The political economy of EU enlargement and the Treaty of Nice
The paper applies standard public choice reasoning to the negotiations on EU enlargement and the Treaty of Nice. The starting point is the assumption that accession can only be successfully completed if the interests of decisive actors in present EU countries are respected. Decisive actors in the West are the members of the European Parliament, individuals in national governments and in the Commission. Personal costs and benefits of these individuals are analysed with respect to enlargement. Furthermore, the basic strategic issues of the negotiations are depicted that arise from the different pre-entry and post-entry position of new members. The Intergovernmental Conference is reinterpreted as an opportunity of EU-15 actors to protect their personal interests in an enlarged Community. The relative attractiveness of the 13 official candidate countries is assessed on the basis of some indicators that emerge as important from the political-economic approach. The paper concludes by giving some cautious forecasts about likely outcomes of both the Treaty of Nice and the accession bargaining.
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