policy instruments constitute the EU’s capacity to affect the systemic conditions for the creation of order in Europe. (30) Second, the member states decide individually on the implementation of common security policies. Third, the EU acknowledges its secondary or complementary position in defense matters vis-a-vis NATO. Fourth, in the area of the armaments and defense industry, the union gives priority to functionalist principles by increasingly resorting to specialized agencies for defense procurement, planning, and strategic studies. (31) The intergovernmental character of CFSP has so far prevented the union from addressing security exclusively through actor-based approaches involving power, capabilities, or commitments. Its security relevance is maintained by process variables: asymmetrical negotiation, cooperation initiatives, and governance. The eastward enlargement, arguably, represents a collective attempt to put them into operation.

The EU’s Security Interests in Enlargement

The security goals of the union in post-cold war Europe were not exclusively related to Eastern Europe. East European stability was significantly affected by EU integration due to Germany’s new role in Europe. The reunification of Germany restored conditions similar to a classic security dilemma in Western Europe. The two issues–the German question and geographic expansion–emerged as indivisible. The eastward enlargement was upgraded from a long-term to an immediate EU objective because of the “renewed” German question in European security. Such an interpretation of the union’s enlargement strategy remains largely underestimated in the enlargement discourse.

Germany’s reunification was the first major redefinition of the regional power structure since the end of the cold war that produced a new center of gravity in the regional system. (32) Unification took place against the background of national and ethnic divisions and political instability to the east and enhanced the German interest in Eastern Europe. (33)

Prior enlargements had altered the geopolitical balance within the EU with no external implications, as the union had little independent weight in the regional distribution of power. However, internally, ever since the accession of the United Kingdom, enlargement had served as a dynamic reconfiguration of the EU power structure. It produced a complicated multilateral bargaining process based on a sustained Franco-German consensus. (34) The practice of bilateral political coordination, partnership, and rebalancing between France and Germany continued throughout the 1980s. An increasing assertiveness on the part of Germany became exemplary as it sought to balance the increasing weight of Southern Europe as a result of the 1981 and 1986 EU enlargements. (35)

By the mid-1990s, the fourth enlargement (including Austria, Finland, and Sweden) reinforced the North and Central European dimension within the union and tilted the balance entirely to Germany’s advantage. Germany sought to consolidate its position as a Central European power, rather than as an eastern border of a union still confined in the West. Such considerations opened up the issue of a future Polish membership. At several occasions, Chancellor Kohl emphasized that the OderNeisse line should not remain the EU’s eastern border. (36) German unification thus set the EU’s foreign policy agenda in the direction of a continued eastward enlargement.

Despite the reemergence of the German question in Europe, security was not a leading rationale in the European integration project of the 1990s. The EU had established its security domain to serve nonmilitary and foreign policy objectives, allegedly in accordance with the demise of the cold war alliance structure in Europe. As a result, the union did not directly address the security concerns of the Central and East European countries (CEECs) within the logical supply-and-demand framework. Its enlargement strategy was defined by two simultaneous processes: (a) economic and institutional assistance to the democratic transformation of Eastern Europe with a view of ensuring its future EU membership, and (b) deepening of integration by institutional reform to prepare for enlargement.

Such premises explain why the geopolitical and security-related rationale of the Eastern enlargement was not a priori explicitly defined. It entered European public discourse in parallel to the increase of violence in the disintegration of former Yugoslavia. The stabilizing impact of the union over the political and security conditions in “the Wider Europe” unfolded in a reactive, rather than proactive manner. The lag in providing a forceful response to interethnic conflict negatively affected its creditworthiness as a security actor.

The EU’s security concerns in enlargement emerged out of several premises. The development of its security domain inevitably created insiders and outsiders, resulting in political and societal insecurity both within the core and the outlying periphery. The eastward enlargement was perceived as a compromise with the attained level of integration. The EU’s governance and border systems were extended to include countries with lower capacity to withhold market pressures and transnational security challenges. (37) Enlargement was also a mechanism of reducing instability outside the core by reducing the latter’s exposure to external threats and by projecting democratic values and political stability. The balance between strategic benefits and risks suggests that the EU had substantial security interests in the eastward enlargement.

A long-term enlargement objective was stated for the first time in the Europe Agreements concluded with the Central and East European countries during the period 1991-93. The logic behind this decision was that a persisting instability to the east would be more threatening to the coherence of the union than the problematic diversity in the political and governance systems of the future members. The EU declared the determinants of its enlargement policy toward Eastern Europe at the Copenhagen European Council in December 1993. (38) It set forth the following political and economic criteria for membership: democracy, rule of law, respect for human rights, a market economy, and institutional capacity to implement the relevant EU legislation prior to membership. The Presidency Conclusions of the Copenhagen Council did not include an explicit statement of security interests, resources, or capabilities relevant to the process. At this stage, enlargement was expected to create positive external security implications but no direct security outcomes. The progressive advancement of an EU security interest took place later, in the wake of the Kosovo crisis. Its reconceptualization may be interpreted as an instance of change in the security rationale of integration produced by the need to generate spillover from the economic domain to an emerging European political union.


