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“Accommodation Beyond Self-Interest: Identity, Policy Paradigms, and the Limits of a Rationalist Approach to EU Policy Towards Central Europe”

Sedelmeier, Ulrich. (1999) “Accommodation Beyond Self-Interest: Identity, Policy Paradigms, and the Limits of a Rationalist Approach to EU Policy Towards Central Europe”. In: UNSPECIFIED, Pittsburgh, PA. (Unpublished)

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    The paper argues that rationalist approaches cannot fully account for the European Union’s policy towards the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEECs). EU policy accommodates the preferences of the CEECs to a greater extent than an account based on purely material interests on the part of the EU would expect. The paper argues that we need to take ideational factors into account to explain the outcome, namely the EU’s collective identity and sectoral policy paradigms. EU identity towards the CEECs includes the notion of “special responsibility” that prescribes purely self-interested behaviour by policy-makers acting on behalf of the EU, and prescribes a degree of accommodation of the CEECs’ preference in EU policy. This aspect of the EU’s collective identity becomes politically salient through the advocacy of policy options that are in line with this identity. In the case of the association policy, these policy advocates were primarily located inside the Commission, with a loose supportive coalition among the member state foreign ministries. However, to understand how much advocacy of an accommodation of the CEECs’ preferences affects policy across the various sub-areas of the association policy, we need to understand which factors mediate this policy impact. The paper argues that the policy paradigms that underpin EU policy in the various policy areas covered by the association policy are a crucial mediating factor, which can only be captured by a sociological institutionalist approach.

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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > External relations > EU-Central and Eastern Europe
    EU policies and themes > Treaty reform > enlargement
    Other > integration theory (see also researching and writing the EU in this section)
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 1999 (6th), June 2-5, 1999
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2006
    Page Range: p. 19
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:22

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