Enlargement and the European Union’s Absorption Capacity: ‘oft-forgotten’ condition or additional obstacle to membership?

David Phinnemore

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    The Austrian government may have failed in its efforts in 2005 to have ‘privileged partnership' inserted into the European Union's framework for accession negotiations with Turkey, but this did not prevent the country's Chancellor, Wolfgang Schussel, from claiming that ‘for the first time ever, we have set an extra condition which will yet be very important in the future for Europe, namely the ability of the Union to take in new members'. Indeed, since its inclusion in the framework for negotiations, the EU's ‘capacity to absorb' new members is referred to as a new criterion for further enlargement of the European Union (EU). When opponents of Turkey 's membership, like Schussel, celebrate the emphasis on the EU's ‘absorption capacity', Turks generally regard it as specially-designed extra obstacle to their membership aspirations even if the EU's ‘absorption capacity' is a permanent agenda item whenever the EU discusses enlargement. This article explores the origins of this – supposedly new – condition and argues that the increased emphasis on the EU's ‘absorption capacity' can be explained by the shifts in the dynamics of EU enlargement.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)37-43
    Number of pages7
    JournalInsight Turkey
    Volume8 (3)
    Publication statusPublished - 2006

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