There is a consensus that the EU has been influential in promoting reform in the Central and Eastern European Countries as it was able to use a credible conditional membership perspective as an incentive. Thus, under the ENP, which does not offer that incentive, the EU is expected to have little influence. This paper argues that the EU's role in the neighbourhood should not be understood only on the basis of the missing membership incentive nor analysed as an overarching policy. Research should be based on the empirical evidence on a country and issue specific basis, which include not only consideration of the EU's conditional strategies but also of other EU instruments. This paper discusses the strategies the EU uses in the area of JHA and the responses of the domestic actors to the EU strategies since the initiation of the ENP in Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia. Both domestic variables and issue-specific variables are considered in analysing the EU's leverage. Drawing from the case studies' results, this paper clarifies the motivations for complying with EU recommendations, engaging both in rationalist and constructivist explanations, and contributes to understanding of the determinants under which the EU can influence in the neighbourhood.
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