This study is an attempt to think systematically about the enlarging European Union’s relationships with the rest of Europe and the arc of Arab and Muslim states that are Europe’s neighbours, from Morocco to Central Asia through Iraq – two vast regions that may be called the ‘Wider Europe’ and the ‘Greater Middle East’. While the EU of 25 member states has a population of 450 million people and a national income of about 10,000 billion euro, the Wider Europe adds another 360 million people but only 10% more income, despite containing the great natural resources of Russia. The Greater Middle East adds another 392 million people, but again only 10% more income, despite the fabulous oil wealth of the Middle East.
These disproportions speak trouble. Recent developments in the EU-Russia relationship are worrying, as the enlarging EU now meets a more assertive Russia in the overlapping ‘near-abroad’ regions and where effective strategic partnership seems elusive. In the Greater Middle East, the search for the formula for democratic modernisation also remains elusive, two years after the events of 11 September 2001. These are the rationales for the European Union’s current efforts to define a Wider Europe policy and European Security Strategy. Yet these initiatives are not credibly articulated so far. The present study makes an independent contribution towards defining more substantive and structured EU strategies. It argues for seven common European policy spaces, which should relate to all the states and regions of the Wider Europe and its neighbourhood, with gradations of course, but still having overall coherence. This is also what will define the final frontiers of Europe.
Michael Emerson is an Associate Senior Research Fellow at CEPS and former EU ambassador to Russia.