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A Wider Europe

A research project on 'New Eastern Europe'.

The Center for Transatlantic Relations (CTR) – an integral part of the School of Advanced International Studies at the Johns Hopkins University in Washington (SAIS) –, the Austrian Institute for International Affairs (OIIP), and the Austria Marshall Plan Foundation (AMPF) have launched a research project funded by the Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation on the EU's 'Wider European Neighbourhood'.

The CTR is one of America's leading graduate schools in international relations, with campuses in Washington, DC, USA, Bologna, Italy, and Nanjing, China. Through an active program of publications, policy study groups, seminars, conferences, and web-based educational efforts, CTR addresses contemporary challenges facing Europe and North America. The OIIP is an independent, non-profit research institute located in Vienna. It serves as a platform for international academic and political collaboration, and is part of an international network of researchers and experts across the wide spectrum of international affairs.

A 'new neighbourhood' for the EU
The European Union has defined the region bordering the EU-27 to the east as a 'new neighbourhood' with vital European strategic and economic interests at stake. This is an area of turbulence and potential instability requiring the same degree of commitment that Europe and the United States demonstrated in integrating Central Eastern Europe and quelling violence in the Balkans. Unfortunately, this dynamic region faces a West that is distracted, divided, complacent, or uncertain as to how it should engage as an active partner in change.

Many Western leaders have issued rhetorical support for a Wider Europe that is more democratic, more secure, and more of a partner to the West. However, the concept remains relatively undefined, its mechanisms undeveloped, and support for it uncertain. Many have yet to decide whether Western engagement should be foremost in mollifying nonmembers or advancing a truly transformative approach to the region that would align – and eventually integrate – these nations into the European-Atlantic

Dedicated to promoting greater cooperation and understanding between the United States and Europe, SAIS, OIIP and AMPF recognize the value of discussing the most pressing transatlantic themes and examining ways in which transatlantic cooperation can address a variety of global policy challenges. This is carried out by supporting individuals and institutions working on transatlantic issues. The parties have determined that sufficient interest exists to establish a formal relationship to encourage this research effort in an inter-disciplinary approach by scholars from the EU, the USA and the monitored countries.

The 'Wider Europe' project
This research project covers a three-year period starting from November 2005 and aims to address major European and US interests in two subregions of this vast and diverse area: in the Eastern European nations of Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova; and in the South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia)/Black Sea region. A cross-analysis of these regions by US and European scholars will help to identify consonant or divergent US/EU interests in the area. Together with scholars from the region a comprehensive research project was formed addressing political, economic and security-related issues.

Over the course of the three-year cycle two distinct yet related study projects are envisioned. The first one focused on Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova. The second one will focus on the South Caucasus/Black Sea countries. Each project consists of a study group of 12 authors drawn equally from the United States, the European Union, and the nations of Wider Europe. Each project also seeks a Russian perspective. The approach is to analyze the particular region's development and prospects for relations with the transatlantic community, by comparing and contrasting differing perspectives within the EU, among the countries concerned, and from the United States. A special focus is on economic issues.

The first conference
The first conference within the framework of this project, 'The battle for Ukraine', was held in Vienna on June 8, 2006. The program focused on the intense rivalry between the US, the EU and Russia for influence on both Ukrainian domestic and foreign politics. Renowned experts in the field provided political and economic risk analyses, explored Ukraine's future role as an energy transit country and its future foreign, security and defence policies. In addition, common and divergent interests of the EU and the US in Ukraine were dealt with.

Numerous representatives from different state institutions and international organizations attended the conference. Under the coordination of Gerhard Mangott (University of Innsbruck and Austrian Institute for International Affairs) and Daniel Hamilton (School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University Washington), a solid team of renowned speakers gave different presentations on the subjects mentioned above. Among them were Taras Kuzio (George Washington University), Dmitri Trenin (Director of Studies, Carnegie Center Moscow), and Michael Emerson (Senior Research Fellow, Centre for European Policy Studies).

Taras Kuzio suggested that the EU should 'show the Ukraine an open door' to support reform-oriented tendencies. The implementation of a far-reaching reform process needs an incentive from outside, as is known from experience with the Eastern European countries and Turkey. Dmitiri Trenin pointed out that Russia in principle acknowledges the independence of Ukraine, but wouldn't approve an entry of the country to NATO. In this case a conflict between the supporters and the opponents within the Ukraine – the latter supported by leading Russian politicians – would be inevitable.

The second conference
The second conference, 'The New Eastern Europe, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova', took place in Washington, D.C., on April 24, 2007. Leading experts such as Rainer Lindner (Institute for Internal and Security Affairs/SWP, Berlin), Elena Kovalova (G.C. Marshall Center for Security Studies, Garmisch-Partenkirchen), Michael Emerson (Center for European Policy Studies), Stephen Larrabee (RAND Corporation, Washington), Eric Boyle (Acting Regional Vice President, Eurasia Foundation), Angela Stent (Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.) and Gerhard Mangott (University of Innsbruck/Austrian Institute of International Affairs, Vienna) exemplified the role of the new Eastern Europe, Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus – sandwiched between a larger EU and a resurgent Russia.

All are located along key military, transportation and energy corridors linking Europe to Central Asia. Their problems – infectious diseases, organized crime, drug and human trafficking, pollution and illegal migration – directly spill over to the EU. Their successes could have a beneficial impact on the development of democracy, pluralism and the rule of law throughout the post-Soviet space. Their future will help shape Russia's own destiny and ultimately determine where Europe ends.

The presentation of the anthology
As an interim result of the research project 'Wider Europe', Daniel Hamilton and Gerhard Mangott published the anthology 'The new Eastern Europe – Ukraine, Belarus & Moldova'. On July 4, 2007 the book was introduced to the press by Gerhard Mangott, who, along with some of the authors, also presented the outstanding analyses in a short workshop held in Vienna. Vasilij Astrov (Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies), Peter Havlik (Deputy Director, Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies), Rainer Lindner and Gerhard Mangott discussed the future prospects of the region. The project 'Wider Europe' was continued on October 15/16, 2007, in Tbilisi, Georgia, with a public conference on the Black Sea region.
Daniel Hamilton, Gerhard Mangott, Ferdinand Lacina and Ferdinand Schipfer (from left) at the first conference
[Gerhard Mangott, Rainer Lindner, Taras Kuzio and Eric Boyle (from left) at the second conference] Gerhard Mangott, Rainer Lindner, Taras Kuzio and Eric Boyle (from left) at the second conference