A decade after enlargement, EU struggles to find direction amid Ukraine crisis

Bernd Riegert, Deutsche Welle, 01.05.2014

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In 2004, many European policymakers believed that the EU's eastern expansion would end the legacy of Cold War divisions. Today, the crisis in Ukraine has raised doubts about the vision of a free and whole Europe. [...]

Poland gains the most

At the end of the day, everyone has profited from the expansion, both the old as well as the new members states, according to Janis Emmanouilidis at the European Policy Centre.

"But Poland has profited in particular, both economically as well as in terms of its political position," Emmanouilidis told DW. "Poland is the leading power in the region and is growing in importance within the EU as a whole." [...]

Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine are all seeking closer ties with the EU. But whether or not these countries in the "eastern neighborhood" should become full-fledged members is a disputed question. Emmanouilidis with the European Policy Centre believes that in the case of Ukraine, a clear majority opinion either or for against membership must first emerge in the country before any decision can be made about the future.

"The country is divided internally," he said. "For many, Europe represents hope, for others, less so. And next to Ukraine's internal problems, there are also bigger external ones with Russia. A lot still has to be worked in order for us to decide how we proceed at the given time." [...]

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