Defining the European Union’s Final Borders

  • Abstract:
    As part of the debate on the future of Europe and the nature of the European Union, European politicians have made demands, that the EU should finally define its ultimate borders. But where do its ultimate borders lie? The EU has not so far attempted to define what “European” means, and no collective effort has been made to take a decision on where its final borders should lie. Defining Europe is about drawing boundaries, marking the limits of the continent and decide who is European and who is not, in other words to define the EU’s ultimate borders is anything but a simple task. For the EU to try and define its external borders was neither feasible nor desirable. First of all, a geographical definition made little sense. Geographers have never agreed on the precise physical or natural borders of Europe, particularly its Eastern border. There is also the issue of values. The EU has progressively extended its zone of peace and democracy across the European continent through successive enlargement rounds. But while values, above all, define the borders of Europe, geographical determinants still matter. One solution could be that since the EU is a political project, its borders should also be political. In other words, which countries are allowed to join the EU should be determined by whether they share a common vision with the existing members. Since the EU Treaty gives any European country the right to apply for Union membership, any attempt to draw a final boundary around its territory would not be consistent with the Treaty. But the question of the Union’s final borders must be addressed as it is closely related to two vital issues, the EU’s integration capacity and the EU’s future. Eventually…”somewhere we have to stop”.