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Does EU’s “border backyard” intersect Russia’s “Near Abroad”?

The wide-ranging experience of the “Big-Bang” enlargement provided initial impetus for extended cooperation with EU’s neighbouring countries and has progressively transformed in “European Neighbourhood Policy” (ENP). After launching an intensive and increasingly integrating program, aiming to avoid new divisions in Europe and boost tremendously compound transformation process in the EU’s Southern and Eastern neighbours, harsh discussions are open which tend to bemoan that the scope of existing ENP is not able to assign instrumental leverages for significant developments in partner countries.

Since its establishment, the ENP has been characterized by conceptual shortcomings and implementation Challenges, apparently, ENP lacks operational instruments for expeditious changes. At an initial stage, European Neighbourhood Policy was designed as an innovative foreign policy mechanism, with considerable financial support and soft power tools.

Instruments such as diminished trade barriers and easier travel opportunities are aspired to the structural reorganization of participating countries, to strengthen local political institutions and sustain free market economies which will finally result in autonomous, democratic authorities benefiting from EU’s common, internal market. Eleven years after, presented geopolitical reality does not meet the requirements and expectations of formally, indeed well-structured policy. Together with diverse essential reasons, obviously, an intensive, in-depth engagement process causes resentment, as immediate short-term progress is not feasible in partner countries. In addition, as ENP is not premeditated for guaranteed accession to the Union, countries intended to closer association with the EU feel frustrated, whether cooperation is mutually-desired, both from accession oriented countries and the Union itself.

expansion_map416The sources of present difficulties run deep to policy formation process. Subsequent to ENP’s establishment, behind officially promoted rationale, based on explicitly worthy objectives to spread democracy, the rule of law and establish functioning free market economies in adjacent territories, European Union was trying to maintain regional power and preserve its bordering countries with EU supported governments, in order to sustain credibility of essential European Values and realize main Foreign policy goals.

Hence, in light of the major socio-economic problems related to ENP sixteen countries, covering Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe, politically aggravated obstructions are mainly visible in the most contiguous region in the South-Eastern part which is formally referred as Russia’s “Near Abroad”. Union’s unwilling rivalry with Russia is exceedingly evident in the case of Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia, as these countries most openly declare the willingness to the Euro-Atlantic integration.