Gitta Glüpker


EU candidate countries must prove their respect for democracy and the rule of law to be eligible for EU membership. The Commission administers their accession processes following the principle of conditionality. This paper examines how domestic conditions and different aspects of the conditionality principle affect policy outcomes. It reviews the arguments made in the literature on EU conditionality and applies them to the policy areas of minority rights and the fight against corruption in Croatia and Macedonia. Both countries have been subjected to the Commission’s conditionality while their democratic achievements differ substantially. Thereby, the two countries offer a fruitful ground to evaluate the lessons drawn from the 2004-07 enlargement. While previous studies have remained quite unclear about the relative importance of domestic and EU-related determinants of effective conditionality, I argue that domestic influences vary strongly across the researched policy areas. In comparison, the political-legal instruments of the Commission show clear impacts on policies in candidate countries. Material incentives offered by the EU are only effective within the early phases of the accession process.


Article Keywords

EU enlargement, conditonality, minority rights, corruption

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