Sunday, November 26, 2006

EU to Expand Regional Influence

Source: EU to work harder at being a good neighbour -

Benita Ferrero-Waldner, EU External Relations Commissioner, is expected to unveil an upgraded “neighborhood policy” this week. The proposal includes several new initiatives designed to improve relations between Europe and its neighbors to the east and south. In particular, the neighborhood includes countries in the Caucasus, Middle East, and Western Sahara that have little chance of joining the EU anytime soon.

Ms. Ferror-Waldner’s plan has several goals. She seeks comprehensive free trade agreements with neighboring countries that cover non-tariff barriers. She proposes a simpler visa regime to facilitate travel to and from Europe, but, in exchange, expects more help from neighboring countries to battle illegal immigration. She asks that Europe set aside 1 billion Euro to fund investment in the neighboring countries to promote governance and democracy. Finally, she believes that Europe must do more to help in regional conflicts in the neighborhood area, including peacekeeping operations, to protect Europe’s interests, such as potential refugee crises, energy disruptions, and terrorism.


Is the EU’s plan to expand its influence into neighboring countries a good idea? Will the EU’s efforts to stabilize these countries create goodwill or engender greater conflict?

No comments: