Russia between East and West: Russian Foreign Policy on the Threshold of the Twenty-First Century

By Gabriel Gorodetsky | Go to book overview

6

Russia and the Dual Expansion of Europe 1

MARGOT LIGHT, JOHN LÖWENHARDT AND STEPHEN WHITE


INTRODUCTION

In June 1997, the European Council, meeting in Amsterdam, recommended that the European Commission should begin negotiations for membership of the EU with the governments of Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia. A month later, at a NATO summit in Madrid, invitations were issued to the governments of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland to begin accession talks. A process began of separating Europe into 'insiders' and 'outsiders'. For no matter how frequently NATO and EU officials say that they do not intend to redivide Europe, and no matter how many 'partnership' agreements they offer to non-members, it is inevitable that admitting some countries to full membership of the two organizations and excluding others will produce 'insiders' and 'outsiders'. Those countries that are neither EU 'accession' states (the shorthand term used to refer to the six states in the process of negotiating membership) nor 'pre-ins' (as Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria and Malta were categorized in October 1999 when the European Commission proposed opening negotiations for their accession) 2 are, by definition, outsiders. Being outside affects the way people perceive themselves and their environment. It also affects their relationships with both insiders and fellow outsiders. Exclusion from the expanding NATO alliance influences outsiders' security perceptions and the way they view their role in Europe. The perception of exclusion, therefore, has important consequences for the domestic and foreign policies of outsider states.

Russia is the most important example of an excluded state, if only because of its size and strategic significance. Notwithstanding then Acting President Vladimir Putin's widely quoted throw-away remark to

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