Das Europäische Parlament geht auf Distanz zur EU-Erweiterung
In: Südosteuropa-Mitteilungen, Jg. 46 (2006) ; Nr. 2, S. 14 - 27
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.