State of the Art. The Nexus between European Neighbourhood Policy and Justice and Home Affairs
The enlargement of the EU to include the ten new member states in Central and Eastern Europe and the two Mediterranean islands on 1 May 2004 and Bulgaria and Romania on 1 January 2007 was the result of a tremendous effort to reconfigure not only the frontiers of Europe, but also the concept of what Europe is. The borders of the EU have been highly unstable since its inception with continuous enlargement process driven by the objectives of peace, stability and prosperity. However, when the logic of stability begins to confound the imaginational and institutional capacities of the EU, a new direction is required. It is at this junction that the neighbourhood policy was developed in March 2003. The mechanism was designed to embrace the neighbours in the Internal Market, but to exclude them from participation in the institutions of the EU. This paper examines to what extent the coincidence of interests of EU citizens and nationals of the neighbours has been realized in the field of movement of persons. It is here that the objective of firm external border controls expressed by the member states’ interior ministries will enter into conflict with the softening of the border for the neighbours. If the authorities of the neighbourhood are persuaded to take repressive action against their own nationals who seek to travel to the EU on the basis of a common fight against irregular migration as part of the ENPs, then the interests of the neighbours’ citizens may not only diverge from those of the EU citizens but also from the actions of their own authorities. In states where the authorities are already in difficulties as regards their popular legitimacy, all too common in some of the neighbours (not to mention member states) this kind of pressure – which may increase popular resentment – may not be conducive to stability. Thus an examination of the European Neighbourhood Plans from the perspective of movement of persons is not only important from a legal perspective, it may be vital to the adoption of a coherent EU policy.
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