Jensen, Christian. (2007) Double Standards and Backsliding: The Double Edged Sword of Supermajoritarian Voting in the EU. In: UNSPECIFIED, Montreal, Canada. (Unpublished)
[From the introduction]. If the demands of membership are high and the capacity of the new member states to meet those demands is low, why is the EU expanding so rapidly? Several factors contribute to this observation. This article focuses on the one set of institutional features that lead initially high demands that diminish over time. I argue that because of the varying effects of supermajoritarian voting requirements in combination with different agenda setters the demands of joining are high but that the demands of staying in are lower. Furthermore, as the EU expands the difference between initial demands for joining and long-term demands of membership will not diminish and will probably increase. That is there is a built in double standard with candidate members held to very high standards and existing member states allowed to backslide. Using a series of simple spatial models, I show that increasing the number of member states will not only increase the size of the core1 but can also shift it in the direction of the new member states.2 Furthermore, I model the enforcement mechanism for the human rights standards set forth in Article 6(1) of the Treaty. This enforcement mechanism depends on a unanimous vote in favor of sanctioning a member state. From these models, I derive a number of implications. In particular, I argue that the possibility of member states to undo reforms they had to implement to join the EU, that is “backslide,” does not decrease and will likely increase with expansion. New member states’ ability to backslide is greatest when there are other members states with similar incentives to undo reforms on that dimension. A new member state’s ability to backslide is at its lowest when the new member state is an outlier relative to the rest of the members. Finally, the possibility for backsliding is greater with regard to Article 6(1) than for the regulatory policies encompassed in the Aquis.
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