From Neighbourhood to Integration Policy: are there concrete Alternatives to Enlargement?

Speech by Eneko Landuburu at the Conference "Revitalising Europe", CEPS, Brussels, 23 February 2006

There are concrete alternatives to

Enlargement. As there must be. Enlargement has been a key tool in projecting

stability across our continent. But it is a reality that the EU cannot expand

ad infinitum – everything has its limits. We must honour our present basic

commitments, while strictly insisting on the criteria.

One of these criteria is our own absorption

capacity – it is clear that in some Member States the pace and scale of

enlargement is approaching the limits of what public opinion will accept. To

overstretch, rather than consolidate, the Union would be detrimental not only

for us but also our partners. These are all issues with which our leaders will

struggle in Vienna in a few months’ time.