Similarities and Differences between NATO and the EU Enlargement
After the end of the Cold War the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU) enlargement were two main political processes in the European continent. Both organizations since their inception, promoted the idea of integrated Europe without borders, which meant creating a Europe without divisions and bringing back all Central Eastern European (CEE) countries into the European family where they belong. However, after half a century of isolation in the totalitarian communist system the CEE countries (CEEC) had to undertake fundamental institutional, political, economic, military and other reforms in order to join NATO and the EU. In order to ease the process of accession, both organizations set certain criteria for membership for the CEECs. While NATO’s requirements for membership were more general and flexible, the EU’s requirements, on the other hand, were non-negotiable and closely enforced.
Therefore, this article will explore NATO’s and the EU’s enlargement process eastwards, its similarities and differences. In addition, it will analyse the difficulties and challenges with special focus on Russia’s opposition to this process.
The author will identify the similarities and differences between NATO and the EU’s enlargement and will argue that the eastern enlargement marked the final end to the Cold War antagonism and it created conducive preconditions for more secure and prosperous Europe.
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