Destinations Magazine

Charlemagne: How to Be Good Neighbours

By Stizzard
Charlemagne: How to be good neighbours

WHEN the European Union expanded to take in eight former Communist countries, leaders faced a conundrum: they did not want to keep extending the club eastward, neither did they want to tell Ukraine and others that they would be shut out forever. So they devised a middle way: the EU would offer to extend large parts of its single market to countries in eastern Europe, the Caucasus and the Mediterranean rim, without making any promises of membership.This European Neighbourhood Policy was meant to create “a ring of friends”. Ten years on, Europe’s borderlands look more like a ring of fire. Libya has been in violent chaos since the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi. In Egypt one military ruler was replaced by another after a brief interlude with an elected president. Syria is suffering an appalling civil war. Georgia has lost territory after a war with Russia. Belarus languishes under the dictatorial Alexander Lukashenko. Two small countries, Tunisia and Moldova, are the closest thing to success.For a time it looked as if Ukraine would join the list of failures. Last November, ahead of a summit in Vilnius of the EU and ex-Soviet countries, President Viktor Yanukovych caved…

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