The European Union cannot and should not try

to project stability into the new democracies,

including all of the Balkans, by stealth bombers

and guided missiles. The notion in itself is

absurd and brings us back to the logic of the

terror balance. What is needed is a European

internal security order that can control civil disorder

and combat terrorist attacks which might

otherwise escalate into suppression of minorities

or acts of “ethnic cleansing.” (39)

The eastward enlargement developed into a significant process of creating security for the EU core by transferring its external eastern border further away and by contributing to the political stabilization of Eastern Europe. The disintegration of former Yugoslavia underlined the security relevance of domestic political processes to security relations at the regional level. By the late 1990s, the EU’s enlargement strategy toward Eastern Europe had consolidated into three consistent frameworks, which only recently achieved mutually reinforcing effects. First, with respect to the Central and East Euro-pearl countries, candidates since the mid-1990s, the EU pursued a nuanced enlargement strategy involving ever enlarging tiers. The Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia became EU members in 2004. Bulgaria and Romania will join the union in 2007. Turkey and Croatia have commenced accession negotiations in 2005. Second, the EU established itself as an active participant, host, and initiator to a wide range of international conflict resolution measures in former Yugoslavia. The current EU strategy toward the Western Balkans considers enlargement toward the region a long-term priority. Third, and parallel to enlargement, the union developed a network of agreements with the countries from the Wider Europe and the Mediterranean with significant geopolitical and stabilization effects.

The EU enlargement mix fulfills security objectives in all three frameworks. It serves as an algorithm comprised of: (1) conditionality, or the formulation of explicit criteria for the economic and political performance of the EU’s partners, whose fulfillment is a condition for their continued and closer relationships with the union; (2) externalization of the system of EU governance toward the future members, and (3) military capacity for direct intervention. Although differentiated in temporal and substantive terms, the enlargement strategy has the implications of unilateral measures applied to systems outside the union membership base. The very mechanism of enlargement, therefore, displays the characteristics of a core/periphery relationship in which the core imposes acceptable parameters of behavior on the outlying periphery. At the same time, the EU acts as an anchor of stability and a standard of reference for the democratic reforms in the entire region of Eastern Europe.

Central and Eastern Europe: Security Creation through Conditionality and Policy Externalization

The most elaborate and comprehensive EU enlargement strategy was implemented in regard to Central and Eastern Europe. As a result of a ten-year period of rapprochement and adjustment to the principles and norms of EU governance, significant subsets of countries from that region already constitute an integral part of the union. The enlargement strategy toward Eastern Europe has emphasized the logic of conditionality and fulfillment of preliminary criteria for membership. An approach stressing conditionality suggests that the primary objective of the process was the security and cohesion of the core and not of the periphery. The EU became an “external anchor” for the democratic transformation of Eastern Europe by providing standards of compliance and norms of governance. The CEECs undertook comprehensive adaptation of their domestic political and economic systems, the essence of which was complete internalization of the attained level of integration in Western Europe.

The formulation of political criteria for membership was consistent with the aggregate community security interest. It did not correspond, however, to the existing security demand in Eastern Europe. In the absence of direct security guarantees as a part of the membership “package,” the logic of threshold criteria and preconditions reinforced perceptions that East European security concerns should be dealt with outside the EU. NATO’s enlargement mechanism, especially the Membership Action Plans in place since 1999, demonstrated exactly the opposite logic–a participatory environment conducive to membership. (40) By its sectoral specialization in defense and military restructuring, the alliance aspired to address the security vacuum of post-cold war Eastern Europe. Regional security demand reinforced NATO’s rationale for a continued existence and undermined the EU’s importance as an independent security


Following recommendations from the European Commission, the Luxembourg meeting of the European Council of December 1997, opened accession negotiations with Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Malta, Poland, and Slovenia. The Helsinki European Council (1999) extended enlargement toward Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and Slovakia. The economic and political criteria, detailed in thirty-one chapters of EU law, known as the community acquis, became an anchor for the candidates’ strategic adaptation to EU-based governance methods and policies. The outcomes of this process consolidated enlargement as a comprehensive “externalization” of integration. Since 1998, all annual Regular Reports of the European Commission on the candidates’ progress toward accession have stated that the countries fulfill the political criteria for membership–that is, they have achieved “political stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities.” (41)

The principle of conditionality in the security domain refers to the candidates’ adoption of the existing provisions under CFSP. (42) The acquis in the area of external security and foreign policy covers the common strategies, common positions, and common actions of the EU, as well as ad hoc declarations on issues of international importance. In line with the provisions of the CFSP, the candidate countries participated in the development of European Security and Defense Policy in an “EU + 15” format. (43)

Based on rigorous monitoring of the membership criteria, increased financial support by diverse pre-accession funds, as well as broadened geopolitical considerations, enlargement gradually acquired a systemic value. It was instrumental to the objective of reinforcing the EU’s political and security status. The Berlin European Council of 1999 set the financial framework of enlargement. The Helsinki Council recognized Turkey as a candidate country. Agenda 2000 established the elaborate financial mechanism of the spending policies of the union and de facto incorporated enlargement into integration. The overall stabilization effect of such measures was obvious. (44) The European institutions undertook parallel consistent efforts to preserve the attained level of integration in the core, gain public support for enlargement, and enhance the EU’s role in the political stabilization of the Wider Europe (especially in the context of stagnant security conditions in the Western Balkans). In 2004, the EU opened the eastward enlargement toward Turkey. (45) The accession negotiations will replicate the mechanism of the East European enlargement on an unprecedented geopolitical, economic, and temporal scale. Enlargement now, arguably, represents the true modus operandi of integration.

