Chapter 5: The Impact of EU Enlargement on Private Law Governance in Central and Eastern Europe: The Case of Consumer Protection
Antonina Bakardjieva Engelbrekt1 1. INTRODUCTION The impact of European Union (EU) enlargement on law and institution-building in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) has attracted considerable political and academic attention during the last decade. The terms ‘external governance’ and ‘governance by conditionality’ coined by political scientists capture the gist of that debate (Schimmelfennig and Sedelmeier 2004; Grabbe 2006), for the Central and East European countries (CEECs)2 accession to the EU has been an unquestioned political priority ever since these states applied for membership of the Union. At the same time, the conditions for ‘joining the club’ set out by the EU have been numerous and demanding. Conditionality has thus determined the agenda of legal and institutional reform in CEE, effectively setting aside local preferences and priorities. Acknowledging conditionality as a major feature of the still ongoing eastward expansion of the Union and distinguishing it from previous enlargements, the discussion has focused on the present compliance with the Community acquis and speculating about its post-accession evolution (Schimmelfennig and Sedelmeier 2005). The perspective of such inquiries has been predominantly that of the EU and less so that of individual acceding states. What is remarkable is that the specific context of the simultaneous tran- 1 This research was supported by a Jean Monnet Fellowship at the EUI, Florence. Financial assistance from the STINT foundation is gratefully acknowledged. 2 By the Central and East European Countries I refer in this study to the ten countries that in 1997 embarked on accession negotiations with the...
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