EU Enlargement in Ambiguous Times

Andreas Jørgensen, Peter Hoyle, Erik Cornelis Maria Koeken & Miriam Hinternesch

Studenteropgave: Fagmodulprojekt


In recent years, the EU has started to face an increasing amount of struggle and skepticism, both on internal and external levels, culminating in the UK’s decision to leave the Union altogether. Nonetheless, the Union sticks to its routine of advocating and initializing further enlargements (to the Western Balkans), seemingly unperturbed by the uncertainty surrounding it.
This project explores the possible reasons and motives behind this course of action of the EU, guided by two main hypotheses. The first suspects the EU’s enlargement towards the Western Balkans to be a move grounded in securitization, while the second argues that enlargement may showcase how the Union’s institutionalist nature has made it increasingly incapable of changing its path of action. Key theories used to establish a useful framework for the analyses are the Copenhagen School of Securitization and Historical Institutionalism.
Both hypotheses were tested through discursive analyses. For the securitization analysis, 40 speeches of politicians from the bodies of the EU, as well as from Germany, were analyzed in order to identify potential speech acts that show how actors frame enlargement as an urgent issue of security. With regards to the second hypothesis, 22 documents of the European Council were analyzed in order to uncover whether the EU has become unable to divert from its usual path over time.
While both analyses provided clear insights, they did not yield conclusive findings for either of the hypotheses, although historical institutionalism appears to have more explanatory power for the research question than securitization. Thus, the first hypothesis was falsified and the second hypothesis was corroborated to a slight extent. As this project is limited to merely two possible explanations, further research is needed to uncover other reasons for the continuation of EU enlargement in today’s ambiguous climate.

UddannelserInternationale Studier, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Bachelor
Udgivelsesdato17 dec. 2018
VejledereMichael Friederich Kluth