Despite a consistent policy commitment, a comparative assessment of the EU’s effective capacity to positively influence European security indicates that the union lagged behind in providing security projection beyond its borders and the fulfillment of broader regional stabilization objectives. Demand for military security in the Western Balkans presented NATO with a leadership position in European security through direct military intervention. The EU’s stabilization mechanism remained confined to enlargement. The countries outside the enlargement strategy, as the experience of the Western Balkans throughout the 1990s indicated, neither benefited from nor contributed to the security capacity of the core.

The development of European Security and Defense Identity (ESDI) within NATO, the 2002 agreement on the use of NATO military assets in EU-led security-related operations, and the NATO-EU Agreement on the Security of Information became major initiatives, these upgraded the security profile of the union and enhanced its visibility and effectiveness in regional defense and security cooperation. (46)

Western Balkans: Intervention and Progressive Enlargement

The second type of security provision through enlargement refers to the region of the Western Balkans. This enlargement model displays considerable differences from the conventional one. It is defined by high conditionality, a progressive long-term trend toward the externalization of EU policies, and direct military intervention for the purposes of peacekeeping and conflict resolution. The strategy fulfills two sets of functions. It operates as a response to security demand and as a process enhancing the external security of the union by preventing the spillover of instability.

Integration was not the initial common preference for solving the security issues of the Western Balkans. An extension of the West European institutional framework as a mechanism of creating dependable expectations of peace was not regarded as a feasible, valid, or acceptable model for that region. An EU integration strategy was formulated considerably later than the one valid for East Central Europe. Throughout the 1990s, the Western Balkans remained outside the EU enlargement discourse. The union was an active participant in the UN-led international efforts to bring conflict resolution to the region, but not an independent actor in the process. The initial stages of the EU’s involvement in the Balkans were accomplished by diplomacy and subsequently by peacekeeping. Its policy tools ranged from delegations, multilateral intermediation, political initiatives, a combination of multilateral and bilateral approaches, arms embargoes, trade sanctions, and so forth. A regional approach was introduced under the Royaumont Process for Stability and Good Neighborliness in South East Europe and subsequently incorporated into the EU CFSP. (47)

It has been largely acknowledged that the effectiveness of such measures was minimal. Policy coordination under CFSP was ad hoc and fragmented. The EU’s political initiatives were duplicated or contradicted by bilateral action. (48) The union first sought to project stability to the region by commencing accession negotiations with the candidates from the Eastern Balkans, Bulgaria and Romania, in the wake of the Kosovo crisis. Consequently, membership was not prioritized as a stabilization mechanism for the entire region. The Wider Europe concept was developed instead, in line with the view that regional integration had significant implications for the relations between the integrated core and third countries. (49) Such an approach regarded the Western Balkans in the context of the EU’s enlargement to Eastern Europe and continued to isolate the region from the reunification of the European continent. The Balkans’ relevance to EU integration was defined in terms of direct threats of destabilizing flows and risks for the security of the EU’s external borders.

Persisting instability in the region brought about efforts to streamline the security posture of the union by a capacity to address difficult security issues. In December 1999, the European Council decided to create an EU Rapid Reaction Force of sixty thousand military personnel deployable within sixty days and kept in operation for at least a year. (50) To maintain political control and strategic direction during crisis, the European Council, meeting in Nice in December 2000, created new permanent political and military structures: a Political and Security Committee (PSC), European Union Military Committee (EUMC), and European Union Military Staff (EUMS) composed of military experts seconded to the Council Secretariat by the member states. The institutionalization of the EU’s military capabilities, a demand-driven process by itself, enhanced the centrality of the integrated core in dealing with security contingencies outside its territorial confines.

In 1999 the EU redesigned its regional approach toward the Western Balkans by connecting political conditionality to economic and financial mechanisms. The Stabilization and Association Process (SAP) was extended to Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, and Macedonia as a continuation of the integration model valid for Eastern Europe. (51) The Thessaloniki European Council, meeting in June 2003, announced a new integration strategy toward the region. (52) The EU thus opened the opportunity of membership for the Western Balkans even prior to the conclusion of its first eastward enlargement.

The integration strategy marks a significant policy innovation. Security provision through peacekeeping (individually and in cooperation with international institutions) has been reinforced by the classical integration rationale, the creation of positive externalities. A major objective of this new stage of the EU’s involvement in the Western Balkans is to contribute to nation-building beyond territoriality, through the paradigm of integration. The model draws on three domains: confidence-building, conditionality and policy externalization, and direct intervention. The creation of integration partnerships is the main institutional instrument in the process. The second component is that of enhanced political cooperation with the EU, directly linked to the externalization of its policies in the area of security and foreign policy. The recommendation of the European Commission in that respect is explicit: “The Western Balkans countries should be invited to associate themselves with EU declarations, common positions, and other documents of the CFSP.” (53) The integration process thus replicates the mechanism of the conventional enlargement by adjusting the foreign policy priorities of the countries in the Western Balkans to those of the EU. The qualitatively new nature of the enlargement model toward the Western Balkans is revealed by the new political status of peacekeeping, which–it may be argued–has become an integral part of the process. International peacekeeping efforts in the Western Balkans are being “Europeanized.”

