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MEP proposes Eastern European Union

By M. Alkhazashvili
(Translated by Diana Dudnua)
Thursday, April 24
Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Ingo Friedrich recently floated the idea of an Eastern European Union which would be an “interim solution” to states seeking EU membership.

“We need a ‘third way’ between EU membership and non-membership, between states within and beyond the union,” said Friedrich, who is MEP for Bavaria.

He added that the EU should concentrate on deepening relations with other nations, as opposed to looking to expand.

The Eastern European Union, he said, would be similar to the planned Union for the Mediterranean, which will loosely group all EU states with a number of others including Turkey, to cooperate on regional projects.

But EU membership in the long run would still be on the cards.

“Over a transition period of up to twenty years these states could be advanced gradually to the EU,” Friedrich said.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy proposed the Mediterranean initiative during his 2007 election campaign, and it is due to be established in July, before France steps down from the rotating EU presidency.