The EU and Central and Eastern Europe: the absence of interregionalism

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Series Details Vol.27, No.3, September 2005, p347-364
Publication Date September 2005
ISSN 0703-6337
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In contrast to its relations with many other areas of the world, the EU's relations with Central and Eastern Europe are not 'interregional'. The EU has developed intensive bilateral relations with the Central and East European countries, which has allowed it to use economic and political conditionality to encourage them to undertake reforms - and successfully so. It has promoted sub-regional cooperation, but not consistently or extensively, and strong sub-regional groupings have not evolved in Central and Eastern Europe. The 'big-bang' enlargement of 2004 extended the EU's regional model to much of the European continent, but is not an example of interregionalism. The shadow of enlargement has also created considerable challenges for the EU in its relations with its new neighbours.

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