Example European Studies Essay: A Case Study of a Narrow Definition of Europe

Example European Studies Essay: A Case Study of a Narrow Definition of Europe
The European or EU citizen is at the present time becomingsynonymous with the definition of the point to where the continent of Europeextends. This seems to be the case with the present reaction to enlargement andthe focus on crime from outside the borders of the EU and the fears of crimefrom the newly integrated countries and from those countries that ring the EU.Enlargement will illustrate the new tiered system in the EU, the newly ascendedcountries from post-Communist countries, which are viewed as not trulyEuropean. Therefore this discussion will illustrate how the definition of whatEurope is in the 21st Century has been narrowed from the expanse ofthe European continent to the membership of the EU; whereby countries are aimingto join this political unit in order to gain legitimacy within the globalpolitical and economic structure.
Enlargement of the EU is a mixed blessing, becauseon one hand it is helping to achieve a status of stability and cohesivenessthroughout the region. On the other hand, there are concerns that in making theUnion larger will in fact de-stabilize the region. This is due to prejudice ofcertain groups which would have free access in the region, one such group arethe Roma Gypsy migrants from Slovakia. In the past few months the newspapershave displayed the concerns of the British public and politicians about thesemigrants when the nation joins the EU. Therefore this introduces the questionwhether the EU really respects the integrity of cultural difference? Otherproblems include the possible de-stabilizing of the economy by incorporatingsmaller, less affluent countries; marginal and war torn countries; andtransitional countries. These countries could also cause the EU problems inregard to its unique approach of ensuring cohesiveness by using the rule of law,because if the EU gets too large it may not be possible any longer to ensureits political and legal stability. Therefore the consistency and coherence thatthe rule of law ensures is no longer apparent due to the sheer size of theUnion. Another problem lies in the fact that smaller nations may not have thelegal, political and economic clout to ensure that their agenda is considered.Although previously it has been mentioned that the EU's rule of law acts as acheck and balance to more powerful nations, in truth the original countries inthe EU were mainly ex-colonial empires. The newer nations that are joining theEU are akin to colonies of a colonial power, therefore there is an inherentimbalance in the Union.

However in response to the negative effects of thepossible de-stabilization of the region, one must consider that in order tojoin the Union each nation must have fulfilled the Copenhagen Criteria. This criterion states that each joining nation mustbe:

Be a stable democracy, respecting human rights, the rule of law,and the protection of minorities; have a functioning market economy; adopt thecommon rules, standards and policies that make up the body of EU law.

The EU paints avery enthusiastic picture of enlargement, where the only outcome of enlargementis beneficial. In truth this is a very lopsided picture because of the publicoutcry against the possible immigration into the original EU states. This canbe seen in the article by Cathy Newman in the Financial Times:

Britain will throw open its doors to workers from the formercommunist countries joining the European Union on May 1, but those that refuseto get a job will be denied benefits and thrown out, the government haspledged

Tony Blair - after months of pressure from the Tories and therightwing press over fears of an influx of immigrants from the former Sovietbloc - vowed: "If they can't support themselves, they will be put out ofthe country."

This articleillustrates the problems that have occurred within one nation over the policyof enlargement. Although the enlargement is supposed to bring together theEuropean region, the public opinion of at least one EU nation is resisting theexpansion, in relation to economic migrants - migrants which the nation hastraditionally refused asylum applications. However these fears may be unfoundedbecause as Kraus & Schwagerargue that increased migration from East to West EU countries would onlyoccur under the fear of rejection to Union membership. In fact they argue thatthe EU's expansion will have a beneficial effect on the economy of thesesmaller nations and this will result in a boost of their economies and jobmarket, hence reducing the amount of migrants from East to West. The conclusionof their article they state that:

Policy makers who are, forwhatever reason, reluctant to accept large numbers of immigrants should notfeel troubled with enlargement. On the contrary, the prospect of joining the EUmay well reduce immigration. The economic and social benefits which probablyaccrue to Eastern Europe from accession should be presented as a means toreducing the incentives to emigrate. Policies which enhance convergence ofincome levels in eastern and western Europe, such as the internal market and,possibly, Structural Funds should be promoted. .. In this process, diverginginterests of major EU members have created substantial uncertainty about thedate and conditions of accession. It is quite plausible that such uncertaintyhas raised the fear among potential migrants that accession may fail or bepostponed for a long time. According to our result, this may have increasedimmediate immigration. Thus, if immigration is not desirable, for future accessionrounds a straightforward and predictable negotiation process is to berecommended.

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