Thirty years later, the idea of a European policy confederationformulated in 1989 in the aftermath of the fall of the Wall, is reborn from its ashes, in the midst of the war in Ukraine and as alternative to the puzzle of a new enlargement of the European Union.
The idea comes back with the disgust of the speech of the President of France, Emanuel Macron, in the European Parliament as a proposal for the establishment of a “European political community”which would offer countries wishing to join the Union “another form of cooperation”.
The new scheme would allow European democracies “that share our base of values to find a new space for political co-operation and security,” Emanuel Macron said on Monday.
This is not the first time his idea has been formulated. It is based on the idea put forward in 1989 by another President of the French Republic, Mr. François Mitterrandwho, immediately after the fall of the Berlin Wall, had expressed the wish that all the countries of the European continent coexist within the confederation.
This initiative, which, however, was warmly welcomed, was never implemented.
“François Mitterrand’s idea was very good, but it contained two thorns: it included Russia – now the idea is to form an alternative form in Moscow – and the proposal was made very early then, there was no German unification yet,” the former comments retrospectively. Prime Minister of Italy Enrico Letta and president of the Jacques Delors Institute.
Also, “the countries concerned had a double obsession, joining NATO and joining the European Union, and that idea did not seem coherent and formal enough to them,” said Christine Werger, vice president of the Jacques Delors Institute.
“Already in the fall”
More than thirty years later, the new proposal appears more transparent this time: joining this new community would in no way preclude “a future accession to the European Union,” explained Emanuel Macron, and also “would not be closed to those who have left the EU».
Among the countries invited to join the European political community, h Ukrainebut also countries that have made little progress on the road to accession, such as Bosnia and Herzegovinawhich may not be able to join the Union decades later.
Currently, five countries (Albania, Northern Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey) are officially candidate countries.
Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo are potential candidates.
With them are Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, which have applied for membership following Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
“Today we have to tie Ukraine closely to Europe, as well as to Moldova or the countries of the Western Balkans,” said Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Kroos, “thus allowing its citizens access to our democratic space and the single market, giving them their access to some of our institutions “.
For Enrico Letta, the formation of such a group can be very fast and a first meeting for this purpose can take place “already in the autumn” in Brussels.
Around the table of this conference could be 27 and nine more countries: Albania, Northern Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, according to the president of the Institute Jacques Delors.
It remains to be seen the attitudes of the nine countries towards the proposal.
“The idea can appear as a positive compromise, provided it takes on flesh and blood,” says Christine Werger. “Would the mutual assistance clause in the Treaty on European Union apply to members of this new community? It’s an open issue. “
“What do we mean by political cooperation?” And how do we make it work? ”Wonders Kamino Mortera of the think tank Center for European Reform. “Some countries that have been stuck at the door of the EU for years might see some progress in this announcement, but they have to see what is behind it.”
The idea sends a positive message to Ukraine and its implementation would allow a temporary settlement of the thorny issue of European enlargement, as well as an accelerated accession, which worries many European countries.
Paris, after all, has made no secret of its negative attitude towards a new enlargement that would further complicate the functioning of the European institutions.
The new scheme offers “countries that are not ready the time they need to prepare,” says Enrico Letta.