Axt, Heinz-Jürgen; Milososki, Antonio; Schwarz, Oliver:

Das Europäische Parlament geht auf Distanz zur EU-Erweiterung

In: Südosteuropa-Mitteilungen, Jg. 46 (2006) ; Nr. 2, S. 14 - 27
ISSN: 0340-174X
Zeitschriftenaufsatz / Fach: Politikwissenschaft
The European Parliament (EP) has spectacularly ended its discussion about
deepening and widening the EU with the report of its member Elmar Brok, who
initiated a debate that was long overdue. The future enlargement of the EU requires
a broader political debate without populism. So far, the so-called “plan D” initiated by
the European Commission itself has received little response by the member states. It
remains to hope that this EP paper is going to animate long-lasting discussions and
will not remain a “political tranquilizer” without effects.
Nevertheless, the signal to all EU-aspirant states is clear: there will be no more
enlargement automatism in the future. In the past, the Copenhagen criteria were
often pushed into the backdrop or almost forgotten. The time of discounts has gone.
The interests of the EU-aspirant countries, however, should not be ignored. All
discussions about possible alternatives to EU integration are received by them with
understandable concern and extreme mistrust, as the example of Macedonia shows.
The EU must prevent a possible loosing of its credibility or it risks diminishing the
reform eagerness in the states willing to join it and a reappearance of nationalisms.
Preventing renewed violence and chaos in the West-Balkan region ranks among the
highest interests of the EU itself. Therefore, beyond the usual lip-service of the
“European perspective”, the western Balkan needs more clear signals that European
integration continues to go ahead. Full visa liberalization or facilitated utilization of
financial assistance would be a strong intermediate support for the western Balkan
states on their still long way to the EU.