The effects of the Eastern enlargement, the biggest so far, are still felt across the European Union (EU). Many warned the EU was about to overreach the limits of its integration capacity. More than a decade later, this book presents a broad-based and systematic evaluation of the 2004–2007’s enlargement and its impact on the EU.
In contrast to widespread scepticism, our results show that the EU’s integration capacity has been strong. Credible accession conditionality and pre-accession assistance have had a positive impact on democracy, governance capacity, and economic transformation, at least before accession. After accession, EU institutions have proven resilient. Eastern enlargement has not affected negatively the legislative capacity of the EU. It has not led to a deterioration of compliance and implementation of EU law either; initial differentiated integration has quickly returned to normal levels.
This generally positive assessment stands in stark contrast with increasing public opposition to future EU enlargements. We identify some less known sources of such opposition: the lack of communication and political debate about enlargement between EU leaders and their citizens. Public opposition undermines the credibility of EU conditionality, which is crucial for having a positive impact on neighbouring countries in the future.
The chapters in this book originally appeared in a special issue in the Journal of European Public Policy.
"The book edited by Tanja Börzel, Antoaneta Dimitrova and Frank Schimmelfennig demonstrates, through a sophisticated theoretical framework, that the enlargement has widely benefited both national institutions in Eastern countries and EU institutions."
Recommended by Daniela Irrera, EuropeNow
1. European Union enlargement and integration capacity: concepts, findings, and policy implications
Tanja A. Börzel, Antoaneta Dimitrova and Frank Schimmelfennig
2. The impact of the Eastern enlargement on the decision-making capacity of the European Union
Dimiter D. Toshkov
3. Larger and more law abiding? The impact of enlargement on compliance in the European Union
Tanja A. Börzel and Ulrich Sedelmeier
4. Notified and substantive compliance with EU law in enlarged Europe: evidence from four policy areas
Asya Zhelyazkova, Cansarp Kaya and Reini Schrama
5. Eastern enlargement and differentiated integration: towards normalization
Frank Schimmelfennig and Thomas Winzen
6. What do citizens want? And why does it matter? Discourses among citizens as opportunities and constraints for EU enlargement
Antoaneta Dimitrova and Elitsa Kortenska
7. Coming together or drifting apart? The EU’s political integration capacity in Eastern Europe
Tanja A. Börzel and Frank Schimmelfennig
8. Varieties of dis-embedded liberalism. EU integration strategies in the Eastern peripheries of Europe
László Bruszt and Julia Langbein
This series seeks to bring together some of the finest edited works on European Public Policy. Reprinting from Special Issues of the Journal of European Public Policy, the focus is on using a wide range of social sciences approaches, both qualitative and quantitative, to gain a comprehensive and definitive understanding of Public Policy in Europe.