Understanding the Effectiveness of the European Parliament as a Socialization Agent in the Enlargement Process

Seda Gurkan

This paper aims to assess the European Parliament's (EP) role in consolidating democracy in a candidate country through the diffusion of EU norms. A vast literature on diffusion of ideas, values has extensively studied how/why norm transfer takes place from the EU towards a non-EU state. However, the literature failed to address the role of individual EU institutions in this process. This paper attempts to fill this gap. Through an in-depth analysis of EP's thorny relations with Turkey, the paper explains why EP's role in consolidating EU values in Turkey remained largely limited despite EP's potential in this regard. Drawing on the broader socialization literature, two competing hypotheses are discussed. The first hypothesis relates to the socializer and points to the nature of values advocated by the EP. The hypothesis argues that successful norm transfer by the EP is seriously hindered because the values advocated by the EP are unfair and biased (as often argued by Turkish government). The second hypothesis related to the socializee states that the mismatch of EP's values with those defended by Turkish elite (resonance) is the main reason behind unsuccessful norm transfer by the EP. The empirical evidence for testing these hypotheses comes from 30 semi-structured interviews with MEPs and content analysis of EP resolutions, minutes of interparliamentary meetings. By elucidating the reasons that affect the EP's role in diffusing EU norms, the paper sheds new light to recent discussion on the nature of EP actorhood in EU foreign policy and broader literature on socialization.

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