Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies, University of Malta
Malta’s interest in the future evolution of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) is primarily focused on the southern dimension of the ENP, that is, the Mediterranean. Thus, Malta wholeheartedly supported that French initiative to establish a Union for the Mediterranean.
The conflict between Russia and Georgia however also focused Malta’s attention to the fact that more effort needs to be dedicated to projecting stability to the EU’s eastern borders. Twenty years after the end of the Cold War Summit in Malta in December 1989 between President George H. W. Bush and President Mikhail Gorbachev it is clear that the ENP needs to continue to serve as a mechanism that seeks to integrate non-EU states closer to the EU.
Croatia must join and fast
Malta continues to advocate that membership to the EU for Croatia should take place in the shortest time frame possible. Apart from being beneficial for Croatia, this will also help to boost stability across the Balkans. Membership for other candidates does not receive much attention during this period.
NATO and the Partnership for Peace
Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University
Lithuania has always sustained an ‘open door’ policy regarding EU enlargement. Speaking about the further enlargement, Lithuanian officials most often concentrate on the EU Eastern neighbours. As it is laid down in the programme of the new government, Lithuania will support the efforts of Ukraine, Moldova and the states of Southern Caucasus to integrate in to the EU. Lithuanian Foreign Affairs Minister, Vygaudas Ušackas, emphasized that “it is necessary to keep the EU obligations for the countries, aspiring membership in the EU. At the same time it is essential to help the EU eastern neighbours to prepare for it properly”.
There should be no impediments for the further enlargement of the EU
Latvian Institute of International Affairs
Despite the difficult situation in Georgia after the military conflict of August 2008, which will probably have an indirect – possibly also direct – impact on both the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and the enlargement of the Union, Latvia remains a consistent supporter of both the ENP and the idea that the EU should not close its doors to new and worthy members. EU enlargement and the ENP will, in all likelihood, continue be high-salience topics in Latvia. Evidence for this comes from the public statements of Latvian leaders and the recent policy documents issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Structural weakness of the European Neighbourhood Policy, strong and balanced relationship with Russia needed
Istituto Affari Internazionali
In Italy, the issue of the future of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and the enlargement of the EU is not of high salience as other European matters and therefore it has been debated much more at the level of think tanks and political elites than at the public opinion one.
Antonio Missiroli, director of studies at the “European Policy Centre”, believes that, after the Georgian crisis, the current ENP rationale is probably not adequate to meet the new challenges in this region. In his opinion, this is due to the fact that the ENP still suffers from three “structural weaknesses”: “it is neither enlargement nor foreign policy proper, and cannot therefore bring to bear all the tools of either; it is seriously under-resourced and over-reflective of the EU self-interest, so that there is too little in it for the neighbours; and it continues to constitute a catalyst for the different geopolitical priorities of the 27, thus generating permanent internal tensions and, occasionally, even paralysis”.
Institute for World Economics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Hungary continues to be committed to the enlargement of the European Union – primarily integrating the countries of the so-called Western Balkans. According to the new Hungarian External Relations Strategy “deepening co-operation among the countries of the Western Balkan region, their long-term stability, security, democracy, and their road to a market economy” belong to the core of Hungarian national (geopolitical) interests. The Strategy underlines that “the most effective way to achieve this in the long-term is to secure the Euro-Atlantic integration of all of its countries”. Hungary supports the ‘individual merit’ approach whereby the countries well prepared for Euro-Atlantic integration “should not suffer because of lagging behind of others”. On the contrary: “their progress should serve as an encouraging example to the countries left behind, showing that effective preparation brings about the desired outcome”.
Greek Centre of European Studies and Research
As already mentioned Greece has viewed the Georgia incident under two specific biases. First, a relatively pro-Russian tilt in the country’s foreign-policy equilibrium. Second, the lingering apprehensions rising out of the recent attempts for NATO accession of Georgia, of the Ukraine – and of the FYROM (with potential EU accession negotiations in the background in the case of the latter two countries). This has caused the relatively high support for the ENP in Greece, viewed as an alternative process of stabilisation in the wider area without necessarily leading to accession in the foreseeable future. The natural gas incident between Moscow and Kiev has brought further reservations to the surface.
Centre européen de Sciences Po
The military conflict in Georgia has been massively discussed in France. First of all, it was observed that, confronted with an international crisis, the European Union appeared to be unusually active, in comparison with the paralysed attitude of the United States. According to “Les Echos”, the EU finally snapped out of its customary irresponsibility and realised that post Cold War Russia is its true problem. Some experts, such as J. Sapir from “Ecole des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales” (EHESS) criticised EU’s attitude considering that it failed to enforce international law. However, most observers insist on positive aspects of the EU’s behaviour.