Details for Between Enlargement-led Europeanisation and Balkan Exceptionalism

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Name:Between Enlargement-led Europeanisation and Balkan Exceptionalism
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Dimitris Papadimitriou# and Eli Gateva

The accession of Bulgaria and Romania into the European Union (EU) in 2007 offers significant theoretical and empirical insights into the way in which the EU has deployed and realised its enlargement strategy/strategies over the past 15 years. Borrowing from the literature on enlargement-led Europeanisation and EU conditionality, this article discusses how the EU has sought to influence domestic reform in the two countries through a mix of threats and rewards. What emerges from Bulgaria’s and Romania’s trajectory towards EU membership is the evolutionary and contested nature of EU conditionality as well as the considerable EU discretion in the manner of its implementation. In that sense Bulgaria and Romania, as ‘outliers’ of the 2004-7 EU enlargement, offer us critical tests of the enlargement-led Europeanisation thesis. Thus, their study provides useful conceptual insights into the transformative power of the EU in Eastern Europe and highlights important policy legacies affecting the current EU enlargement strategy in the Western Balkans and Turkey.
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Created On: 10/12/2010 12:31
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