Since 2003, the EU’s direct intervention consolidated the following actions: monitoring of political stability (in Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Kosovo); law enforcement (in Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina); and full-scale peacekeeping (in Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina). In addition, the EU countries continue to participate in the International Kosovo Force (KFOR) in their capacity as NATO members.

The EU Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUPM), operative since 2003, follows from the UN’s International Police Task Force. EUPM is the first ESDP operation with an initial three-year mandate. (54) Similarly, the police mission Proxima contributes toward police reforms and domestic political stability in Macedonia. Its mandate is to monitor, mentor, and advise local police, and to promote European standards of policing. The more complex missions, those of direct peacekeeping, are the Concordia mission in Macedonia (since 2003) and the Althea mission, which took over the international NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR) in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2004. The two missions constitute the first deployments of the European Rapid Reaction Force. (55) In addition, the EU maintains a broader Monitoring Mission in the Western Balkans (EUMM), which extends the original 1991 monitoring mission of the European Communities. The mission is headquartered in Sarajevo and operates in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, Albania, and Macedonia.

The region of the Western Balkans demonstrates the positive security effects of regional integration in a novel way. The increasing institutionalization of its relationship with the EU creates a hierarchical system conducive to the automatic creation of order. In contrast to the original processes of integration of the 1950s, the formation of dependable expectations of peace in the Western Balkans is not likely to occur through horizontal multilateral cooperation at the subregional level. The individualized integration partnerships will develop a network of multiple hierarchies, thus making repetitive claims to sovereignty and self-determination obsolete. Such trends conform to the model of the cooperative imperial structures of order creation in Europe as conceptualized by Ole Waever and Robert Cooper. The case study of the Western Balkans suggests that the EU’s progressive enlargement has had significant impact on the quality of the regional security system.

Beyond Enlargement: Stabilization of the Periphery

The EU’s increasing role in the Wider Europe emerged as a logical extension to the eastward enlargement. The unprecedented scope and the divisive character of the process, continuously differentiating between members and nonmembers, alerted the union that its strategies might create uncertainty, competition, and a greater exposure to threats for countries outside integration–predominantly states with weak institutional capacity to withstand such threats. Consciousness that such trends had materialized transformed the EU’s enlargement concept from “enlargement as admittance of new members” into “enlargement as extension of the core,” implying a major reconceptualization of its regional approach. In its 1999-2000 Regular Reports on the Progress of the Candidate Countries toward Accession, the European Commission “situated” enlargement within the broader regional environment. The reports spoke of the “context of enlargement” and examined the relations between the union and its neighbors. (56) Geographic expansion was no longer a process of granting membership to eligible candidates. It became a mechanism for “positioning” EU integration within the Wider Europe region. The union was conscious of its responsibility to prevent ethnic conflict, the dif fusion of new threats, and further fragmentation–or the “Balkanization” of Eastern Europe. It sought to extend a politically stable and cooperative environment beyond the candidate members, toward third countries. As one observer noted,

The enlargement process is vital to securing

political stability, democracy, and respect for

human rights on the European continent as a

whole. It creates opportunities for growth,

investment and prosperity, which will benefit not

only current and future member states of the EU

but also the wider international community. (57)

Enlargement was redesigned to secure good neighborly relations with the countries from the outlying periphery. In addition to the Western Balkans, the countries from the Wider Europe became consistently drawn into institutional cooperation with the EU and its stabilization mechanism. The motives for the creation of such structures were mostly security-inspired. (58) The Wider Europe concept became a prominent feature of the EU foreign policy and security domain. It assumed significant functions in regard to conflict resolution and political stabilization.

The major policy instrument which expands the EU’s security role beyond enlargement is the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP). The policy complements enlargement by a distinct model of good neighborly relations creating a ring of friends around the EU borders. (59) The ENP functions as a system of foreign policy, economic, and security instruments and promotes standards of good governance, the rule of law, and respect for human rights in the neighboring countries. Although inspired by and closely related to enlargement, the focus of the policy are relations which do not “in the medium-term, include a perspective of membership.” (60)

The institutional framework of this policy comprises two key mechanisms: joint action plans and a financial mechanism, the European Neighborhood Instrument. (61) The joint action plans considerably rationalize the relationship between the EU and the majority of the remaining countries of Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean region by contextualizing the process into a series of bilateral agreements. The latter enhance the role of the union in identifying the priorities and principles of cooperation. The existing association agreements and the joint action plans are developed on the basis of joint ownership. The EU gradually opens a possibility for its partners to acquire a stake in the internal market through trade liberalization, political dialogue, and exchanges in key areas relevant to the EU’s internal and external security, including the fight against terrorism.

