The European Enlargement : To the East and Beyond?
Sammanfattning: The two Eastern enlargements in 2004 and 2007 marked a new chapter in the EU’s history, since it was the first time that the Union turned to enlarge eastwards. This thesis examines the borderline problem that arose with Article 49 of the Maastricht Treaty on the European Union, which gave the right to any European country that respects the principles of: liberty, democracy, human and fundamental rights, and the rule of law, to apply for membership in the EU. This thesis approaches the EU’s borderline problem by taking on three case studies consisting of Hungary, Lithuania, and Ukraine, for the purpose of analyzing the Eastern enlargement and Ukraine’s potentials of becoming a member of the EU. The reason for doing so is to compare Ukraine’s potentials of becoming a member in the EU with two Eastern states that, like Ukraine, have been involved with the Soviet Union, and that despite their degree of involvement, have been successfully integrated in the EU. As the EU has turned to enlarge eastwards, it gradually pushes its borderline with every enlargement, closer to Russian territory. Hence, it is necessary to investigate how potential integration of a country like Ukraine can affect the EU’s relations with Russia. The crucial aspect of the current relations between the EU and Russia is the interdependence of energy, where Ukraine is as a strategically important country, since it currently serves as a corridor between East (Russia) and West (EU). This thesis therefore shows that the problematic of potential integration of Ukraine goes much deeper than that of a geographical matter, and therefore touches other problem areas related to domestic political instability in Ukraine, and Russian political influence through its gas supplies. This thesis approaches the EU’s borderline problem from a foreign political perspective by investigating Ukraine’s potentials of becoming a member of the EU and suggesting, by the assistance of Westberg’s theoretical framework of integration theories, a third generation of integration theories to be needed in order to meet the problematic of the enlargement towards East. The thesis further gives recommendations to how the EU could deal with its borderline problem by answering three research questions related to the enlargement problematic.
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