Best, Edward, and Settembri, Pierpaolo. (2007) "Surviving enlargement: How has the Council managed?". In: UNSPECIFIED, Montreal, Canada. (Unpublished)
Three years after the 2004 enlargement of the European Union, the paper asks what has changed in how the Council does business, and what significance enlargement may have had. It assesses how the Council has 'survived' the doubling of membership, and whether this survival has been accompanied by qualitative changes in the nature of Council work. The paper relies on original quantitative evidence and qualitative insights from interviews and case studies. The findings suggest that the Council has successfully assimilated the new members in its decision-making dynamics and has adapted its internal working methods to the new conditions. Yet some qualitative changes can be detected in the process, with the Council becoming more 'bureaucratised', as well as in the output, with legislation decreasing in importance and changing in substance. The role of enlargement as an explanatory factor for these changes remians nevertheless, problematic to pin down: there are many other sources of change in EU politics and processes; and there are very rarely coalitions of 'new' versus 'old' Member States, acceding countries generally joined issue-based coalitions in which larger Members States continue to play the leading role. The continuing dynamics of change appear to be more important in inter-institutional relations than inside the Council itself.
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