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The European Union: trends and disagreements in internal and external policy

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Being one of the political and economic centers of the world along with the United States and Asia-Pacific region, the European Union has recently undergone a range of metamorphosis fraught with unpredictable consequences for the organization and its future. There are signs of the European Union`s growing “imperial” aspirations on the international scene, there are more and more cases of the violation of norms of international law, which was proved during the Arab Spring in 2011, particularly in Libya, with the European Union`s internal humanitarian policy becoming tougher or even halted.

The crisis of common human values in the continent, which Europe boasted about until recently, clearly demonstrated the fall of the idea of multiculturalism in Europe declared by the French and German leaders in 2011. This was proved by a range of measures taken by France in the last few years – the forced deportation of Gypsies, an Islamic veil ban, and an attempt to pass a law on the so-called “Armenian genocide” in Turkey, etc.

New trends have shown themselves in Europe`s policy and in a recent statement of Sarkozy who threatened to pull France out of Europe's Schengen zone unless the EU tightened its borders against illegal immigration in 2012. He also requested a “political government of Schengen” and the possibility to sanction, suspend or exclude from Schengen a state that falls short of its responsibilities.

All this is probably the result of a strategic mistake in the EU`s policy, which is aimed at further expanding into the East, and including politically and economically immature Eastern European countries with their complex problems into the Union`s ranks.

In this case the EU`s geo-political ambitions came out on top, which led to considerable weakening of its economic potential, in particular its single currency, the euro. And the growing crises in several Eurozone countries, including Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy, as well as other countries` desire to leave the zone cast doubt on the future of a united Europe. Paris and Berlin have already called for structural changes in the European Union and the transition to a two-level format of relations within the organization.

One of the factors of applying double standards in the EU`s policy is the organization`s attitude towards the accession of Turkey. Turkey has been seeking the EU membership for over 40 years, while the organization is impeding the process by fair means or foul. Despite most of the Eastern European countries have outstripped Turkey in gaining the EU membership, the country is patiently and persistently awaiting its turn.

In October of 2005 the European Union finally decided to sit down on a negotiating table with Turkey for the talks, which even according to most optimistic forecasts, will not finish before 2015. This can finally lead to Turkey`s getting closer to Russia, a growing world power, and this can cost the European Union much from geo-political and geo-economic points of view.

The EU`s policy of double standards also makes itself felt in the organization`s attitude towards the conflicts in the South Caucasus, in particular the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. In Brussels, they behave in such a way as if both sides are equally responsible for the dispute, and turn a blind eye on Armenia`s continuing occupation of 20 per cent of Azerbaijan`s lands, the existence of over a million Azerbaijani refugees and IDPs, and four UN Security Council resolutions clearly condemning Armenia`s policy of aggression against Azerbaijan and demanding an unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from Azerbaijan`s occupied territories. And is it just?

As far as the policy of Azerbaijan, which in the last few years became a regional leader’ in the South Caucasus, towards the European Union is concerned, it differs as it is pragmatic and realistic, and is aimed, first and foremost, at building and developing mutually fruitful political and economic relations with the organization, particularly in the energy sphere. As Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev says: “Azerbaijan, which has already become the region`s economic hub, is a reliable energy partner and is ready to make its contribution to ensuring Europe`s energy security.”

Kamal Adigozalov

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