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Re-emerging Central Europe Research Paper


Introduction

European has gradually experienced tremendous development in its political and economic systems since the end of the World War II. This has been a tough undertaking characterized by construction and reconstruction of strategies to at achieving the intended goals. This research paper goes through the trends of development and their respective strategies and challenges.

As the Europe came to acquire power both economically, politically and in military, the states came together to form a union with defined goals and objectives. Initially this union comprised of 15 member states but it was later expanded through accession of other states which included mostly the central Europe states.

The expansion or enlargement of the EU had accompanied effects on the EU both in political and economic field regarding the unions set goals.i This research paper explores the enlargement process as well as its impact to both the individual states in terms of domestic and international operations and the external and internal impacts on the EU in general.

This will assist in understanding the positive and negative effects on EU by the emerging central Europe and the arguments behind them. The study will focus on the development of Europe from 1945 and the strategies associated, the effect of before and after the establishment of the EU (with focus of one member state as a presentation of general EU), as well as the enlargement of EU and the accompanied impacts.

Acquisition of European power: background

Since 1945, globalization has taken a tough hold of the world operations with continents, such as Europe among others contributing significantly to this phenomenon. It is important to note that globalization is not just a random phenomenon but rather it is forward movement dictated by coherent, tangible and well-planned strategy.

Globalization has a characteristic of power consolidation whenever it occurs and in such nations such as Europe where “power begets power,” the essence of global system has a capacity of expanding the characteristic to a higher level.ii Globalization has affected sectors such as political, social, technology and economic among others which in return have significantly impacted the international organizations, unions and nations, with a good example being the European Union.

Politically, according to Smith, “globalization represents the leveraging of power beyond that found in any one nation which using global governance, this can be termed as a ‘new world civilization’ which builds international management.”iii However, as seen from early 20th century, political globalization is not a finger snap game. According to Olsen, “this macro-political transformation is the product of generation of changes, bumps and corrections, and decades of decisive planning.”iv

Back in 1949, the Marshal plan- which was employed to unite European after the Cold War and World War II – was integrated on the bases of meaning on money. It all became an issue of Europe and money, the peace and money, and mostly money and the power. The nation was determined to embark on a significant undertaking of sacrificing the absolute national sovereignty to ensure acquisition of nation’s integration into a federal system, along economic, political and military lines.

First, a political line was employed which although it failed to enhance the success of the intended objective, it positively impacted future undertakings through creation of European Council and European Parliament. The economic integration was therefore considered to accomplish what political line had failed.

This integration saw interlocking interest merging, elimination of economic competition through abolition of trade barriers, enhances common policies of labor market, enhances worker’s freedom of movement, and strengthened joined economic policies. As a result of this economic amalgamation, which has found it root in European Union and Euro currency, Europe became a significant recognized model for international advancement beyond bonders of single state interests.

According to Lister & Carbone, “A European Community on federal lines is a necessary and essential contribution to any word union since the members of the European Union transferred part of their sovereign rights on bases of political, economic and military to other federal which they constitute.”v On top of this, through capability of solving its destiny problems in a federal spirit, Europe has contributed to creation as well as reconstruction of “a world community of people.”vi

Some of the strategic goals which Europe successfully achieved through its march to amalgamation according to Güney and Çelenk, include; “harmonization of fiscal and agricultural policies, the treaty Rome and the subsequent European Economic Community and EURATOM agency, and the European steel and Coal community.”vii

In 1970, when OPEC petroleum crisis and financial systems of Bretton woods was overwhelming, there was a clear evidence of opportunities regionalism which was considered as a global transformation tool. Regionalism was viewed as a “trump card over nationalism.” Today, the “new regionalism” which has been embraced by organizations, individuals and government agencies is considered by European and other global elites as a prime stratagem for global governance.

Establishment of EU

At a glance, the European Union is a political and economical union with a total number of 27 member states with its location in Europe. The foundations of the European communities were the major determinants of EU establishment, in 1993 by the Treaty of Maastricht. Since its inception, the EU has so far established a “single market through a standardized law system which governs all its member states; this is to ensure free movement of people, capital, goods and services.”viii

There is also abolition of passport controls between the EU member states, and has maintained common policies on regional development, trade, fishery and agriculture.

