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The geopolitics of EU enlargement by Mark Leonard

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The debate around the potential expansion of the European Union is no longer really about Ukraine and the Western Balkans. Enlargement is now an existential issue with far-reaching implications for the EU and its ability to remain a leading player in a rapidly changing global environment.

BERLIN – Where will the borders of Europe end? On October 6, EU leaders met in Granada, Spain, to discuss an issue that has captivated Eurocrats, think tanks and journalists across the bloc since the start of the war in Ukraine.

While the European Union has already granted With Ukraine seeking candidate status in June 2022, the European Council is expected to vote on December 15 on the formal opening of accession negotiations. But the debate in Spain shows that the issue no longer really concerns Ukraine and the Western Balkans; it is now an existential question with far-reaching implications for the EU and its role in a rapidly changing global environment.

The EU seems to be moving towards a radical reinvention, a “refoundation” built on three pillars, each of which is the subject of fierce debate. He seeks a great compromise between geopolitical imperatives and liberal values.

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