The security implications of the ENP are significant. It introduces a meaningful distinction between issues of proximity and those pertaining to enlargement. The policy encourages participation through the principle of joint responsibility with respect to peace and security in the neighborhood region, border management, cooperation in judicial matters, the energy sector, and social cohesion. As with enlargement, it applies enhanced conditionality by monitoring the partners’ compliance to the attained level of policy dialogue under previous frameworks. Its focus on conflict resolution, security, and development creates a unique cooperative context for the eastward enlargement to proceed. As a proactive forward-looking approach, the policy is likely to improve the predictability and problem-solving capacity of the existing regional security arrangements. As the ENP has expanded to cover also the EU’s relations with the Mediterranean and the Middle East, its general geopolitical effect may be expected to increase.


The chronology of the eastward enlargement and the increasing number of countries now acceding to the EU suggest that the process has consequences for the enhancement of political stability in Eastern Europe (see table 1). Its merit-based approach established a concentric-circles structure in Europe in which the overall political, strategic, and economic importance of the union has increased. Enlargement thus exemplifies a system of core-periphery relations, which underlines the centrality of the core. More important, through commercial, cultural, and other issue linkages, the network of principled relations is extended beyond the countries directly concerned with EU membership. Enlargement is therefore more complex than institutional expansion. It is a multidimensional process of systemic value for European regional order, whose individual components span across Central and Eastern Europe, the Western Balkans, Turkey, and the Wider Europe. The progressive institutionalization of relations with a large and diverse group of countries has significant implications for increasing the predictability and coherence of the regional security order.

The multidimensional matrix in table 1 maps out the key institutional and policy instruments in the enlargement process. It also demonstrates the historical pattern of integration: the progressive institutionalization of interdependencies that the EU’s eastward enlargement has come to represent and that lead to the increasing centrality of European integration. In substantive terms, enlargement is a process of redistribution of rights and responsibilities among members, partners, and subregional constellations in Europe. It is characterized by a transfer of obligations related to security and border management to the acceding countries. Responsibilities of major security consequences are imposed on states with comparatively limited institutional capacity. Security in the core might be threatened by poorly protected external borders in the east. Such methods for the creation of security through weaker institutions and states constitutes the first major source of instability due to enlargement. Destabilizing changes in the established patterns of regional transactions represent a second source of instability.

The EU’s enlargement creates new divisions at the subregional level, encouraging new patterns of trade, investment, migration, and communication. Specific border controls and visa requirements have already introduced the first delineation between the eastern and the western part of the Balkans and vis-a-vis Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, and Moldova, among others. The divisive nature of such policies is obvious. Heather Grabbe contends that the EU border policies in enlargement contradict the union’s security goals for Eastern Europe. The new borders affect the domestic politics and foreign relations of countries outside the immediate scope of EU influence. (62)

The implications of the eastward enlargement for the sustainability of this regional configuration are, therefore, controversial. On the one hand, enlargement grants new momentum to integration. It reinforces the sovereignty of the new borderline states by enhancing their capacity to maintain law and order, political stability, and legitimacy. On the other, it has emerged as a source of security challenges leading to substantial resource relocation and institutional restructuring. The process unfolds in absolute and in relative terms. The destabilizing effect of borders is not confined to territorial division, power disparities among regional neighbors, or the geopolitical configuration (the recurring question of where Europe ends). The less visible impact is that of competition and isolation among neighboring states with different institutional membership. The continued implementation of an all-inclusive enlargement strategy and neighborhood policy, therefore, remains warranted.

The long-term character of the process is designed to assure the continuity of EU integration. Its appropriate conceptualization is a positive security externality created by reunification, democracy, and the predictability of relations based on democratic principles. The progressive formulation of the EU’s security interests in enlargement developed in a contradictory manner due to several factors: diverse security threats, geographic expansion, an accommodative security agenda and, at the same time, a limited response mechanism to address military threats and insufficient enforcement capacity. Within this framework of factors, the EU’s status as a security actor should be measured primarily in terms of its influence over the system of regional governance in Europe. In the Western Balkans, the EU slowly emerges as a legitimate embodiment of the European security order. Its integration strategy for the entire Balkans region represents a significant source of security provision by progressively incorporating the international peace and conflict resolution strategies into the integration process. The fact that the EU policies have had to be reformulated and adjusted in favor of integration is indicative of the limited capacity for the creation of order through horizontal patterns of international cooperation. The long-term nature of enlargement, both toward the Western Balkans and Turkey, contributes to the gradual transformation of regional geopolitics. It demonstrates the open-ended character of integration and its capacity through process variables to affect security outcomes.

Security demands lead to the extension of incentives and policies toward nonmembers. The relationships of “Good Neighborliness” generate significant geopolitical stabilization beyond EU’s borders. They also attract nonmembers and increase their dependence on the EU through conditionality, benchmarking, and institutionalization. As all three concepts imply higher standards of order and government, they illustrate the security relevance of enlargement. The process may be approximated to an extension of the value system of the Western security community and a significant reordering of European relations into a hierarchical structure. The system is a net producer of security in non-conventional terms, irrespective of the incompleteness of the union as a security actor in terms of strategic capabilities. The security and overall geopolitical effect of enlargement through predictability, political stabilization, and democratic political institutions is therefore more significant that the EU’s military status suggests.


(1.) Erik Holm, The European Anarchy: Europe’s Hard Road into High Politics (Copenhagen: Copenhagen Business School Press, 2001), 268.

