Why Europe Fears Its Neighbors
by Fabrizio Tassinari
September 2009, 143pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-35772-5
$61, £47, 54€, A84
eBook Available: 978-0-313-35773-2
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Europe has developed a siege mentality. Whether immigration or terrorism, trafficking or energy shortages, some of the most daunting challenges shaping the political agenda of the European Union coalesce in the ring of countries that surrounds it.

Working from a unique viewpoint, this volume demonstrates how the European Union's fear of its neighbors reflects Europe's identity crisis—and challenges its survival.

Taking a novel approach to the current situation in Europe, foreign policy analyst Fabrizio Tassinari transforms external policy concerns about Europe’s neighborhood into questions about Europe’s internal future. His contention: that the situation on Europe’s periphery is an unforgiving mirror of its identity crisis, institutional paralysis, ineffectual foreign policy, and morbid fear of migrants and multiculturalism.

Looking at each of the countries and regions surrounding Europe, from Russia and Turkey to the Western Balkans and North Africa, Tassinari unravels the challenges facing the EU, weighs the record of its policies, and explains how both can be traced back to Europe’s inherent insecurity. Turning conventional wisdom on its head, he argues that gradual and diversified forms of integration with its many neighbors is Europe’s best alternative to a progressive, but inexorable fragmentation of the EU. The ability to meet this challenge will not only test Europe’s unfulfilled global aspirations, it will be crucial to its very survival.

Fabrizio Tassinari is a senior fellow and Head of the Foreign Policy and EU Studies Unit at the Danish Institute for International Studies in Copenhagen. He is also a nonresident Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels and at the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies in Washington DC.


"Tassinari, a foreign policy analyst, addresses the political, societal, and economic predicament in Europe's backyard—the Balkans, Turkey, the westernmost former Soviet republics, Russia, and the Mediterranean area—to examine how security concerns define Europe's policies and its identity. Arguing against conventional wisdom, he contends that gradual integration with its many neighbors is Europe's best alternative to fragmentation. His thesis is supported with primary sources and examples of the prevailing European discourse on each of the neighboring countries and regions. The book is aimed at academics and general readers."—Reference & Research Book News, November 1, 2009

"Recommended. General readers, upper-division undergraduate students, and above."—Choice, June 1, 2010

"Why Europe Fears its Neighbors provides deep and unconventional insight into the European Union’s neighbourhood policy and identity. ... The comprehensible language makes the book accessible not only to scholars looking for an out-of-line opinion, but also to a more general readership that wants a critical explanation of EU foreign policy."—The International Spectator, December 1, 2010

"Fabrizio Tassinari is a brilliant, inventive scholar and an engaging author with a crisp style. This book is a timely, compelling, and at times provocative treatment of what is perhaps Europe's central challenge: how to deal with a kaleidoscope of neighbors on a freer yet more turbulent continent. Tassinari skillfully illuminates Europe's choices, challenges, and its fears, and also charts a way forward. He has produced a rich and substantial book that is full of insights and sure to generate considerable debate and discussion. I recommend it heartily: it fills a gap in current thinking and is certain to be a must-read for students, scholars and opinion leaders alike."—Prof. Daniel Hamilton, Director of the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University, Washington, D.C.

"Through his career, Fabrizio Tassinari has demonstrated the rare combination of fine scholarship, original thinking and sharp observation. This also shows in Why Europe Fears its Neighbors, a compelling book. I like its central argument—that Europe's paranoia for its neighbors is self-inflicted. Anyone wishing to make some sense of Europe's longstanding predicament should read this book."—HE Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Denmark (1982-1993) and Adjunct Professor at the Copenhagen Business School

"Fabrizio Tassinari makes a very attractive proposal and this book sets the tone well, since it is time to dramatize the need for a much more effective EU policy towards its neighborhood. Much of the existing literature is solid and well researched, but lacks urgency in the argument. On the other hand some of the more sensationalist contributions to the literature are not so sound analytically. Tassinari is fully in command of the subject matter and has a talen for writing with flair."—Dr. Michael Emerson, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies, Brussels, and former EU Ambassador to Russia

"In the last decade many scholars were busy answering the question, why Europe's neighbors are so attracted by the European Union. But in his provocative and well-researched book Fabrizio Tassinari asks the question, 'why Europe fears its neighbors' and the answers he provides are illuminating and disturbing for anybody who really cares about the success of the European project."—Ivan Krastev, Chairman of the Board, Centre for Liberal Strategies, Bulgaria

"Europe is widely thought of as the soft or civilian superpower, striving to be loved rather than feared. But as Tassinari points out in this insightful book, Europe has fears of its own which it must confront in order to achieve the ambitions it has set for itself. Up-to-date and rich in sensible argument, Tassinari presents the most pragmatic roadmap for Europe's geopolitical future."—Parag Khanna, author of The Second World: Empires and Influences in the New Global Order

"At last, a book about the EU, Europe and enlargement that is actually readable! Tassinari has taken a complex and difficult subject of real importance for the future of Europe and produced a lively, necessary and interesting account of where we are, how we got here and where we are going. A copy needs to be sent to every EU foreign minister. Now. Before it's too late."—Tim Judah, Balkans Correspondent of The Economist and author of The Serbs: History, Myth and Destruction of Yugoslavia

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