The MAXCAP Working Paper No. 5 “The Effects of the Eastern Enlargement on the Decision-Making Capacity of the European Union” by Dimiter Toshkov has been published. You can download the Working Paper here.
The paper investigates the impact of the Eastern enlargement on the decision-making capacity of the European Union. On the basis of new data on the number and types of legal acts produced by the EU (1994-2014) and on the time between the proposal and adoption of legislative acts (1994-2012), the paper argues that enlargement has had a rather limited impact on legislative production and duration, and that it is extremely hard to disentangle this impact from other contemporaneous institutional and socio-economic developments. On the basis of analyses of expert-based country positions in EU negotiations and on voting data from the Council of Ministers of the EU, it is argued that enlargement has possibly added a new dimension of contestation in EU legislative decision-making, but one that concerns a relatively small share of all negotiations in few policy fields like environment. The paper also reviews secondary sources on the more visible influence of enlargement on the modes and culture of EU decision-making and its effects on the organizational aspects of the main EU institutions. Additionally, the paper presents a detailed qualitative overview of the major challenges and responses the EU has had in the period 2004-2013, but finds little indications that the accession of the post-communist countries has left a direct and significant imprint on the major developments that shaped the course of European integration since 2004. All in all, there is no evidence that the Eastern enlargement has led to the institutional gridlock, loss of problem-solving capacity and inability to manage that the public, many politicians as well as some academics have feared.
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