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Open-ended membership prospect and commitment credibility: Explaining the deadlock in EU–Turkey accession negotiations

By Mehmet Ugur


After the enlargement of 2004, the European Union (EU) has introduced an open-ended framework for accession negotiations. Although the ultimate aim is still to ensure the integration of candidate countries, the timing and modality of membership is not guaranteed in advance. This article utilizes a political economy model to demonstrate that open-ended accession negotiations would lead to suboptimal outcomes in the form of inadequate convergence reforms undertaken in the candidate country and poor membership prospect offered by the EU. This analytical finding is compatible with and can be useful in understanding the dynamics of deteriorating reform output in Turkey and weakening EU commitment to Turkish membership since the start of the open-ended accession negotiations process in 2005. Two necessary conditions must be satisfied to overcome such adverse outcomes in the enlargement process: (i) the EU and the accession country must renew their commitments to reform and integration through a new political bargain; and (ii) they should follow this bargain with periodic summits for co-ordinating their commitments in the face of shocks to, or emerging deadlocks in, the process of open-ended accession negotiations

Topics: DR, JN
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Year: 2010
DOI identifier: 10.1111/j.1468-5965.2010.02082.x
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