A certain idea of Europe: can European integration survive eastern enlargement?

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Series Details No. 93, 2007
Publication Date April 2007
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This working paper is based on the 2007 Sussex University Lecture in London that was given by Professor Alan Mayhew from SEI, on 14 March. The lecture itself was held at One Birdcage Walk in Westminster and was attended by more than 150 guests, including VIPs, members of Council and Court, alumni and friends of the University. Prof. Mayhew is an economist specialising in problems of economic transition and integration in central and eastern Europe as well as economic policy and budgetary issues in the European Union (EU). The lecture asked, ‘Can European integration survive eastern enlargement?’
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the EU has more than doubled in size; two more countries are negotiating for accession and a further four in the western Balkans have
been promised membership in the future. And that still leaves Ukraine and others in eastern Europe waiting to join. This paper analyses the extent to which the EU has
followed a consistent policy towards the east and how that policy has evolved over the last decade and a half. It then questions whether we have now reached a turning point
in EU openness, with the debate about the Union's absorption capacity emerging at a time when the Union might be in sight of its goal of reuniting Europe.

The paper then analyses the impact of past enlargement on the Union and notably of the last enlargement, which brought the countries of central and eastern Europe into
the Union. The overwhelmingly positive impact on both the old and the new member states of the Union contrasts with the current lack of public or elitist support for
further enlargement.

The reasons for this are explained, important amongst which is the poor economic performance of key old Member States, leading to high unemployment and a feeling of
economic insecurity amongst the public. For the elites the institutional challenges are also a major problem. Policies are needed which tackle these problems and possible reforms to institutions are outlined which would maintain efficiency in decisionmaking and help those affected by globalisation to retrain and find new employment in expanding sectors.

Source Link http://www.sussex.ac.uk/sei/documents/sei-working-paper-no-93.pdf
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