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  • Author: Sima Rakutienė x
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The Web of the EU'S Neighbourhood Policy: Between Bilateralism and Multilateralism

This article examines the divergence in the EU's strategies towards neighbours. The goal is to connect different EU neighbourhood initiatives into one framework in making a correlation between national and supranational levels. The distinction between bilateralism/multilateralism and Russia inclusion/Russia exclusion is made within both levels. The division is between European Neighbourhood policy and Eastern Partnership (within bilateral framework) on the one hand, and Northern dimension initiative and Black Sea Synergy on the other. These different EU's strategies towards neighbours reflect contradictory EU development models. The argument is made that national preferences and interests precondition a variety of the EU's neighbourhood initiatives and create a web in EU's neighbourhood policy that is filled with many contradictions.


Since 2004, when the European neighbourhood policy was established, the European Union has already spent billions of euros to finance the new neighbourhood policies for creating more stable and more cooperative relations with eastern and southern neighbours. However, increased security concerns and challenges, less stable and less prognostic relations seem to have produced the opposite result of what was sought, and so Europe is experiencing a “neighbourhood of crisis”. Did it fail? What strategy has the EU been using within the last 15 years in relations with its neighbouring countries? What specific tools and instruments have been adapted? Did the renewal of European neighbourhood policy introduce any completely new strategic elements? This article examines these questions, focusing on three perspectives suggested by role theory: intentional, interactional and institutional. The study applies qualitative research methodology and claims that the EU has been seeking to transmit not just EU values and standards but also internal institutional practices and modes of EU governance.


For a long time post-Soviet space has been perceived as homophobic and intolerant of LGBT persons. The three Baltic States - Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia - as former Soviet republics and current members of the European Union, represent the space where a strong homophobic post-Soviet atmosphere competes with pro-LGBT Western influence. This article examines how the first LGBT Pride Parade (which occurred in Vilnius in 2010) is reflected in Lithuanian media portals. The article also presents the broader context of LGBT issues by reviewing legal changes and Lithuanian political parties’ programs. Our analysis of the media and other sources is based on three arguments: 1) that the LGBT pride parade in Vilnius became the most important event for reflecting LGBT issues in the media and society; 2) it might have not been possible without support and influence from external institutions; and 3) the LGBT parade revealed the division of two competing normative trajectories in Lithuania. The reconstructed trajectories in the article are based on the theoretical framework of new institutionalism, media analysis, interviews and focus groups. Construction of the LGBT campaign and counter-campaign seem delimited rather than approaching them as value normative consensus. However, the way in which LGBT persons are reflected within the Lithuanian media is remarkably different in comparison with the early post-Soviet period. The Baltic gay pride parade “for equality” and external (Western) support for it were highly visible in the media, influenced a significant debate on the topic not otherwise experienced in Lithuania, and (re)introduced a question about the perception of ‘normality’ within society. These debates also raise the question of how norms and institutions change and adapt within society.