To start with, the problems to which you have presented as a solution the enlargement, are to be solved differently, because the main goal for the accession should be the accession itself and not to be used as a mean of protection and negotiation.
Our speech boils down in tow main issues; The current incapability of EU to welcome new members and the incapacity of the candidate countries to be integrated in the EU.
Let’s begin with the ill-preparedness of EU for enlargements. You supported the enlargement of EU (widening), but you also stood up for the importance of preserving EU values and reinforcing its security (deepening). Deepening is a prerequisite for further enlargement and right now is much more important and urgent due to the following reasons;
- EU is currently facing a serious problem of multi-speed integration. That is because, especially after the 4th wave of enlargement, EU shifted from its hard core and has grown out to be differential in political and economic terms. That is making any cooperation unachievable and in no case should EU take the next step, without having built solid foundations with its already existing member states.
- The inharmonious political stances of EU’s member states are highly depicted in a part of the spectrum of European Politics. In migration for example a relatively smaller, to the other non-EU recipient countries, migratory flow, has sparked a crisis as the current member states could not coordinate. Imagine what paralysis to the decision-making process would the addition of more member states cause.
- Apart from making EU more crisis-prone, the deviation of the EU economies -as a result of the previous enlargements- has cultivated the “poor-rich” syndrome which fueled the anti-EU movements in both the core and the more remoted member states. If we do not want to jeopardize the Union, we shall not proceed to any further inclusion of the least developed countries, without first taking time to converge the economies on stable foundations by completing their integration.
Now, let’s move on to the second issue, considering EU’s and Eastern Partnerships-WB6’s differences so strong that is making them unable to become part of the Union. You have mentioned that the enlargement should be done carefully and with proper examination, and we agree with you, so we firmly believe that a 10-year process is not at all enough for these differences to lessen because;
- Although those countries are participants of the European system (meaning there are several relations between them and the EU) they are not –under no circumstances- part of the EU society (which implies a common cultural matrix).
- The Eastern Partnerships are referred as just neighbor states in the EU Global Strategy and not candidate states for enlargement, thus we cannot discuss about their accession in the short term. Additionally, we believe that even if they do enter the EU, it will create a geographical discontinuity for the Union.
- As for WB6, it is a fact that these countries do not have the same capacity building with the EU member states, they have weak institutions and lack of democratic maturity and traditions. In fact, most of them -as former belligerents-, suffer from nationalism and a general instability, so a possible rushing accession to EU will transfer those problems to an EU level and this scenario is, of course, unacceptable.
In conclusion, we believe that the enlargement process should not continue until EU fully integrates and the concerned countries acculturate into democracy and cooperation.