Nicolaides, Phedon (2000) The Feira European Council and the Process of Enlargement of the European Union. EIPASCOPE, 2000 (3). pp. 1-5.
Although one of the main issues which is being discussed by the EU and the candidate countries is the request of the latter for a date for their accession to the Union, this article argues that, in a rather paradoxical way, the process of enlargement would be facilitated if the EU and the candidates were less concerned about the date itself and more keen to focus their efforts on identifying arrangements that would ensure that the benefits of enlargement are spread widely so that all Member States support the accession of new members. It is also argued in this article that there are other issues which can have a significant impact on the process of enlargement. The candidates should decide what they want fixed above all: the date of entry, the derogations they wish to have at the negotiations or the entry criteria? The analysis in this article suggests that they should aim for the latter because vague criteria have a much greater potential to stall the enlargement process on both sides. For its part, the EU should begin identifying the pre-commitments that can be made by the Member States now in order to smooth the process of enlargement later on. The Feira European Council, therefore, has served to reveal where the problem really lies in that process.
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