In 2004, then President of the Council of the European Union (EU) delivered his keynote speech, “Minds as well as Borders,” touching on the growing shift in European culture.
Ahern’s speech stated:
“Ten new accession states bring with them new languages and new cultures. They bring with them also a new consciousness of, and fresh approach to, the European Union. Enlargement is about opening Minds as well as Boarders.”
Ahern’s speech came at a historic moment in European history as the A10 nations were admitted into the European Union. The A10 member nations include Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. In 2007, Romania and Bulgaria were admitted as well.
Currently the EU is using the Eastern Partnership to do another expansion in Eastern Europe with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. The Eastern Partnership (EaP) was created in 2009 and is currently preparing these six nations for full EU membership by 2020. While these nations are not currently members of NATO, they will be admitted in 2020 if they follow the path of their predecessors.
There is also the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), which is an alliance that the EU has created in recent years with Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Morocco, Jordon, Libya, Tunisia, Lebanon, Syria, and Azerbaijan. This alliance is focused on four key points: Democracy and Human Rights, Security, Mobilization and Immigration, and Economic Stabilization.
The policy was designed to deal effectively with the rise of Islamic radicalism, and to further expand European influence in the area. It should be noted that with the civil war in Syria and the rise of ISIS puts Syria’s future on this list in serious question. It appears that the European Union is moving to politically secure its flanks.
The expansion of the EU and NATO to Eastern Europe is slowly reasserting Western dominance into the former Eastern Bloc by effectively cutting off Russia from its sphere of influence by incorporating its former colonies into the EU. The EU’s additions have expanded Western influence into the Eastern Bloc without firing a single shot. The clear motivation for many of these nations to join the EU is NATO. It is more than mere coincidence that many of these nations were admitted into NATO the same year that they entered into the European Union.
Many of the A10 nations were admitted into NATO the same year that they entered the European Union. The promise of incorporation into the NATO alliance, along with economic incentives, has allowed the EU to bring the Eastern Bloc into the European community of nations, and thus the West. This is the great expansion of the Western World since the decolonization period following both of the World Wars.