Uses of time in the EU’s enlargement process

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Series Details Vol.16, No.2, March 2009, p256-269
Publication Date March 2009
ISSN 1350-1763
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Abstract: The instruments of temporality played a key role in driving institutional action and political decision in the process of expansion of the European Union (EU) from 15 to 27 members. The Opinions made by the European Commission in 1997 on the countries of Central and Eastern Europe interpreted for the first time the 'Copenhagen criteria' for EU membership, and by using a 'medium-term' horizon introduced an important time-factor. The 'roadmap' developed by the Commission and approved by the Council of Ministers in 2000 effectively structured the decisive stages of the accession negotiations. In the 'battle of dates' with the applicant countries concerning the prospective timing of their accession, the EU refused to commit itself to a precise date until the last stages of the negotiations. Overall, it used time-factors in such a way that the existing members and the applicant countries were mobilized to reach a timely conclusion.

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