IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Those Who Knock on Europe's Door Must Repent? Bilateral Border Disputes and EU Enlargement


  • Andrew Geddes and Andrew Taylor


This paper explores a neglected aspect of the wider debate about EU enlargement; namely bilateral disputes between a Member State and an applicant, where the former uses, or threatens to use, its membership to block membership to resolve a dispute. As we show through analysis of three cases - Italy and Slovenia, Slovenia and Croatia, and Greece and Macedonia - the EU's transformative power does not always flow 'outwards' towards the state seeking membership. This raises interesting questions about enlargement asinternational bargaining between sovereign states filtered via a supranational entity formally responsible for the negotiations. Our cases suggest limits to the EU's transformative power in the context of disputes that are linked to the meaning and significance of borders. When enlargement intersects with identity politics, the result can be potentially destabilizing in ways that can lead to a decline in the EU's legitimacy. It is not surprising that the Commission prefers disputes to be resolved bilaterally or via a third-party. The author Andrew Geddes is Professor of Politics at the University of Sheffield. He has written extensively on aspects of British, European and EU politics, with a particularfocus on the politics of migration. Recent publications include Migration and Mobility in the EU (with Christina Boswell) and The EU and South East Europe: The Dynamics of Multi-Level Governance and Europeanisation (with AndrewTaylor and Charles Lees). He was a Visiting Fellow at the Kolleg-Forschergruppe "The Transformative Power of Europe" in June/July 2012. From February 2013,he will be lead investigator for a 5-year European Research Council 'advanced'project on international migration governance. Contact: Taylor is Professor of Politics at the University of Sheffield. He was principal investigator on the ESRC funded project on the development of multi-level governance in South East Europe. In recent years his work has focused on the Europeanization of the Western Balkans and the nature of state effectiveness; his most recent bookis State Failure (Palgrave Macmillan) and he is beginning a research project on the EU's role in state-building in Western Balkans. He is also working on the politics of bordering in the United Kingdom. Contact:

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Geddes and Andrew Taylor, 2013. "Those Who Knock on Europe's Door Must Repent? Bilateral Border Disputes and EU Enlargement," KFG Working Papers p0054, Free University Berlin.
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:kfgxxx:p0054

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ruggie, John Gerard, 1993. "Territoriality and beyond: problematizing modernity in international relations," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(01), pages 139-174, December.
    2. Vachudova, Milada Anna, 2005. "Europe Undivided: Democracy, Leverage, and Integration After Communism," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199241194.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Ana E. Juncos & Richard G. Whitman, 2015. "Europe as a Regional Actor: Neighbourhood Lost?," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53, pages 200-215, September.

    More about this item


    enlargement; identity; supranationalism; legitimacy;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:erp:kfgxxx:p0054. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sasan ABDI). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.