EU and Enlargement Issues

Time frame: 2009-2016
Project managers: Christophe Hillion and Göran von Sydow

The five enlargements have led to a Union of 28 Member States and almost 500 million inhabitants. Croatia’s accession mid-2013 confirms that the enlargement process is still in progress. Also a number of other candidate states or potential candidates are preparing for membership.

The project aims primarily to highlight how the legal framework of the EU’s enlargement process has been designed and how it has changed in practice. As there is growing political reluctance to increase the number of Member States, the attempts by Member States to control the enlargement process have also intensified. This is being done, for example, through proposed referenda but also through increasing control over the process itself by consulting national parliaments on more important decisions related to enlargement.

Secondly, within the framework of this project, SIEPS aims to analyse the two most important enlargement processes in a broader meaning, i.e. Turkey and the Western Balkans. It is now seven years ago since EU formally started accession negotiations with Turkey. In this context it is interesting to analyse the progress made in the negotiations, what the problems are and what the political currents within the EU are regarding Turkish accession. Likewise, similar questions arise regarding the process working towards candidate status for the countries in the Western Balkans.