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The European Union and shaping of its neighbourhood: in pursuit of stability, security and prosperity

Labedzka, A. (2018). The European Union and shaping of its neighbourhood: in pursuit of stability, security and prosperity. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


The process of the largest European Union (EU) enlargement of 2004 brought a massive change to the EU internal dynamics and its international position. It also indicated that the organisation cannot keep on enlarging ad infinitum.

This thesis assesses the role of the new generation of association agreements (concluded by the EU and its Member States with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) within the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) as the most recent attempt of the EU to engage with its partners covered by the policy. The results of the research indicate that the development of the new model of association should be considered in broader terms of EU’s engagement with all its neighbours. It is particularly fitting at the time of the first potential withdrawal from the EU as a new, post-withdrawal, chapter of the relations between the EU and its Member States and a former Member must be considered.

The new generation of association model follows a well-established tradition of association offered by the EU in the past, for example to Greece before its accession to the then Communities (now EU). This new model brings a new quality regarding institutional relations between the EU and its partners, and more importantly the association model is driven by complex and demanding law approximation. The importance of law approximation cannot be underestimated. These agreements provide partner countries with a clear set of conditions and requirements. The three countries are currently conducting significant and often ground breaking legal reforms that also require administrative and cultural changes. The association conditions are clear, however, their strict character can also work to the EU’s disadvantage. Since the neighbouring countries are frail economically, weakened by geopolitical struggle to maintain their independence and protect their borders, there is a risk that after the initial willingness, if not enthusiasm, these three countries with lose interest in the complex legal reforms. This may potentially bring the collapse of the association process and lead to negative developments that could effectively threaten the stability of the EU’s ENP neighbours and directly affect stability of the continent. Therefore it is in the EU’s interest to support these partner countries and encourage them to continue the reform process.

The thesis also offers a comprehensive review of Article 8 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU). The provision entered into force in 2009 and lays foundations of the EU relations with its neighbourhood. The potential of this new provision has not been fully explored. The thesis presents arguments in favour of its application as lex specialis of Article 21 TEU at the time of dynamic changes in the EU’s vicinity. Building and reinventing the future relations with the neighbours based on this general TEU provision would strengthen the consistency and clarity of the EU’s role not only as a normative power but also a stability and prosperity generator.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Departments: Doctoral Theses
The City Law School > The City Law School Doctoral Theses
The City Law School
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