On legal issues, European Union usually engages in agreements/treaties with member states as well as enacting laws on legal and internal matters, hence devising the “Common Foreign and Security Policy” which adopts a minor function in European security and external affairs. However, since the establishment of EU there have been transformations and Enlargement process of the union which are greatly influenced by the re-emerging central Europe.

EU enlargement: CEE membership (re-emerging central Europe)

EU Enlargement has contributed to not only opening of opportunity doors but has also brought challenges towards the individual member states and the EU itself. The existence of political paradigms, for instance are witnessed to be undergoing changes with each enlargement count, and the process has been accelerated by the recent enlargement of EU to the east absorbing ten new member states. On the other hand, the EU member states are reflected differently by this process.

The political identity transformation paradigms in EU member states have been reflecting on different levels of policy choice, encompassing approach towards new enlargements, their foreign policies and priorities of Council Presidency. A good example of this context is the case of Austria. The Enlargement process added to the Austria identity transformation, which has impacted her choices of foreign policy and her stance toward the EU.

Before and aftermath of EU establishment

Focusing on the situation of Austria, we learn that Austria’s identity and political culture is characterized by a complex structure whose complexity is involved in political processes.

As a result, both the Austrian political culture and her foreign policy agenda with its outcome have been reshaped. Several issues and concepts give light to Austrian’s present and future outcomes of policy, this include; the Austrian identity evolution after World War II; evolving concept of neutrality and its significance for domestic and international politics; importance of Mitteleuropa for Austria in the post-Cold war; and the concept of Kulturnation and its relevance to its Austrian identity formation and her foreign policy. This is so because the interaction outcome these highlighted concepts determine domestic and international bargaining ground for EU individual member states such as Austria.

Austrian turning point is traceable to the Second World War period. There are four focus items or debates which argue about the formation process of Austrian identity.

According to Dearden, these controversial debates are; “Anschluss to Nazi Germany being mainly interpreted as victimization of Austria, thus coming to term with the past turned out to be weaker in Austria: historical evolution of Austria identity emerged in parallel and eventually separate from German identity; Austrian nation was based on ethnic-cultural/ political-civic foundations; and the neutrality principle primarily provided Austria with the role as a mediator between east and the west.”ix

Therefore, according to these ideas, the formation process of Austria is focused on differentiated identity Vis-a Vis German identity. This argument applies a wider scope of separating identity from German to situating Austria in European and world politics through neutrality concept. In addition, the shift in geopolitical paradigms brought about identity crisis due to Eastern Enlargement and downfall of Soviet Union.

As a result, through reconstruction and construction of the EU member states identity in relation to domestic and international occurrences, the formation of the identity has been a slow process. However, the most heated issue has been between Austrian and German lines of Austrian collective identity; neutral nations have been established as a result of the identity formation evolution related to western democracies as well as norms with east and west commonalities.

Through comparing of the political history of the EU member states with the current political stand in both domestic and international affairs, one will be able to realize the impact that have been imposed in EU. This can also be integrated with other components of the member’s national identity.

This can be best viewed through analyzing how the Austrian concept of neutrality was defined and later redefined. This neutrality can be interpreted within a wide frame which acted as a tool of empowering the nation’s identity in an attempt of enabling it to arbitrate effectively between East and the West.

Before the EU membership prospect came to Austria, the domestic politics disregarded neutrality, and was little contested by the political parties. According to Van Reisen, “domestic problems arising out of neutrality issue manifested themselves at the national level, especially Vis-à-vis the EU membership of Nations such as Austria. However, on the establishment of the EU membership process, the neutrality issue evolved more widely.

In Austria and other nations for instance, this was an indication regarding their approach towards NATO and the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy.”x As a result, there has been a call to redefining neutrality with all the political frameworks and concepts which had been used throughout history needing change and simplification so that they would agree with the domestic and international politics challenges, especially at the period of accession of nations to the EU.

