The Grand Enlargement and the Great Wall of Europe
I would like to focus here on a development of central importance both for Europe and its partners elsewhere, for which planning has been intricately detailed in some areas, myopically absent in others: the new Europe we shall inhabit beginning the first of May, 2004.
This is the success-story of EU enlargement, a Cinderella-like tale of mutual self-interest, rewarded. Yet, if we can say that the Grand Enlargement has been successful in prompting and sustaining a revolutionary transformation of eight formerly communist countries, then the picture is rather different for the rest of the post-communist world. Those states that failed to enact deep and wide-ranging reforms are plagued by metastasizing corruption; their societies inadvertently export organized crime, illegal immigrants and little else. The New Neighbors, especially those with few prospects at this time for EU membership – Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Serbia, Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and further afield, Georgia and Armenia – have advanced little since the collapse of communism.
The fundamental strategic political and economic decision the EU faces, therefore, is what to do with the New Neighbors? This is not just a matter of delaying a decision; the EU must also consider the implications and prospects of being bounded by states rife with the very problems the Grand Enlargement was designed to eliminate. Will the New Neighbors also be offered the chance to join? Will they be offered an accession-for-reforms package? When would they join? What are the options for, what are the engines of a continued enlargement? Does the bargain, the carrot and the stick offered to the countries of the Grand Enlargement, also hold for these new neighbors? All of these are pressing questions, for as the Grand Enlargement nears completion, the prospects for further enlargement are changing in a number of ways.