Sectoral dynamics of EU enlargement: advocacy, access and alliances in a composite policy

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Series Details Vol.9, No.4, 2002, p627-649
Publication Date 2002
ISSN 1350-1763
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Theoretical studies of EU enlargement have mainly focused on the macro-level of enlargement, namely under which conditions the EU decides to enlarge. We still lack a conceptual framework to analyse the sectoral dynamics of enlargement that specifies under which conditions the preferences of the candidate countries are accommodated in EU policy. I argue that an accommodation of the candidates' preferences depends crucially on policy advocates in the EU. The influence of these policy advocates is structured by the nature of enlargement as a composite policy, in which sectoral decisions are negotiated between the group of policy-makers with primary responsibility for enlargement as such, and various groups of sectoral policy-makers. The policy advocates' impact on sectoral policies thus depends (1) on their access to decision-making, which is shaped by the structure of the policy process, as well as (2) their ability to build alliances with sectoral policymakers. Crucially, alliance-building depends not only on the strength of sectoral interest groups, but also on the compatibility between the candidates' preferences and the sectoral policy paradigms that shape the preferences of the sectoral policy-makers.

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