The Institutions of the Enlarged European Union

The Institutions of the Enlarged European Union

Continuity and Change

Studies in EU Reform and Enlargement series

Edited by Edward Best, Thomas Christiansen and Pierpaolo Settembri

How have the main institutions and decision-making processes of the EU responded to the arrival of new member states? This book assesses the actual state of the EU institutions in the years after the 2004 enlargement, examining each of the main institutional actors as well as trends in legislative output, implementing measures and non-legislative approaches. The contributors outline the key changes as well as patterns of continuity in the institutional politics of the EU.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Edward Best, Pierpaolo Settembri and Thomas Christiansen

Subjects: politics and public policy, european politics and policy, public policy


Edward Best, Pierpaolo Settembri and Thomas Christiansen The ‘big bang’ enlargement of the European Union (EU) in 2004, with two further member states joining in 2007, had been long anticipated and there had been many concerns about the possible impact that this would have on the EU. At least three intergovernmental conferences had been convened to prepare the Union for it, resulting in the Amsterdam Treaty, the Nice Treaty and the abortive Constitutional Treaty. And yet, when the new members joined on 1 May 2004, there was still a sense that the institutional structure of the EU was ill equipped to deal with the much larger numbers of players and the more diverse range of interests. As the months and years after May 2004 passed, the big debate about the possible impact of enlargement was overshadowed by the larger ‘constitutional crisis’ of the Union after the non-ratification of the Constitutional Treaty, and the debates about renegotiation of the treaty and a refocusing of the Union on achieving ‘results’. However, enlargement was not just a moment in time, but a process that brought in a permanently increased membership of the Union, and thus the question of what impact this may have (had) on the EU remains. It is against this background that, in the context of a collaborative research network, the contributors to this volume set themselves the task to investigate empirically and systematically the precise nature of any changes related to the enlargement process that can be observed in...