Effects of Enlargement

Initially, the EU comprised of 15 member states a number which recently has increased to 27. This enlargement affected significantly the broad swathes of EU policy with a particular area of interest being EU development policy. This has been so because of differing priorities of the new Central and Eastern European states as well as matters relating to diversion of aid to both poor and new states (Maxwell and Engel 2003, 152).

In addition, at every EU enlargement, there has been an influence on the geographical focus of EU development policy. There has never been a record before which showed inclusion of many former EU financial assistance recipients in enlargement of the EU. It was on 2002 when the EU became involved in decisions of increasing in Overseas Development Assistance (ODA), an aspect intended to bring out EU’s position as the most active development aid donor.

Nevertheless, two year following this commitment, ten nations which were beneficiaries of this aid were included into EU commitment. As a result of this enlargement, there has been an impact on the strategic focus of EU development policy.xi

Gradually, the EU and CEE relationship which was characterized as between donors and recipients has been integrated and created an environment of central Europe full membership. For example, Poland has been one of the largest EU aid recipients worth Euro 305 million, till 1999.

The 2004 enlargement introduced a significant effect on the existing arrangement for EU development cooperation. The emergence of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) was associated with financial benefits for this countries as well as reduction in aid to ACP countries. On becoming members of the EU, the CEE’s were to adhere to all development acquis aspects, which included agreeing to participation on contribution to the European Development Fund.

Apart from regal and policy changes in enlargement of EU, the union’s role of aid provision was strengthened as more power and financial sources were availed. The additional members were perceived as potential contributors who would bring additional funds to the EU’s development budget.

As a result, the EU has emerged as one of the strongest union as a donor and supporters of developing nations, poverty reduction, consolidation and development of democracy, and integration of developing countries into the world of economy.xii However, despite these positive changes, it has been stated that the included new member states’ governments still lack clear understanding regarding the EU goals on issues of development policy.

However, there has been little commitment from these governments due to the absence of significant constituency on cooperation for development. More so, the goal of poverty reduction has not been met as there lacked a desirable and anticipated broad based participation in policy making associated with lack of funds.

In addition, putting in mind that these nations were still eligible for World Bank borrowing, it has become difficult for them to meet their set target in contribution of development funds. This has been recently proved on 2010 when they were judged as being unable to meet their target.

As a result of the EU commitments made at Monterrey, the quantity of aid has gone down as the initial EU members dig deeper to compensate the failure of the new states in order to keep the commitments. This pressure on the EU has also contributed low quality of the union’s operations accompanied by low quality of aid.

Internal EU Development

However, one of the significant achievements has been the obliteration of the Development Council which took place on June 2002. The result of this was diversion of development matters to the council of General Affairs, thus political involvement in policy development has been increased. In addition, this is viewed as a benefit to the unions’ member states without expertise and large staff numbers in policy development sector.

Moreover, there has been an increase in voting power of the union in the international development institutions as a result of emergence of central Europe. The enlargement also has created pressure on commission structure which has been significantly felt through responsibilities distribution between development portfolios and external affairs.

This has enabled the Commission to perfect its terms on the business management in the face of enlargement. However, some challenges has developed regarding the capability of the EU in managing the member states’ aid and a need of vision expansion has been called for effective encouraging, leading, helping and tracking member states.xiii

The emergence of central Europe has also led to budgetisation of funds which is incorporated within the EU budget. This has resulted to benefits of total cost reduction of participating in aid programmes for accession countries. Nevertheless, many new member states have and are still faced with challenges from increasing development assistance.

More importantly, the incorporated CEE countries have shown capability of advising states on matters regarding political and economic transitions management. This has promised a well balanced framework for the EU in its plan for future accession states as the challenges it has faced will enable it to effectively build on the coming years.

