Gagnere, Nathalie. (1997) "The European Union and the question of Slovak membership: Vanishing dream or forthcoming reality?". In: UNSPECIFIED, Seattle, WA. (Unpublished)
Since the collapse of communism, the European Union has represented a powerful and attractive magnet for Eastern European societies. Hoping for a "return to Europe," these various countries have expressed a strong desire to join the European Union (EU). Beyond the internal debate fueled by these demands concerning the wisdom of deepening or enlarging the EU, member states could not reaffirm the procedure previously followed with countries such as Greece, Spain, and Portugal. While indicating that membership could not, and cannot take place without the completion of certain economic and political requirements, the European Union thus established external constraints on the democratic transition undertaken by Eastern European Countries. In order to satisfy these EU requirements all prospective East Central European candidates are striving to consolidate their emerging democratic institutions and to establish a solid record with regard to the defense of fundamental human rights. Although the Visegrad countries (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland) are expected to become the first states to join the European Union, this goal may not be achieved for every one of them. Despite good economic results, the Slovak candidacy indeed is losing support, as the current government exhibits signs of authoritarianism. Because Slovakia may be the only country of the Visegrad group to be left out of a future EU enlargement, and because Slovakia has been quite too often neglected by the literature on democratic transition, this paper analyzes why the external constraints exerted by the EU have been less effective in the Slovak case. In other words, this research paper will examine why national constraints have undermined the power of attraction of the European Union, and what are the reasons for the democratic shortcomings of the Slovak political system. Finally, this paper will assess the prospect for full Slovak membership.
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