The European Union has pursued two contradictory policies over the last decade in response to the challenges of globalization. On the one hand, the EU has loosened borders…
The European Union has pursued two contradictory policies over the last decade in response to the challenges of globalization. On the one hand, the EU has loosened borders to facilitate trade and make the EU more competitive globally. On the other hand, the EU has tightened borders to enhance its security, fearing the negative consequences of a globalized world. In this paper, I examine the effects of implementation of the EU's Schengen border regime, a set of rules governing external border control, on the post-communist countries and the difficulties that Schengen has posed for the governments in the region. I also discuss the EU's emerging European Neighborhood Policy (ENP), designed to address many of the concerns voiced by the Central and East European (CEE) officials regarding Schengen. An important element of ENP is to work across the EU external border to facilitate economic relations and develop joint institutions with non-members to create new cooperative borderlands.
Two images are frequently invoked with regard to the evolution of the EU. Certain scholars portray the organization as moving toward a new, post-modern, post-Westphalian entity comprising an increasingly borderless Europe. Other scholars view European integration as a process by which the EU is increasingly taking on the trappings and functions of the state to build a “Fortress Europe.” The discussion of Schengen and the eastern enlargement suggests a more complex reality than either of these two images in which borders are constantly shifting and whose functions are changing in response to the different challenges posed by globalization and internal developments. The EU's external borders will continue to change, both in terms of where they are located and how important these will be. Europe's ENP, with its emphasis on cross-border cooperation, is changing borders into borderlands, zones of cooperation and collaboration across a line on a map. Governance and the shaping of policy are increasingly taking place at multiple sites and with different kinds of actors, further transforming the importance of borders. Perhaps, a new vision of European integration is needed to capture the evolution of the EU.