We’ve occasionally played with the idea of the EU as the Borg, a new kind of political entity whose chief means of power is membership in its system of technocratic cooperation. The paradigm of this is, of course, the successful absorption of the Mediterranean ex-dictatorships and the economic development of the poor periphery – not just the ex-communist states but also places like Ireland and Portugal. Here’s something interesting, if you really like that sort of thing – Kosmopolit blogs about the changing nature of the EU Neighbourhood Policy and the various other headings under which the EU’s foreign policy falls – the Black Sea Synergy (ouch), the Eastern Partnership, the Barcelona Process et al.
The crucial insight is that rather than the potential new members (or not, but we’ll come to that) being offered a list of things they must do with regard to the EU in order to get something from the EU, it’s now a question of their being asked to do EU-like things with regard to a third country, for example to set up institutional cooperation on specific problems or monitor each others’ democratic credentials. The really interesting bit is that this doesn’t have to apply to EU membership only – it could also mean a policy of encouraging the creation of alternative EU-like communities.
Wouldn’t it be interesting if the EU, so often derided as a hypercentralised bureaucratic monster, was actually a prototype of a rhizomatic form of government?