DB Research: Enlargement after Gothenburg – false sense of security

Deutsche Bank Research: no binding commitments to enlargement target dates

The analysis, entitled “Enlargement after Gothenburg – false sense of security”, estimates that a commitment to close all the negotiation chapters by the end of 2002 is “a very ambitious target”, considering that the chapters on agricultural and structural policy are to be negotiated only after the German and French elections in summer 2002.

“And finally, even timely completion of the negotiations does not necessarily mean the candidate countries will be able to participate in the European Parliament elections as members, because the ratification process can take a long time,” says Deutsche Bank Research.

The commentary analyses the Irish rejection of the Nice Treaty, which shook the foundations of the enlargement process. It emphasises several issues:

  • Smaller countries are annoyed at losing influence as a result of new decision-making structures in connection with enlargement.
  • It also reflects the scepticism regarding the future direction of the EU, which is widespread in the member countries.
  • Large sections of the EU population see an enlarged union as a diffuse entity with which they cannot identify. Hence, support for enlargement is not particularly strong in the individual member states.
  • Not only in Ireland is the enlargement project associated more closely with the fight for funding, production quotas and voting rights than with the political and economic benefits for Europe and closer European integration.

Deutsche Bank Research concludes that “a lot of communicating and convincing should have been done, and the failure to do so is now weighing on the enlargement process”. It calls on politicians to participate in “a much broader discussion on the new structures and goals of a larger union” in order not to endanger the progress of the enlargement process.


The Gothenburg Summit has given a clear sign for the process of EU enlargement, but the commitment to an accession date is not binding, says Deutsche Bank Research in its comment on the enlargement process, published on 25 June.


EU leaders declared at the Gothenburg Summit on 15-16 June: "The enlargement process is irreversible. Based on the progress achieved so far, the European Council reaffirms the road map as the framework for the successful completion of the enlargement negotiations. Provided that progress towards meeting the accession criteria continues at an unabated pace, the road map should make it possible to complete negotiations by the end of 2002 for those candidate countries that are ready. The objective is that they should participate in the European Parliament elections of 2004 as members."


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