|European Regional Science Association|
The abstract for paper number 198:
Olga Mrinska, Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University
Lecturer, Kyiv, Ukraine
Enlarging EU – its Influence on External and Internal Borders of the New Neighbours. Case of Ukraine
Tremendous integration processes occurring in Europe over the last dozen of years and harmonisation of policies in all spheres of international co-operation today shapes new continent. Collaboration and agreeing of interests in economic, social, military, ecological and other domains make supranational decision-making especially significant for reaching the consensus among European nation-states.
At the same time geographical rim of Europe lay far more to the East than Eastern borders of Poland, Slovakia, Baltic states and other CEE countries, which is going to become EU members in the period of 2004-2007. Ukraine, Belarus, Moldavia and European part of Russia constitute another piece of European architecture, though being quite different. For ages these orthodox nations preserved their uniqueness and diversity which made them quite different from other European countries. 70 years of Socialism made this gap even deeper and sharper. However European nature of these nations can not be denied and in different periods their histories were similar to those belonging to future member states.
The important question today to ask is how Europe will look like after 2004: whether we will face iron fences on the new Eastern border of the European Union, which would be supposes to protect Western world from the illegal immigrants, crime, drugs, etc. In this case the price should be paid for this isolation and Europe must be prepared for further deepening of political instability in new neighbours and sharpening of dislike of EU ‘way of living’ by former USSR republics. The other option would be to build up the new kind of equal relationships taking into account the specifics of new neighbours as well as existence of formal and informal links between them and accession countries. This would require consolidation of efforts of EU and non-EU countries towards creating efficient system of institutionalised co-operation, exchange of information and intellect, strengthened harmonisation of regulations and principles existing in EU and other European countries.
The end of the year 2002 was crucial time for the future of Europe. Accession of 10 new members in 2004 will lead to drastic changes in continental geopolitics and geoeconomics. At the same time it will strengthen the position of Europe as equal balance to US core of modern world policy and economy. That is why special attention in the course of the next 10-20 years should be given to building secure and stable political and economic system on the continent. And here new neighbours of EU can not be excluded from the coherent European orchestra.
Ukraine recently publicly announced about its European inspirations and wishes to be integrated into NATO and EU. It is strictly determined that such inspirations can not be realised in the short-term period. However losing time by both Ukraine and EU for building new fences and new regulations aimed at disintegration and deepening the political and economic gap seems to be inefficient approach. Instead a rational policy directed at approaching the Ukrainian system and regulations in different spheres (trade, finances, banking, industry, services, transport, infrastructure, R&D, etc.) to those existing in EU should be established.
Appearance of EU frontiers just on the Ukrainian border will have serious influence on spatial development of the country. Historically Ukraine was divided by so called ‘Huntington line’ into two major parts – West and East (the river of Dnieper could be considered as a natural border in a way). Coming from the common history of Western Ukraine with such countries as Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania it is easy to predict that this region will tend to be more integrated into European community. It is not only the matter of formal relations but also a case of social and cultural similarity, informal relations between the nations divided by state borders some centuries ago. At the same time Eastern Ukraine for the last several centuries were under the strong influence of Russia. Establishing a ‘closed European club’, neglecting European nature of Ukrainian state, just to the West from the border, could heat up pro-Russian integration mood among population and simultaneously brake still fragile European hopes of Ukraine.
The main objective of this paper is to examine the consequences of EU enlargement on its future and the biggest immediate ‘new neighbour’ – Ukraine. What influence this spatial expansion will have on external and internal policy of the state, on its regions and communities? And also what could be done in order to soften the effects of new dividing wall in case it will appear on Western border of Ukraine, Belarus and Moldavia? Special emphasis will be put on the instruments of Trans-border co-operation, which as European practice demonstrates, could have crucial influence on harmonisation of policies and actions from the both
Unfortunately full paper has not been submitted.