Why Expand? The question of justification in the EU's enlargement policy

This paper discusses the driving forces behind EU enlargement; by studying the argumentation applied to justify enlargement, it is found that ethical-political arguments served as particularly important mobilisers.

ARENA Working Paper 06/2001 (html)

Helene Sjursen

This paper discusses the question of why the European Union (EU) enlarges and why it makes certain priorities amongst applicants in the enlargement process. The working hypothesis for the analysis is that a sense of "kinship-based duty" is particularly important in the EU's enlargement policy. In order to substantiate this hypothesis the paper looks at the different arguments and reasons that might have functioned as mobilisers for enlargement. This approach is developed on the basis of Weber's assertion of the importance of legitimacy and Habermas' theory of communicative action. An analytical distinction is made between three different types of arguments and reasons: pragmatic, ethical-political and moral arguments. The paper finds that ethical-political arguments, which testify to a sense of kinship-based duty, are particularly important in mobilising for enlargement towards Central and Eastern Europe and thus also central to an appreciation of the priorities made in the EU's enlargement policy.

The article is later printed in Journal of Common Market Studies, Vol. 40, No. 3, 2002

Tags: enlargement, legitimacy, public opinion
Published Nov. 9, 2010 10:52 AM - Last modified Apr. 21, 2016 9:02 PM