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Enlargement in Perspective: The EU's Quest for Identity


  • Helene Sjursen


The aim of this paper is to shed light on the identity problem of the European Union. In order to do so the EU’s justifications of past and present enlargements are investigated. What kind of understanding of the EU do decisions to enlarge speak to? Given that the EU is based on more than pragmatic problem-solving, the question is whether decisions to enlarge reflect a value-based or rather a rights-based polity. Although a certain sense of distinctiveness, certain elements of European particularities, are in evidence, the pull of universal principles has so far turned out to be stronger.

Suggested Citation

  • Helene Sjursen, 2008. "Enlargement in Perspective: The EU's Quest for Identity," ARENA Working Papers 5, ARENA.
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:arenax:p0251

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