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When it comes to a new enlargement round in eastern Europe, the EU can’t go forward and can’t go back writes Krzysztof Bobinski. (SPRING 2008)

In Ukraine, the EU’s failure to encourage the government in its European aspirations risks creating a growing disillusionment with the West. That would strengthen Russia’s position in Ukraine, where Moscow is constantly ready to point out that the country should return to its Slav roots and not flirt with a West that doesn’t want it.

In Belarus, should Lukashenko’s regime falter, then the democratic opposition would be strengthened by the promise of having the EU behind it. Otherwise, it is just as likely that Russia would step in and use its proxies to implement a more modern version of the authoritarianism that Lukashenko espouses.

This is what is at stake in the debate about the EU’s further enlargement into the post-Soviet east. The issue is whether western values are to take root in those countries that on the whole want to be integrated with “Europe”, or whether they will instead drift away into a grey area from which they will sooner or later challenge the values and democratic ways of the West.

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EurActiv Network