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How Much Diversity Can the European Union Withstand? Jean Monnet/Robert Schuman Paper Series Vol. 5 No. 30, August 2005

Krok-Paszkowska, Ania. (2005) How Much Diversity Can the European Union Withstand? Jean Monnet/Robert Schuman Paper Series Vol. 5 No. 30, August 2005. [Working Paper]

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    [Introduction]. The most recent, fifth enlargement bringing in ten new member states has been the largest and most challenging so far. It has led to an unprecedented import of political, economic and cultural diversity into the EU. Enlargement is the result of a long and complex accession process, during which the candidate states strove to meet the membership criteria while the Union aimed to improve its ability to absorb the new members. Despite this process of mutual adaptation, there is a lingering fear that the “new” members are not yet truly compatible with “old” members. But it is not only the import of diversity that is worrying some of the founding members of the EU. The depth and scope of the latest enlargement is likely to change the very nature of Europe and European integration. There has been growing skepticism within the Union about the ability of its institutions to cope with the challenges of such a large and increasingly diversified entity. It has been argued that a 25-member Union is likely to resemble a multi-functional, multi-layered, and highly diversified empire rather than a classical Westphalian state with clear borders, coherent institutional structure, and a single foreign policy (Zielonka 2001). For the time being though, there has been no radical rethinking of the institutions and structures of the Union. However, a Constitution for Europe has been drawn up which attempts to address some of the challenges facing European governance. Although its provisions are hardly revolutionary, it does provide a single text to replace all the complex existing treaties and it has more clearly defined the areas of Union competences. (1) This paper will analyze the most recent enlargement in terms of the welfare gaps between “old” and “new” member states, differences in democracy and political culture, as well as foreign policy and attitudes to the United States and Russia. It will then consider how this is likely to affect the functioning of EU institutions and structures. It will argue that to cope with such diversity, there needs to be a culture of accommodation and compromise and a degree of trust in European institutions. Are the new members, given their recent history, ready to act in this way? And are the old members ready to accept the changes an enlarged EU will inevitably bring with it?

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    Item Type: Working Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > External relations > EU-US
    Countries > Russia
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs > democracy/democratic deficit
    EU policies and themes > External relations > common foreign & security policy 1993--European Global Strategy
    EU policies and themes > EU institutions & developments > institutional development/policy > general
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > social policy > welfare state
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > University of Miami, Florida-EU Center of Excellence > Jean Monnet/Robert Schuman Paper Series
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2008
    Page Range: p. 19
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:52

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