The Eurosphere or the European Empire is a concept associated with the public intellectual Mark Leonard, Oxford University academic Jan Zielonka, the European Union Director-General for Politico-Military Affairs Robert Cooper; and the European Commission President José Manuel Barroso.
Over the past 50 years, the European Union has expanded from the 6 founding members to 28; additionally there are 8 candidate and potential candidate countries waiting to join. A number of Western European countries are integrated economically, as part of the Union's single market or using its single currency, the Euro. Through its High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the EU has the capability to speak with one voice on the world stage and has established association and free trade agreements with a large number of states. Furthermore, through the European Neighbourhood Policy and Union for the Mediterranean it is creating closer ties with countries on its borders; while developing ties with other former European colonies, the ACP countries.
Countries seeking membership in the EU undergo a great deal of reform, for example the huge reforms seen in Turkey such as the abolition of capital punishment. The emergence of the Union's influence, and the draw of membership, has been the subject of a number of academic writings. Mark Leonard describes the area of EU influence as the "Eurosphere".
Countries within the Eurosphere
According to Mark Leonard, the Eurosphere includes 109 countries. In Europe, this includes the 28 member states of the EU, applicant countries wishing to join the EU, the Western Balkans, and European Commonwealth of Independent States countries (including Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, and transcontinental Kazakhstan). Curiously he does not mention Western European countries such as Norway who are already integrated into the EU's single market. Outside Europe, he lists every African country and every Middle Eastern country, as well as the countries forming the eastern border of the Eurosphere such as Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia, and Central Asia.
Other countries that could be said to be within the Eurosphere might include European countries belonging to the European Economic Area such as Iceland or Liechtenstein, states using the euro as their currency such as San Marino and Monaco, or the Union's overseas territories such as Aruba, Bermuda, or Greenland as well as the EU's outermost regions in the Caribbean, South Pacific, Atlantic, Indian and Southern Oceans such as Saint Martin, Martinique, or La Réunion. The above mentioned groups all have strong economic and political links with the EU today.
|“||The postmodern, European answer to threats is to extend the system of co-operative empire ever wider. "I have no way to defend my borders but to extend them", said Catherine the Great—and the European Union sometimes seems to be saying the same.||”|
|— Robert Cooper, 2003|
|“||But the next wave of European transformation is only just beginning. The European Union is starting to develop an enormous sphere of influence, extending way beyond its borders, that could be called the "Eurosphere". This belt of eighty countries covering the former Soviet Union, the Western Balkans, the Middle East, North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 20 per cent of the world's population.||”|
|— Mark Leonard, 2005|
|“||What we have is the first non-imperial empire...We have twenty-seven countries that fully decided to work together and to pool their sovereignty. I believe it is a great construction and we should be proud of it.||”|
|— José Manuel Barroso, 2007|
- Council of Europe
- ECHO (European Commission)
- Enlargement of the European Union
- European integration
- European Neighbourhood Policy
- European Union as a potential superpower
- Foreign relations of the European Union
- Multi-speed Europe
- United States of Europe
Notes and references
- Zielonka, J. (2006), Europe as Empire, Oxford University Press: Oxford.
- Leonard, M. (2005), Why Europe will run the 21st century, Fourth Estate: London.
- Cooper, R. (2003), The Breaking of Nations, Atlantic Books: London.
- EU-Turkey relations Archived July 6, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. euractiv.com
- Leonard, M. Why Europe will run the 21st century (2004, Fourth Estate). Appendix: p.145-146.
- Ankerl, Guy (2000). Global communication without universal civilization. INU societal research. Vol.1: Coexisting contemporary civilizations : Arabo-Muslim, Bharati, Chinese, and Western. Geneva: INU Press. ISBN 2-88155-004-5.
- "The EU as a Regional Normative Hegemon: The Case of European Neighbourhood Policy"
- Mahony, Honor (2007-07-11) Barroso says EU is an 'empire' EU Observer.