Sustaining Change: ‘Structural Power Europe' and Sustainable (Eastern) Neighbourhood Transformation

Friday, July 14, 2017
JWS - Stevenson Lecture Theatre (University of Glasgow)
Andriy Tyushka , European Neighbourhood Policy Chair, European Interdisciplinary Studies Department, College of Europe (Natolin Campus)
Troubled more than ever, the European neighbourhood – both Southern since 2011 and Eastern since 2008/2014 – inevitably invites a colourful imag(in)ing of a ‘ring of fire’ rather than the ‘ring of friends’, the ‘arc of instability’ rather than an area of ‘prosperity, stability and security’, which has guided the EU’s logic of external action since the launch of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2004. Unsurprisingly, the critique of the EU’s policy efforts in its vicinity immensely outweighs in both public and academic debates Brussels’ own appraisal and rather rare affirmative accounts.

The shadow of turmoil developments indeed places the veil of non-manageability as well as it invites numerous political and academic deliberations on Europe’s fate, its ability to survive and thrive amidst change. Such momentary outlooks fail to embrace, however, the very idea behind sustainability – everything is changing, change management is the key. Europe is changing the neighbourhood while changing itself, and this should be unarguably seen as a strategic capability to embrace the future and celebrate sustainability.

Against this background, the current paper seeks to depart from hastened search for short-term efficiency of EU neighbourhood policies, and focus instead on the long-term effects of Europe’s sustainable engagement in its neighbourhood. It pleads for spotlighting EU’s structural power and its neighbour-state transformative performance – from cooperation partnerships to enhanced association forms. Drawing on empirical evidences from the newly associated Eastern neighbourhood (Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova), the paper will explore why and how EU’s structural power proliferates ‘transformational change’.