Allen, David. (1997) "Reuniting Europe or establishing new divides? The European Union, the states of Eastern and Central Europe, and the states of the former Soviet Union". In: UNSPECIFIED, Seattle, WA. (Unpublished)
In 1989 the European Community (as it then was) was faced with the policy challenge of responding to the dramatic changes that overtook the countries of Central and Eastern Europe as the Soviet Union (as it was then!) declined to intervene and prevent the fall of the communist political and economic regimes. This policy challenge was made that much greater in 1991 when the Soviet Union itself broke up and was replaced by a number of independent states also intent on creating democratic non-communist political systems and market economies. The subsequent division of Czechoslovakia did no more than further complicate an already confused picture by the break up of Yugoslavia and the wars of succession that followed served to illustrate the fragile and potentially turbulent nature of the 'new Europe' that had been created as much as by accident as by design. The main purpose of this paper is to comment upon the experience of the past eight years of European Union attempts to meet the challenges posed by the new situation in Central and Eastern Europe and within the former Soviet Union. The argument will be that after much early optimism and the raising of considerable expectations that European divisions were a thing of the past, a number of new divides, all related in one way or another and in varying degrees to the policies of the European Union, are beginning to impact on the wider European scene. Whilst the European Union can not be held solely responsible for the complex and confused state of the contemporary European order and whilst it must also be given its share of the credit for the many positive developments since 1989, the ability of the European Union to play the strategic role in the construction of a new European order, envisaged by and for it in the heady period between 1989 and 1991, has to be questioned in the light of recent experience.
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