Identity Construction Through the ENP: Borders and Boundaries, Insiders and Outsiders
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING? THE EUROPEAN NEIGHBOURHOOD POLICY SINCE 2003, Chapter 3, London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2009
48 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2009 Last revised: 1 Dec 2009
Date Written: October 7, 2009
The basic conceptual argument for looking at the ENP through the prism of identity construction is that this offers a unique frame of reference that is potentially capable of providing a more profound understanding of the European Union – both as an international actor and as source of foreign policy in the international system. To do so, this chapter proceeds in the first part, by laying out the basic conceptual arguments for looking at the ENP through the prism of identity construction, introducing readers to this theoretical approach, highlighting its assumptions and laying bare both its strengths and weaknesses as an analytical approach. Section two will open with an argument that the definition of the 'European' has always been a contested one, that it has undergone repeated revisions, and that it has never been definitively resolved. This section will also trace the roots and the movement in Europe's identity borders – underlining the contingent nature of these borders and how critical is their political and cultural context. The third section will address itself directly to the construction of the ENP's 'borders' – tracing the relevant elite-level discourses and highlighting the critical junctures which have contributed to the solidification of this particular border set at this particular time, and offer an answer to the question‚ 'Why this ENP and why now?‛ Special attention will be given to the contested nature of ENP's definition of borders in terms of the 'non-prospective EU membership criteria'. The solidity of that criterion will be tested as will its prima facie rationale. In the final section we will return to the contingent nature of borders, the 'fuzziness' of the Union's existing borders and making the argument for further eastwards and southwards enlargement of the Union in the medium to longer term.
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