Who’s my neighbour?
Title: Who’s my neighbour?
Author: MELONI, Gabriella
Citation: European Political Economy Review (EPER), 2007, 7, Special Issue on European Neighbourhood Policy
The EU is approaching bordering countries offering them “neighbourhood relations”, but it fails short of taking into consideration how this concept may be perceived by its partners. This paper will propose a reconsideration of the term “neighbour” in the conviction that this operation is of fundamental importance in order to solve any eventual misunderstanding on its meaning and to define, in the context of the ENP, what the nature of a relationship of neighbourhood may imply. In particular, it will look at the literature to show that this term, far from being uncontested, fundamentally implies an “othering” practice which transcends the Christian teaching to “love one’s neighbour as oneself”. Then, it will underline that this word may have different connotations in partner countries which may go beyond a neutral indication of geographical proximity and which may not correspond to the meaning consolidated in the Anglo Saxon tradition which basically refers to a neighbour as to a “fellow”. Finally, the paper will underline that the same fundamental ambiguity which marks the term here considered lies at the very core of the ENP. As a matter of fact, this policy shows persisting uncertainties on how to substantiate the relationship with neighbouring countries, whether in terms of fellowship and integration or in terms of an “other than me” who still represents a security threat.
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