Building a Geopolitical European Union After Russia’s Attack on Ukraine: The Valuable Tool of Enlargement
Russia’s attack on Ukraine is a watershed moment that forced the EU to confront its weaknesses and reshuffl e its priorities. In this context, the war brought back at the top of the EU’s agenda the enlargement process. In light of these developments, the aim of this paper is to evaluate the impact of the war on the EU’s enlargement process and to demonstrate that enlargement policy has acquired a greater geopolitical value than ever before. The paper begins with a historical overview of the challenges that have defi ned the enlargement process and have led to a deadlock, demonstrating that the war can provide impetus for the revival of the stagnant enlargement process. The discussion proceeds, in turn, to the pros and cons of further expansion of the EU. A pro-enlargement position is adopted, arguing that enlargement is a valuable tool for the transformation of the Union into a real geopolitical actor. Finally, the paper builds upon the previous analysis and proposes ways of adjusting the enlargement process to the new challenges created by the war. To conclude, the paper argues that Russia’s aggression can reinvigorate the enlargement process, which in turn can strengthen the EU’s role on the geopolitical chessboard. The stakes are too high and the EU cannot afford to lose the momentum.