(2.) The designation “European Union” was introduced in the Maastricht Treaty of 1992 to replace the term “European Economic Community” (EEC), the international organization created under the Treaty of Rome (1957). The Maastricht Treaty renamed the EEC, together with the European Coal and Steel Community, and Euratom, into the European Communities (EC), the first pillar of the European Union. In order to maintain continuity, the terms “European Economic Community” and “European Union” will be used in the text interchangeably.

(3.) The creation of an internal area of freedom, security, and justice is the object of the Justice and Home Affairs pillar of EU integration created by the Treaty on European Union, Maastricht, 1992.

(4.) Eight Central and East European countries, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia, became EU members in 2004 (together with Malta and Cyprus). Bulgaria and Romania will join the union in 2007. Croatia and Turkey are scheduled to open accession negotiations in 2005. The countries in the Western Balkans are Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, and Macedonia. The Wider Europe perimeter includes Belarus, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, the countries from the Southern Caucasus, as well as those from the Mediterranean (including the Palestinian Authority), participants in the Barcelona Process (1995). See European Commission, “On the Commission Proposals for Action Plans under the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP),” Communication from the Commission to the Council, COM (2004) 795 final (Brussels: December 9, 2004).

(5.) See Ole Waever, “Integration as Security: Constructing a Europe at Peace,” in Atlantic Security: Contending Visions, ed. Charles Kupchan, 47-63 (New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 1998).

(6.) According to Berglof and Roland, the EU is a major source of material and normative influence for the process of democratic transition in Eastern Europe. See Eric Berglof and Garreth Roland, “From ‘Regatta’ to ‘Big Bang’?–The Impact of the EU Accession Strategy on Reforms in Central and Eastern Europe,” IMF Working Paper (Washington: International Monetary Fund, 2000).

(7.) Anders Bjurner, “Reflections of Subregionalism and Wider European Security,” in Building Security in Europe’s New Borderlands: Subregional Cooperation in the Wider Europe, ed. Renata Dwan, 11-18 (East-West Institute, Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1999), 17. It should be noted that the author evokes a possibility that the process may create negative security externalities.

(8.) See Ronald Jepperson, Alexander Wendt, and Peter Katzenstein, “Norms, Identity and Culture in National Security,” in The Culture of National Security: Norms and Identity in World Politics, ed. Peter Katzenstein, 33-75 (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1996).

(9.) Heather Grabbe, “Stabilizing the East while Keeping Out the Easterners: Internal and External Security Logics in Conflict” in Migration and the Externalities of European Integration, ed. Sandra Lavenex and Emek Ucarer, 91-104 (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2002).

(10.) Javier Solana, “Mars and Venus Reconciled,” Albert H. Gordon Lecture at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, April 7, 2003, Document S0087/03, 5.

(11.) Definitional issues pertaining to the theory of regional security complexes and structural interdependence are discussed in Barry Buzan, People, States and Fear: An Agenda for International Security Studies in the Post-Cold War Era (New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1991).

(12.) Brian Job, “Matters of Multilateralism: Implications for Regional Conflict Management,” in Regional Orders: Building Security in a New World, ed. David Lake and Patrick Morgan, 165-91 (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania Univ. Press, 1997), 173.

(13.) Ibid., 166.

(14.) David Mitrany, A Working Peace System: An Argument for the Functional Development of International Organization (London: Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1943); and David Mitrany, The Functional Theory of Politics (London: Martin Robertson, 1975). Mitrany’s works emphasize a functional approach to issue-specific domains in international cooperation and posit a consistent relationship between regional integration and security.

(15.) France and Germany signed the Elysee Treaty of Cooperation in 1963.

(16.) For a historically informed typology of international systems, see Adam Watson, The Limits of Independence: Relations between States in the Modern World (London: Routledge, 1997).

(17.) Karl Deutsch et al., Political Community and the North Atlantic Area: International Organization in the Light of Historical Experience (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1957), 36.

(18.) Hedley Bull defined “society” as a configuration of states bound by a degree of acceptance of common rules and institutions and one of the alternatives to the contemporary anarchic state system. Similarly, the author regarded regionalism as an approach to world order. See Hedley Bull, The Anarchical Society: A Study of Order in World Politics (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1995).

(19.) Barry Buzan and Richard Little, International Systems in World History: Remaking the Study of International Relations (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2000), 105. The term was used initially by Hedley Bull, The Anarchical Society, 254-55, 264-76; and Arnold Wolfers, Discord and Collaboration: Essays on International Politics (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1962), 241-42.

(20.) Buzan and Little, International Systems in World History, 281-82.

(21.) Ole Waever, “Europe’s Three Empires: A Watsonian Interpretation of the Post-Wall European Security,” in International Society after the Cold War: Anarchy and Order Reconsidered, ed. Rick Fawn and Jeremy Larkins, 220-60 (London: Macmillan Press, 1996); and Ole Waever, “Imperial Metaphors: Emerging European Analogies to Pre-Nation-State Imperial Systems,” in Geopolitics in Post-Wall Europe: Security, Territory and Identity, ed. Ola Tunander, Pavel Baev, and Victoria Ingrid Einagel, 59-93 (London: Sage, 1997).

