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"Nothing is imposed in this policy!" The construction and constriction of the European Nei

Does the European Union behave towards its neighbours like a partner or like a colonist? Find out this new article published by Ondřej Horký-Hlucháň and Petr Kratochvíl in the journal Alternatives.

Ondřej Horký-Hlucháň

(Institute of International Relations, Prague

Petr Kratochvíl

(Institute of International Relations, Prague

The article argues that the postcolonial, postdevelopment, Balkanist and East-West slope theories, which reflect the asymmetric relations between ‘Europe’ and its former colonies or other regions on the ‘periphery’ of the continent, can give a more accurate insight into the mechanism of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) than mainstream approaches. The article formulates a new conceptualisation of the European Neighbourhood and claims that the EU constructs its neighbourhood as an ambiguous and transitional other on the way to becoming EU-like, while masking the asymmetric and dominant structure of the ENP discourse under the liberal-democratic and equality-centred content. Critical discourse analysis of official documents and speeches confirms the ambiguity, transitiveness and concealed dominance of the policy and questions the not-so-benign normative character of the European Union. Moreover, it suggests that neighbourhood of Europe is not a fixed place, but it is a continuously re-created entity, whose existence helps the core Europe to control the regions in its proximity and make them comply with its normative as well as geographic expansion. Despite the differences of the EU’s policies towards its Eastern and Southern neighbours and their strategies of resistance, ENP’s characteristics are strikingly similar to those of the colonial and neocolonial policies half a century after the decolonization peak.

Ondřej Horký-Hlucháň, Petr Kratochvíl (2014): “Nothing Is Imposed in This Policy!” Alternatives, 39(4): 252-270.

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