Que voulons-nous : l'élargissement de l'Europe ou l'expansion de Poutine ?

VARSOVIE – Le mur de Berlin avait pour mérite de marquer de manière claire la limite de l'Europe. Mais la question des frontières de l'Europe est maintenant un sujet de débat au sein de l'Union européenne. La récente menace du président russe Poutine d'orienter des missiles en direction de l'Ukraine en souligne l'enjeu.

La chute du mur en 1989 a contraint les fonctionnaires de la Commission européenne à dépoussiérer les atlas en cherchant des lieux qu'ils ne connaissaient guère et auxquels ils s'intéressaient encore moins. Leon Brittan, à l'époque il était commissaire et favorable à l'élargissement, se souvient que certains responsables et certains pays espéraient même que les frontières ne bougeraient pas avec la chute du mur. Ils estimaient même qu'un élargissement aux pays scandinaves ou aux pays alpins était déjà de trop. C'est seulement eu 1993 que l'UE a reconnu officiellement que l'élargissement à tous les pays de l'ancien bloc soviétique pouvait être un objectif à long terme.

Aujourd'hui, le débat sur les frontières de l'Europe ne se limite plus aux responsables ou aux cercles de réflexion. En 2005 en France et aux Pays-Bas, les électeurs ont rejeté le traité constitutionnel, en partie par peur d'un élargissement trop rapide à un trop grand nombre de pays. "Nous ne voulons pas que les Roumains décident de la manière dont nous devons organiser notre vie", s'inquiétait un professeur hollandais.

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