The European Union’s enlargement policy has been one of its most successful foreign policy tools in facilitating changes among candidate states. Recent developments within the EU and globally cast doubt on the policy’s future effectiveness. Turkey and the Western Balkans will be discussed as case studies in point.
Although the European Union’s enlargement policy has successfully affected change in candidate states in the past. Developments since 2011 are casting doubt on the EU's future effectiveness in rallying candidate states around promoting costly reforms internally. The success of the EU to promote its enlargement policy among candidate states has been tied to its credibility and the appearance of a consensus about the accession process among its members. The economic crisis and a changing geopolitical environment has resulted in discord within the EU and as a result its stature as a credible negotiating partner has diminished the more candidate states are confronted with conflicting messages from EU member states. Internally, candidate states are facing challenges in adapting to the scope conditions laid out by the EU for membership. This presentation will examine the interplay between the EU’s credibility and the domestic economic and political conditions in the candidates that shapes the effectiveness of the EU enlargement policy.