25 Jun 2007

Whole, free and integrated? A Transatlantic Perspective on the European Neighbourhood

Fabrizio Tassinari

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Since the end of the cold war until 2004, Europe and America’s strategic outlooks towards the European neighbourhood ran largely in parallel. Washington’s foreign policy mantra was that of a Europe ‘whole and free’, where the dividing lines inherited from the cold war were to dissolve through the gradual inclusion of Central Europe in the Euro-Atlantic family of nations. The EU focused on its enlargement strategy, which ensured that progress of the former communist countries would be monitored and benchmarked, in order to attain the ultimate goal of their full integration into the EU. Is this transatlantic goal of making Europe ‘whole, free and integrated’ still valid in the post-enlargement European context, and is it applicable to the wider European neighbourhood? After September 11th, with a particularly assertive US administration and an increasingly introspective EU, the answer to these questions is hardly apparent. In an attempt to clarify matters, this first offers a conceptual reading of the US and EU approaches to the European neighbourhood. It then maps transatlantic divergence and convergence in the countries and regions of the European neighbourhood. On the basis of this assessment, the third section ponders a set of recommendations to inspire a transatlantic agenda that accounts for the emergence of this wider European neighbourhood.