The process of enlargement has transformed the European Union. It has had far-reaching im-plications for the shape and definition of Europe, and for the institutional set-up and the ma-jor policies of the Union. This has been accomplished through a number of enlargement rounds, which the first section of the chapter analyses in detail. This is followed by a review of the enlargement process itself, with a focus on the use of conditionality and the role of the main actors involved. The contributions of neo-functionalism, liberal intergovernmental-ism, and social constructivism to explaining the EU’s geographical expansion are evaluated in the third section of the chapter. The success and prospect of future enlargement are dis-cussed in the context of wider EU developments, especially the effect of the financial crisis in the euro area, ‘enlargement fatigue’, the domestic context in the candidate countries and evolving relations with Russia.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEuropean Union Politics
EditorsMichelle Cini, Nieves Perez-Solorzano Borragan
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages241
ISBN (Print)9780198708933
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • European Union


Dive into the research topics of 'Enlargement'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this