East of Amsterdam: The Implications of the Amsterdam Treaty for Eastern Enlargement

Ulrich Sedelmeier

in European Integration After Amsterdam

Published in print March 2000 | ISBN: 9780198296409
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599989 | DOI:
 East of Amsterdam: The Implications of the Amsterdam Treaty for Eastern Enlargement

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Despite the member states’ failure to agree in the Amsterdam Treaty on institutional reforms that they presented before the 1996/7 IGC as prerequisites for enlargement, we should not expect the enlargement process to come to a standstill. The inability to agree on necessary reforms does indeed highlight the EU's difficulties of finding a response to the various adjustment pressures that would not threaten some member states’ material interests. However, there are countervailing dynamics underpinning the enlargement process that appear sufficiently strong to continue to carry the process forward. These dynamics are not easily captured in materialist rationalist analyses: the EU's self‐image or collective identity in its relations with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEECs) inclines EU policy‐makers towards accommodating these countries’ preferences to join. However, the impact of this identity is uneven among different groups of EU policy‐makers. Thus, while we should expect the enlargement process to continue despite countervailing material interests, the accommodation of the CEECs’ preferences in substantive sectoral policies will vary and will be limited in most issue areas.

Keywords: adjustment; Amsterdam Treaty; Central Europe; Eastern Europe; enlargement; European Union; identity; intergovernmental conference; member states; policy‐makers

Chapter.  8877 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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