The Institutions of the Enlarged European Union
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The Institutions of the Enlarged European Union

Continuity and Change

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.
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Chapter 13: Conclusion

Thomas Christiansen, Edward Best and Pierpaolo Settembri


Thomas Christiansen, Edward Best and Pierpaolo Settembri At the outset of this book we observed that several studies had indicated that the impact of enlargement on the institutions of the EU was more limited than initial expectations had suggested. In the light of the detailed, empirical studies of the key institutions of the European Union we can talk with greater confidence about the remarkable continuity the institutional architecture of the EU has been demonstrating. Indeed, on the basis of the studies of individual institutions and governance mechanisms that this volume brings together, we are able to say that the – sometimes apocalyptic – pronunciations of a ‘break-down’, ‘blocage’ or ‘collapse’ of the enlarged EU have turned out to be wide of the mark. Instead, the overwhelming evidence that the contributors to this book have brought together points to a conclusion of a Union doing ‘business as usual’, albeit with some variation across different institutions. The accession of 12 new member states, even before the EU reformed itself through a revision of the treaties, was not the kind of critical juncture that would have forced difficult decisions about the functioning of its institutions. As Kenneth Dyson points out in Chapter 7, such a crisis may yet occur – and it may or may not be related to the Union’s enlarged membership – but at the beginning of 2008 there was no sign of it. Enlargement has done numerous things to the EU – caused certain difficulties in some respects, but also prompted...

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