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The End of EU Conditionality: What next for the EU enlargement process?

Elyse Wakelin

The principle of EU conditionality, as a tool for the EU to ensure that aspiring member states reform their policy to reflect EU norms, has become cemented within the EU enlargement process; the 2004 and 2007 enlargements stand as testament to conditionality's potential. Drawing upon the works of Schimmelfenning and Sedelmeier, this paper analyses the recent decline of the effectiveness of EU conditionality and the need for the EU to move away from traditional processes in the EU enlargement process, an area that has yet to be widely addressed. This is achieved by exploring the other mechanisms available to the EU to ensure compliance with the full Acquis Communautaire. Through analysis of Bosnia and Herzegovina's journey towards EU membership, this paper examines the changing relationship between the EU and aspiring Member States and the impact of this change upon the effectiveness of EU conditionality. The case study of Bosnia and Herzegovina demonstrates the requirement for the EU to amend its enlargement procedures to maintain its democratizing effect. I contend that a system which reflects the shift in EU enlargement to include countries of a less traditional European background is needed to improve EU leverage in the pre-accession process.

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