Constructing the path to eastern enlargement. The uneven policy impact of EU identity

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Publication Date 2005
ISBN 0-7190-7008-2
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This book explores the EU’s policy towards eastern enlargement and the acceptance of the apparent disparity in distribution of costs and benefits of this enlargement among the incumbent Member States.

The work is organised in four parts spread over nine chapters. Part one presents the analytical framework for the study. Following an introductory chapter the second chapter explores different elements of EU identity that might be salient for its eastern enlargement policy. Chapter three considers the collective role of EU policy-makers towards the Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) and the impact it had upon EU policy.

Part two addresses the evolution of the EU’s enlargement policy. Chapter four examines the shift from initial reluctance even to discuss the question of an eventual accession of the CEECs to the endorsement of their membership perspective at Copenhagen in 1993. The impact of the accession negotiations agreed at the Madrid European Council in December 1995 is the focus of chapter five.

Part three comprises sectoral case studies of particular substantive policies. Chapter six addresses the liberalisation of the steel sector and the overriding of incumbent interest group pressure to resist liberalisation to accommodate the preferences of the CEECs. Chapter seven presents analysis of the EU’s policy for the regulatory alignment of the CEECs with the internal market. Chapter eight deals with the evolution of the EU’s political dialogue with the CEECs on foreign policy, and here again we see contradictions in the preferences; the EU wishing it to continue as a one-way sharing of information from the EU to the CEECs but the CEECs eager to institutionalise the political dialogue into a two-way exercise, allowing them the opportunity to influence Common Foreign and Security Policy.

Part four comprises the conclusion, which in broad terms asserts that the preferences of the CEECs have been allowed greater influence than might be suggested by material interests or bargaining power, and that social factors have played a significant part in those outcomes.

The work will interest scholars, students and researchers of EU politics, international relations theory and international institutions.

Ulrich Sedelmeier is Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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