(22.) Robert Cooper, The Post-Modern State and World Order (London: Demos, The Foreign Policy Centre, 2000).

(23.) See Robert Cooper, 2002, “The New Imperialism,” Guardian (Observer, April 7, 2002),3858,4388912 -110490,00.html (accessed November 2, 2004).

(24.) The Council Conclusions of the Copenhagen European Council (June 1993) laid out the principal requirements for the admission of new members valid to date: democracy, rule of law, human rights, protection of minorities, functioning market economy, and capacity to cope with competitive pressures and market forces within the union. The Copenhagen criteria serve as a standard of reference measuring the candidates’ progress toward accession. See the relevant Annual Regular Reports of the European Commission 1998-2002 accessible through http://www. htm (accessed August 8, 2004).

(25.) See Ole Waever, “Societal Security: The Concept,” in Identity, Migration and the New Security Agenda in Europe, ed. Ole Waever, Barry Buzan, Morten Kelstrup, and Pierre Lemaitre, 17-40 (New York: St. Martin’s, 1993).

(26.) Ole Waever “Securitization and Desecuritization,” in On Security, ed. Ronnie Lipschutz, 46-86 (New York: Columbia Univ. Press, 1995).

(27.) European Union, “Consolidated Version of the Treaty of the European Union,” Official Journal of the European Communities C 325/5, December 24, 2002, title 5, article 11 (1).

(28.) Ibid., article 17 (1).

(29.) European Council, A Secure Europe in a Better World: European Security Strategy, December, 2003, (accessed January 31, 2004); European Commission, “The European Union and the United Nations: The Choice of Multilateralism,” Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament, (October 9, 2003), COM (2003) 526 final (Brussels: European Commission, 2003).

(30.) European Union, “Consolidated Version of the Treaty of European Union” title 5, article 14.

(31.) Ibid., article 17 (1) through (3). A Resolution of the European Parliament (April 18, 2002) called for the creation of a European armaments agency and the extension of certain principles of the EU’s common commercial policy and single market to integration in the defense industry. See European Commission, “Common Foreign and Security Policy,” Bulletin, EU 4-2002, April 18, 2002, off/bull/en/200204/p106004.htm (accessed April 24, 2005). The Thessaloniki Council of June 2003 further underlined the functional approach to security and defense through the creation of a European Armaments Agency. See European Council, Presidency Conclusions, Thessaloniki, 2003, http://www.europa. (accessed August 21, 2003).

(32.) Jean-Marc Trouille, “France, Germany and the Eastwards Expansion of the EU: Toward a Common Ostpolitik,” in EU Expansion to the East, ed. Hilary Ingham and Mike Ingham, 50-64 (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2002), see 51.

(33.) On Germany’s geopolitical interest in EU expansion into Eastern Europe and the political significance of its renewed Ostpolitik, see Thomas Pedersen, France, Germany and the Integration of Europe: A Realist Interpretation (London: Pinter, 1998).

(34.) The special relationship between France and Germany was established by the signing of the Elysee Treaty of 1963. Irrespective of the coordination mechanism of European Political Cooperation since 1970, the Franco-German partnership has remained the single most consistent source of leadership in the expanding European Union.

(35.) The first hints of a deteriorating relationship appeared in 1988 when President Mitterrand rejected Chancellor Kohl’s proposal of a joint initiative toward the Soviet Union in which France was designated a junior partner position. Strong divergences reemerged on Yugoslavia and the Economic and Monetary Union. See William Hay, “Quiet Quake in Europe: The French and the Germans Divide,” Paper, EU Integration and Enlargement Series (Philadelphia: Foreign Policy Research Institute, 2000), globalbeat/emu/FPRI1000.html (accessed October 3, 2003).

(36.) Pedersen, France, Germany and the Integration of Europe, 189.

(37.) See David Long, “The Security Discourses of the European Union: A Functional Critique,” in New Perspectives on International Functionalism, ed. Lucian Ashworth and David Long, 120-36 (London: Macmillan Press, 1999), see 127.

(38.) European Council, Conclusions of the Presidency, Copenhagen, June 21-22, 1993, SN 180/93 (Brussels: European Council, 1993). See also n. 24, above.

(39.) Holm, European Anarchy, 228.

(40.) The NATO Membership Action Plans were launched at the Washington Summit of the Alliance (1999) to help candidate countries in their preparations toward membership. See “Membership Action Plans,” (accessed May 4, 2005).

(41.) Regular Reports of the European Commission, 1998/2003.

(42.) All relevant EU guidelines posit that its security policy is compatible with NATO’s defense objectives. For a discussion of CFSP, see http://www. (accessed May 18, 2003).

(43.) The “15+15” format of security cooperation includes the 15 EU members plus non-EU European NATO members and the EU candidates.

(44.) The Financial Perspective for the period 2000-2006 initially provided resources for six new members. Based on the recommendations of the European Commission, the financial framework was updated to include ten countries and made the 2002 accession decision of the Copenhagen European Council possible. On the role of financial issues in enlargement, see Gerda Falkner and Michael Nentwich, “Enlarging the European Union: The Short-term Success of Incrementalism and Depoliticization,” in European Union: Power and Policy-making, ed. Jeremy Richardson, 259-82 (London: Routledge, 2001), see 265-66.

