This article provides an up-to-date overview of the problems connected with European integration. It focuses on the phenomenon of ‘enlargement fatigue’ and examines its meaning as utilised by the media, EU officials and academics. The article argues that ‘enlargement fatigue’ is not a new concept since the EU has witnessed many 'symptoms' of fatigue at multiple times in its history. The two main arguments that are often presented in order to explain why the EU has not been able to counter ‘enlargement fatigue’, namely the insufficiently tight conditionality applied to prospective members and the EU's crisis of confidence and accountability after the failed attempt to introduce the Constitutional Treaty and prolonged Lisbon Treaty ratification process, are insufficient to explain why fatigue has been so persistent a phenomenon. This article argues that the EU's failure to develop a new vision of the organisation and adjust its structural design accordingly is a reason why the Union has not dealt successfully with fatigue. Such a vision would encompass notions of “variable geometry”, “avant-garde groups” and make European borders flexible and fuzzy.
EU enlargement, â€˜Enlargement fatigueâ€™, European integration, Differentiated integration
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