EU Enlargement: Lessons from, and Prospects for

3 / 2013
Emmanuel Dalle Mulle
Gerben Wedekind
Inge Depoorter
Thomas Sattich
Tomas Maltby


In 2009 the European Union (EU) reached a crucial moment in its history, in which the terms Europe and crisis became conjoined: the European sovereign-debt crisis, or Euro-crisis. Yet enlargement remains on the agenda, with the EU’s next enlargement starting on 1st July 2013 with the accession of Croatia, Iceland and FYROM looking set to follow in the near future, and probably other Western Balkan states and possibly Turkey in the long term. Enlargement therefore will soon come back into focus. Focusing on climate and energy security policy, this working paper first reflects upon the impact of the 2004/2007 enlargement on the EU. A reflection on the EU’s recent past with some of the lessons that can be learnt then follows, with a consideration that predictions of decision- and policy-making gridlock were not realised, that newer member states have proved influential, and that prospective member states cannot be expected to be passive nor impotent. The latter part of this paper evaluates the potential prospects and outcomes of these lessons with regard to future enlargement from within (Scotland and Catalonia), and without (Turkey), and the political factors which may dictate whether these possible enlargements are realised.

About the Authors

Emmanuel Dalle Mulle is a PhD candidate and Teaching Assistant in International History and Politics, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva. He is working on a thesis entitled "Nationalism of the Rich: Discourses and Strategies of Separatist Parties in Padania, Catalonia, Scotland and Flanders".

Gerben Wedekind is an expert in EU-enlargement and EU-Turkey affairs. He is currently researching the integration of interest groups from EU Candidate States in EU governance structures as part of his PhD at Ghent University. Moreover, he is a full-time EU Advisor for the Brussels' office of Turkey's major research and business organisations (TuR&Bo).

Inge Depoorter obtained a Master degree in Political Science, Vrije Universiteit Brussel in 2007 (cum laude) and a Master degree in 'Comparative and International Politics (European Politics)', Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in 2008. Currently, she is writing a PhD thesis on the impact of the EU enlargement on the EU decision-making process.

Thomas Sattich is Associate Researcher at the Institute for European Studies, Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Visiting Researcher at the Brussels office of the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP), German Institute for International and Security Affairs. He is writing a PhD thesis on the impact of the EU's Eastern enlargement on European climate and energy politics.

Tomas Maltby is a PhD candidate in the Politics department at the University of Manchester, and a former Visiting Researcher at IES. His research focuses on energy policy, EU enlargement and EU agenda-setting.