According to Bretherton & Vogler, “the European Consensus stated that ‘the EU will capitalize on new member states’ experience (such as transition management) and help strengthen the role of these countries as new donors”.xiv

Conclusion

The study shows that the EU member states had to sacrifice their absolute national sovereignty to ensure acquisition of nation’s integration into a federal system, along economic, political and military lines. Through establishment of EU, the member states had to redefine their structures in lines of identity, neutrality and policies in order to fit in the environment of economic, political and social challenges.

This has been the stepping stone of its power acquisition as emerging among the powerful unions both economically and politically. Through its goals of poverty eradication and integration of developing countries to the world of economy among others, the EU has been able to recruit the beneficiaries of their aid to full members of EU with Central and Eastern Europe constituting major contributors of the enlargement.xv

This union has seen significant effects to the EU’s political and economic lines among others, which are either positive or negative. Through redefining of the unions policy on enlargement to effectively accomplish its goals, both the quantity and quality of its operations has been affected. Domestic and international political operations and economic aspects in relation to the objective of the EU have significantly been affected.

The research clearly analyzes the development of the Europe from 1945, the status of the member states before and after the establishment of EU, the enlargement of EU through re-emerging central Europe and its impact on EU. Nevertheless, the scope of the impact has been confined within the goals and the objectives of the EU in regard to its political and economic lines. However, for a better view of the EU in general, with the use of some member states as a representative may have omitted some details found in other member states.

Footnotes

i. Euro Barometer. Attitudes towards Development Aid (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005), 72.

ii. Solomon Grimm and Andrew Harmer. Diversity in donorship: the changing landscape of official humanitarian aid: Aid donorship in Central Europe (London: ODI, 2005), 85.

iii. Kennedy Smith, ‘The ACP in the EU’s regional relationships’ in Arts and Dickson (eds) EU Development Cooperation: from model to symbol? (London: Routledge, 2004), 87.

iv. Gordon Olsen, ‘The EU’s Development Policy: Shifting Priorities in a rapidly changing world’, a Perspectives on European Development Co-operation (London: Routledge, 2005), 205.

v. Methwel Lister and Morris Carbone, ‘Integrating Gender and Civil Society into EU Development Policy’ in New Pathways in International Development: Gender and civil Society in EU Policy (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2006), 98-101.

vi. Friend Vencato, The Development Policy of the CEECs: the EU Political Rationale between the Fight Against Poverty and the Near Abroad, Unpublished PhD Thesis, Leuven: Institute for International and European Policy (Manchester: Katholieke University, 2007), 21.

vii. Amos Güney and Ann Çelenk, ‘The European Union’s Democracy Promotion Policies in Algeria: Success or Failure?’ In: The Journal of North African Studies Vol. 12 (1), (2007): 109-128

viii. Mark Bucar and Moses Mrak. Challenges of development cooperation for EU new member states (Aldershot: Slovenia, 2007), 21-25.

ix. Smith Dearden, ‘The future role of the EU in Europe’s development assistance’. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, (2003) 16 1, 105-117.

x. Van Reisen, ‘The Enlarged EU and the Developing World’ in A. Mold (ed) EU Development Policy in a Changing World (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2007), 45-55.

xi. Mark Bucar and Moses Mrak, Challenges of development cooperation for EU new member states (Aldershot: Slovenia, 2007), 71-75.

xii. Evelst Morgera & Durán Marín, Enlargement and EU Development Policy: An Environmental Perspective (London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2004), 98.

xiii. Osteen Babarinde & George Faber, ‘From Lome to Contonou’ European Foreign Affairs Review, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press 2004.

xiv. Kennedy Arts, ‘Changing interests in EU development cooperation: the impact of EU membership and advancing integration’ in Arts and Dickson (eds) EU Development Cooperation: from model to symbol? (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004), 100.

xv. Martin Adanja, ‘New EU Donors’. Presentation at Public Hearing of European Parliament, Committee on Development (Aldershot: Slovenia, 2007), 65.

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IvyPanda. "Re-emerging Central Europe." April 19, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/re-emerging-central-europe-research-paper/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Re-emerging Central Europe." April 19, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/re-emerging-central-europe-research-paper/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Re-emerging Central Europe'. 19 April.

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