ABSTRACT

In the security strategy it devised in 2003, the European Union proclaimed itself to be a global power, albeit awkwardly: ‘the European Union is inevitably a global player’. Yet, an important part of the security strategy deals with the neighbourhood and the necessity for the EU to be surrounded by a ring of well-governed countries that it would seek to promote. In other words, whether global or not, the EU also considers itself to be a regional power with regional aims, without, however, calling itself one. Actually, in the previous decade, following the fall of the Wall, the European Union was the main, if not the only, organizer of the continent. During the Cold War period, it certainly shared this function with NATO, while it thrived under the umbrella of the United States, ‘Europe’s pacifier’, as Joseph Joffe called it in a famous article published in 1984. After the fall of the Wall, the EU embarked upon playing a major role on the European continent; even if NATO’s enlargement preceded the EU’s, the latter was, nevertheless, crucial in helping the former communist countries to turn themselves into full-fledged, market-oriented and law-abiding democracies, and it tied rich, autonomous democracies in the northern periphery or at the heart of Europe to its network of laws and regulations.