Reflections on EU territoriality and the bordering of Europe.


Civil society observations of the EU’s geopolitical impacts on its immediate neighbourhood provide a nuanced ‘ground-up’ perspective that eschews historically deterministic interpretations of the EU’s role in the world. While this article is limited to Eastern Europe, it nevertheless highlights some of the challenges facing the EU’s visions of ‘Neighbourhood’ as multilateral and multilayered regional co-operation. After a brief theoretical introduction, the article first characterizes the EU’s geopolitics as a dual project of consolidation and ideational projection; that is as two projects of re-ordering – re-territorializing – interstate relationships. It then addresses three specific and interrelated questions with regard to civil society: 1) how do the EU and its policies affect civil society co-operation agendas and practises, 2) to what extent does civil society participate in the co-development of Neighbourhood Policy and 3) how do civil society actors perceive the role of the EU in promoting cross-border and regional co-operation within the ‘Neighbourhood’? One central issue in developing these questions is that of establishing ‘common’ European values as a condition for successful co-operation. Civil society actors must simultaneously operate within different, often competing, socio-political contexts. A balance between situational ethics and more generally accepted notions of (European) values is thus essential.


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