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68 Program on Central and Eastern Europe

Vulnerabilities, Accession Hangovers and the Presidency Role: Explaining New EU Member States' Choices for Europe

2010 Timothy Haughton


What shapes a European Union member state's preferences and why do some states seem much more enthusiastic about further integration in some policy areas than others? This paper examines the factors which shape the preferences of three of the 2004 entrants: Slovakia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic. Based on a detailed study of government and party documents complemented by a series of 40 semi-structured interviews, I argue that whilst there is merit in many of the explanations used to explain national preference formation in the longer-established member states, the key to preference formation lies in vulnerabilities and perceived weakness.