Current Challenges and Strategic Choices
It is often argued that there is now enlargement fatigue, and progress towards the next step seems slow. However, a number of countries, especially in the Western Balkans, are eager to join, and Turkey has been an official candidate since 1999. Major challenges lie ahead for the candidates as well as the EU. Will the candidates be able to carry out the required reforms to fulfil the membership conditions, and will the EU be able – politically and institutionally – to widen its membership further? These decisions are of strategic importance for the future of Europe.
This book analyses the issues involved, exploring the status of the ongoing enlargement process and the political games associated with it.
Historically enlargements of the European Union (EU) have often been linked with deepening of integration. It could be argued that there is enlargement fatigue at the moment. Some may see it is linked with the eurozone crisis, which takes up much of the time and energy of EU leaders. Still, the next enlargement, with Croatia set to join the EU in 2013, is just around the corner, and there are a number of candidate countries that have expectations to the EU and hope to join in the future. This raises questions about the necessary preparations both in the EU and in the applicant countries. This book deals with some of these issues. It is among of the out- comes of a project entitled “Widening and Deepening of European Integration: Challenges and Strategic Choices Facing the European Union.” A call for papers went out in November 2011 and a number of papers were selected and subsequently presented at a conference orga- nized by the EU Centre of Excellence (EUCE) at Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada, in April 2012. The chapters in this book are based on a set of papers dealing with enlargement issues, which were revised after the conference. Papers focusing on the eurozone crisis and other internal policy challenges will be published in a separate volume. In the call for papers we asked, inter alia: “What are the prospects for future enlargements? […] What obsta- cles have to be overcome in the Western Balkan countries which want to become EU...
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