Foreign Policy and Civil Society Program
The consensus behind the enlargemento the European Union and NATO iscrumbling. The strategic paradigmthat has guided the West’s enlargementto Central and Eastern Europe sincethe mid 1990s no longer ts today’sstrategic circumstances. Absent a newnarrative or urther enlargement anda revised strategy or accomplishingit, the historic window or extend-ing core Western institutions to newdemocracies as part o building a Eu-rope that is unied, ree, and at peaceis likely to close.Today in the West there is still aconsensus that most i not all o thecountries in the western Balkansshould eventually join the EU andNATO i they wish, provided they meet the standards required. Icelandis also considering joining the EU, andit is unlikely to be a controversial can-didate. Nor would Swedish or Finn-ish candidacy or NATO meet withopposition i either country chose thatoption. But there the consensus ends.Prospects or Turkey’s EU candidacy are declining in the ace o publicskepticism in Europe and waningreorm momentum at home. Behindclosed doors, Brussels ocials worry that Turkey’s EU outlook could die viaa hundred mini-cuts that would sap itsstrength, or a sudden crisis that wouldbecome the political equivalent o aheart attack. In private, some Turkishpoliticians say they have already abandoned the goal.O course Turkey’s candidacy precedesthe collapse o communism and theenlargement o the 1990s, and haslong been seen as on a separate track.Nevertheless, i Turkey’s EU candidacy does collapse, it becomes harder toimagine enlargement to other coun-tries in the EU’s Eastern Partnershipthat do not even have a membershipperspective today. For several yearsnow, some analysts have suggested thatthe EU should replace NATO as theleading institution in uture enlarge-ment eorts. That argument was basedon the assumption that the EU today is nally strong enough to assumesuch a role and that EU-led Westernintegration would be less oensive toMoscow. However, it is ar rom clearthat the EU is either willing or able toplay that role. While the integrativepotential o the EU is considerable,bringing that power to bear has beendicult given the internal divisionsin the EU. The current economic andmonetary troubles in the EU only underscore Brussels’ weakness ratherthan its strength. And the globaleconomic downturn has only rein-orced a tendency to look inwardrather than outward.Prospects or NATO enlargement alsoare not bright. In April 2008, in Bucha-rest, the Alliance made its strongest-ever political commitment to the even-tual enlargement o NATO to includeUkraine and Georgia. But that papercommitment masks deep divisions. Theenlargement issue has become a kind o
by Ronald D. Asmus*
May 10, 2010
1744 R Street NWWashington, DC 20009T 1 202 745 3950F 1 202 265 1662E firstname.lastname@example.org
Summary: The consensus behind the enlargement of the EuropeanUnion and NATO is crumbling. Thestrategic paradigm that guidedenlargement to Central and EasternEurope since the mid 1990s no lon-
ger ts today’s circumstances. Ab
-sent a new narrative and a revisedstrategy, the historic window for en-larging core Western institutions tonew democracies is likely to close.To some degree, the West is of course a victim of its own success.The EU and NATO are also struggling with “enlargement fatigue.”But it would be wrong to attribute the demise of enlargement consen-sus to these factors. The reasons for the current malaise run deeper andrequire a change in policy. If enlargement is not to die, we need anew narrative for why enlargementstill matters and a new strategy
modied to t today’s political and
strategic realities.In our next issue of
On Wider Europe
.Ivan Krastev will respond with hisviews on “Is Enlargement Dead?”
Ronald D. Asmus is the executive director of the Transatlantic Center for Strategic Planning at the German Marshall Fund of the
United States’ (GMF) Brussels’ ofce.
The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the
views of German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF).
Is Enlargement Dead?