Enlargement is one of the European Union’s most successful policies which has both shaped the European Union itself to a large extent, but also been an efficient foreign policy tool to contribute to peace and stability all throughout Europe.
The European Economic Community started 50 years ago with 6 members and a population of less than 200 million people. Five successive enlargements later, the European Union with its 27 Member States and a population of almost 500 people, is safer, wealthier, stronger, more influential and the world’s largest economic zone. The last big enlargement round celebrates this year its 5th anniversary. Further EU enlargements are in the pipeline with three countries having the candidate status (Croatia, Turkey and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) and five countries considered as potential candidate countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo under the UN Security Council Resolution 1244/99). Still, enlargement is a highly politicized area and depending on many factors, most importantly the capacity for reform in the candidate countries, but also in the European Union.
TEPSA’s approach to enlargement is twofold: on the one hand, TEPSA has been analyzing and assessing enlargement from a research point of view and given recommendations to policy-makers. On the other hand, TEPSA itself is an example of enlargement with the circle of member institutes growing with every enlargement round. TEPSA nowadays also comprises of associate members in Croatia and Turkey and hence contributes to familiarizing academics all over and even beyond Europe.
Putting research into practice
Having consequently grown by adopting new members in parallel to the EU’s enlargement rounds, one of TEPSA’s main focuses is the widening of the European Union, with the past and forthcoming enlargement rounds. The relations with the Balkans and Turkey, the recently created European Neighbourhood Policy and relations with Russia are among TEPSA’s topics. In the view of the 5th anniversary of the EU-10 enlargement, TEPSA will continue its efforts to analyze the effects of enlargement.
In 2009 TEPSA will look at the impact of EU policies in the old and especially the new member states. These questions will be addressed by the Brussels-based TEPSA Friends meetings, by TEPSA Guest Lectures, and by focusing upon those topics which provide a clear benefit to the European citizens.
TEPSA will also extend its activities to and thereby develop closer ties with Turkey in the framework of the projects “Mobilizing Local Networks for a better informed Dialogue on Turkey’s Accession to the EU” (ACCESS-TR) and “Strengthening and Integrating Academic Networks” (SInAN), both coordinated by the Centre for European Studies at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, in the first case in co-operation with TEPSA.
Although the European Community started as an economic cooperation, its growing influence and responsibilities have called for the development of a common foreign and security policy, first incorporated in the Maastricht Treaty and revised by the Amsterdam Treaty and the Treaty of Nice.
The basis of the CFSP is to use diplomacy, backed up where necessary by trade, aid and other policies, to push for international understanding, to try to solve regional or local conflicts and to prevent new ones occurring. Also the post of High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy with a crisis staff plus a political and security committee and a military committee was created to give EU diplomacy more influence and make it more visible. The European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) being a part of the CFSP which includes tasks such as an EU military force could undertake for example humanitarian and rescue missions, peacekeeping, crisis management and even peacekeeping. Based on the unanimity rule the member states have had and still have the essential authority in the area of foreign and security policy but the European Commission and the European Parliament developed more and more influence in the process as well.
A European expert network
TEPSA’s member institutes are to a large extent experts in the area of Foreign Policy. Foreign Policy, being closely linked to the deepening of the European Union, the role of Europe in the world and the interaction between an emerging European foreign policy and national foreign policies, is at the core of TEPSA’s research. Based on its member institutes’ expertise in international relations and European affairs as well as their key positions in national policy-making circles TEPSA can offer different national perspectives on specific foreign policy issues.