After ‘Georgia’ – prospects for ENP and enlargement

While the Geor­gia cri­sis received exten­sive cov­er­age in the Irish media and was the sub­ject of sev­er­al state­ments by Irish politi­cians, the broad­er issues of the Euro­pean Neigh­bour­hood Pol­i­cy (ENP) and the enlarge­ment of the EU and NATO are of lit­tle salience to Ireland.[1] There is lit­tle evi­dence of dis­cus­sion con­cern­ing the ENP in Ire­land due to Ireland’s lack of a bor­der or even prox­im­i­ty to any non-EU states. Sim­i­lar­ly, the fact that Ire­land is an offi­cial­ly neu­tral state in terms of mil­i­tary pol­i­cy and is not a mem­ber of NATO, the enlarge­ment of that organ­i­sa­tion is of lit­tle con­cern to the Irish pop­u­la­tion or it’s polit­i­cal class. There has been some cov­er­age in parts of the Irish media of what is per­ceived to be a ris­ing lev­el of scep­ti­cism in the Irish pop­u­la­tion towards to the ben­e­fits of fur­ther EU enlarge­ment. This is believed to be as a result of the large influx of East­ern Euro­pean work­ers to Ire­land fol­low­ing the 2004 acces­sion, com­bined with the shock of Ireland’s sud­den eco­nom­ic slow-down. This is believed by some in Ire­land to be fuelling con­cern that a fur­ther enlarged EU will dilute Ireland’s cul­tur­al iden­ti­ty through increased immi­gra­tion and will reduce Ireland’s influ­ence in the insti­tu­tions of the Union. This view how­ev­er is one, which is not shared by the vast major­i­ty of Irish politicians.

 

 

 

[1] “Post Lis­bon Treaty Ref­er­en­dum Research Find­ings Sep­tem­ber 2008” con­duct­ed by Mill­ward Brown IMS on behalf of the Irish Gov­ern­ment, avail­able at: www.foreignaffairs.gov.ie (last access: 23 March 2009). “How to stem tide of cit­i­zen neg­a­tiv­i­ty towards EU”, The Irish Times, 19 Novem­ber 2008.