Academic journal article Civilacademy Journal of Social Sciences

EU Enlargement: Analytical Mechanisms and Patterns/ Avrupa Birligi Genislemesi: Analitik Mekanizmalar Ve Modeller

Academic journal article Civilacademy Journal of Social Sciences

EU Enlargement: Analytical Mechanisms and Patterns/ Avrupa Birligi Genislemesi: Analitik Mekanizmalar Ve Modeller

Article excerpt


In the past 50 years critical events have taken place in Europe, transforming not only the demarcation of the continent but also causing colossal changes in political, socioeconomic and security agendas of most European states. Only progressive thinkers in the aftermath of the Second World War foresaw that an amalgam of 6 European states could transfigure into a vastly enlarged colossus of 27 EU member-states united not only under a common economic but also political umbrella.

The development of the European Union has always been a dynamic process. Step by step the EU was moving forward towards closer economic and political interdependency, as well as a diversified membership. As of 1951, the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was founded by 6 founding members--BeNeLux, France, Italy and the FRG. In seven years after the creation of ECSC, when its economic success became obvious to the neighbours, the membership in the Union changed into a priority agenda for most European states. When EFTA was founded in the 1960s, it immediately determined further push factors for non-EEC states left in disclosed economic isolation. The disintegration of the Soviet bloc in the end of the 1980s encouraged ex-communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe to frantically dash for the EU membership. Altogether, by the beginning of the new millennium, the European Union stretched itself nearly to the margins of the European continent from the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea. Gradually, the economic realities and the political agenda of the EU were set on a firm legal basis, stemming from the Treaties of Rome, Nice and Maastricht.

The process of European integration is unique in theoretical terms as well. Since the start of the integration process in Europe in the early 1950s, there emerged a variety of theories of European integration. Neo-functionalism (Haas 1958, 1961) and liberal intergovernmentalism (Moravcsik 1993) have become the most contested theories of European integration. None of the discussions on the EU could possibly restrain from mentioning either Haas or Moravcsik. Yet, these theories have seldom been applied to analyze EU enlargement. Paradoxically, in spite of the fact that EU enlargement has been on the agenda since its initiation, it was left with hardly any theoretical groundwork. EU enlargement has always been complementary to European integration theory, always living "a shadow existence as a supplier of ad hoc explanations" (Jorgensen, 1993: 231). The gaps in theoretical foundations of EU enlargement have not been covered--neither after the first round of enlargement in the 1970s, second--in the 1980s, the third in 1995 and the last in 2004. Neither has it lost its relevance to apply the existing theories of European integration to explain EU enlargement. On the contrary, there is an urgent need for the adaptation of European integration theory to take account of the increased size of the EU and its consequences for the institutional scope and capacity.

This essay is designed as a qualitative analysis that systematically represents the author's interpretations of the mainstream theories of European integration. It is expected to integrate the concepts and theoretical mechanisms coming from various European integration theories, mainly liberal intergovernmentalism and neo-functionalism, in order to develop a grounded theoretical elucidation of EU enlargement. The major goal pursued is to identify how theories of European integration relate to EU enlargement.

Better theoretical explanation of EU enlargement is likely to upgrade the common knowledge. Following Ben Rosamond's argument that theories not only help understand the process and its outcomes, but also offer certain trajectories of how events and processes might unfold in the future, this essay might indicate some further steps in the process of EU enlargement (Rosamond, 2000:4). By integrating different approaches towards EU enlargement, this essay might establish a general framework of EU enlargement, therefore, contributing to theory-building. …

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