Conceptualizing the EU’s Enlargement Policy: Motivations, Conditions and Instruments for the EU’s Enlargement Policy
Introduction For the purpose of this study, clarifying the difference between the term of inclusion in ‘the EU’s enlargement policy process’ and the term of inclusion in ‘the process of accession negotiations’ is important. The inclusion in the enlargement process refers to a strategy that might lead to the stage of the accession negotiations process through meeting the criteria for accession. The term of the EU’s enlargement policy process refers to a strategy, designed to prepare the applicants for a later accession negotiations process through an appropriate strategy with accession credibility, providing a considerable degree of influence and financial and institutional support during the transformation process in the applicant countries. However, inclusion in the enlargement policy process does not necessarily mean that the included applicant will automatically proceed to the stage of the accession negotiation process. The inclusion of candidate countries in the accession negotiation process depends upon a number of variables, including the process of the applicant towards meeting the accession criteria and capacity of the EU to enlarge. This implies that an inclusion in the enlargement process does not involve the same considerable costs/risks for the EU in respect of the included candidate as the accession process does.