After ‘Georgia’ – prospects for ENP and enlargement

Institute of International and European Affairs
While the Georgia crisis received extensive coverage in the Irish media and was the subject of several statements by Irish politicians, the broader issues of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and the enlargement of the EU and NATO are of little salience to Ireland.[1] There is little evidence of discussion concerning the ENP in Ireland due to Ireland’s lack of a border or even proximity to any non-EU states. Similarly, the fact that Ireland is an officially neutral state in terms of military policy and is not a member of NATO, the enlargement of that organisation is of little concern to the Irish population or it’s political class. There has been some coverage in parts of the Irish media of what is perceived to be a rising level of scepticism in the Irish population towards to the benefits of further EU enlargement. This is believed to be as a result of the large influx of Eastern European workers to Ireland following the 2004 accession, combined with the shock of Ireland’s sudden economic slow-down. This is believed by some in Ireland to be fuelling concern that a further enlarged EU will dilute Ireland’s cultural identity through increased immigration and will reduce Ireland’s influence in the institutions of the Union. This view however is one, which is not shared by the vast majority of Irish politicians.

[1] “Post Lisbon Treaty Referendum Research Findings September 2008” conducted by Millward Brown IMS on behalf of the Irish Government, available at: (last access: 23 March 2009). “How to stem tide of citizen negativity towards EU”, The Irish Times, 19 November 2008.