(45.) The discussion and modalities of Turkey’s membership in the EU remain outside the scope of this study.

(46.) The establishment of ESDI within NATO was based on the understanding that the EU needed credible military forces (at the St. Malo Franco-British Summit of 1998). As a result, the European Council in Cologne in June 1999 agreed to give “EU itself the means and capabilities needed for the implementation of a common European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP). The role previously undertaken by the WEU was progressively assumed by the European Union.” See NATO, “NATO-EU Relations” NATO Handbook, 2002, http://www. (accessed October 23, 2003).

(47.) See European Commission, press release, IP/00/65 (January 21, 2000), comm/external_relations/news/01_00/ip_00_65.htm (accessed December 28, 2003).

(48.) For example, at a critical moment of the Bosnian war in 1992, France negotiated a reopening of the Sarajevo airport and emergency aid to the city, under Serbian siege at the time, outside EU diplomatic channels. As the union had previously failed to achieve that, the French action demonstrated the limitations of joint EU efforts.

(49.) European Commission, “Wider Europe-Neighbourhood: A New Framework for Relations with Our Eastern and Southern Neighbours,” Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament, COM (2003) 104 final (Brussels: European Commission, 2003).

(50.) European Council, “Presidency Conclusions Helsinki European Council” (December 10-11, 1999), Bulletin EC12/99 (Brussels: European Union, 1999).

(51.) Details of the Stabilization and Association Process are provided in European Commission, Report from the Commission COM (2002) 163 final (Brussels: European Commission, 2002), 4-7.

(52.) See General Affairs and External Relations Council, Council Conclusions, Luxembourg, June 16, 2003, (accessed January 30, 2004).

(53.) European Commission, Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament COM (2003) 285 (Brussels: European Commission, 2003), 7.

(54.) See European Council, Joint Action 20021210/ CFSP, (accessed January 30, 2004).

(55.) Details of the Concordia mission are available at January 17, 2004). On the Althea mission, see European Council, Council Joint Action 2004/570/CFSP, Official Journal of the European Union L 252/10, July 28, 2004.

(56.) This section refers extensively to European Commission, Regular Reports on Progress toward Accession, 1999-2000, comm/enlargement.htm (accessed March 24, 2004).

(57.) European Commission, Regular Report from the Commission on Progress toward Accession by Each of the Candidate Countries (Brussels: European Commission, 1999), 2, in/comm/enlargement/report_10_99/intro/index.html (accessed October 3, 2003).

(58.) The EU adopted common strategies toward Russia and Ukraine in 1999. The TACIS program was originally designed for the period 1991-99 and extended within the 2000-06 financial framework. During the period 1997-99, the EU signed partnership and cooperation agreements with the former Soviet Republics in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

(59.) See European Commission, “Wider Europe-Neighbourhood”; and European Commission, “European Neighbourhood Policy,” Strategy Paper: Communication from the Commission, COM (2004) 373 final (Brussels: European Commission, 2004).

(60.) European Commission, “Wider Europe-Neighbourhood,” 5.

(61.) The European Neighborhood Instrument is expected to become operational in 2007.

(62.) Heather Grabbe, “Stabilizing the East while Keeping Out the Easterners,” 91-92.

Boyka Stefanova is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where she specializes in comparative and European politics and democratic transitions.

TABLE 1. The EU’s Progressive Enlargement Strategy

Eastern Europe Western Balkans

1991-1993 1991

Europe agreements Guidelines on the recognition

of new states

1993 1991

Copenhagen Criteria EC monitoring mission for

the Western Balkans

1994-1996 1996

Applications for membership Royaumont process/regional


1998 1997

Accession negotiations I: Association relations

Czech Republic, Estonia, commenced

Hungary, Poland, Slovenia

1999 1999

Accession negotiations II: Stability pact for South-East

Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Europe

Romania, Slovakia

2002 1999

Tier one completes Stabilization and Association

negotiations: Process (SAP)/CARDS

Czech Republic, Estonia,

Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania,

Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia

2004 2003

Eastward enlargement (first Thessaloniki Council:

wave): EU commitment to the

Czech Republic, Estonia, integration of the Western Balkans

Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania,

Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia

2005 2003

Tier two accession treaty: Peacekeeping mission

Bulgaria, Romania Concordia; police missions

EUPM (Bosnia-Herzegovina);

Proxima (Macedonia)

2007 2004

Eastward enlargement Mission Althea

(second wave) (Bosnia-Herzegovina)

Turkey Wider Europe

1959 1995

Application for associate Euro-Mediterranean

status partnership

1963 1997

Association agreement Partnership and cooperation

agreements with CIS

1964 1998

Customs Union agreement First communication on

neighborhood relations

1987 1999

Application for membership Common strategies:

Russia and Ukraine

1995 2001

Customs Union completed Common strategy: Middle


1999 2003

Candidate status granted Wider Europe


2002 2004

Copenhagen Council decision European neighborhood

on accession negotiation policy strategy paper


2004 2007

Accession decision New neighborhood instrument

2005 Beyond 2007

Accession negotiations Enhanced partnerships and


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