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Proceeding of the International Conference on the


Decemcer 15 , 2005

YTU Auditorium / Yildiz Campus
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Joint Conference Series No.4
Foundation for Middle East and Balkan Studies (OBIV)
Y.T.U Department of Political Science and International Relations
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Foundation for Middle East and Balkan Studies (OBIV)
Dr. Ozan ERÖZDEN, Proceedings of the International Conference on the EU
Enlargement towards South-East Europe, December 15 th, Istanbul.
Istanbul: OBIV, 2005
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Yildiz Technical University
Department of Political Science and International Relations


December 15th, 2005

YTU Auditorium / Yildiz Campus
Yildiz - Besiktas
December 15 th, 2005
Welcome Addresses and Opening Remarks

Prof. Dr. Fulya ATACAN
(Head of DPSIR / YTU)

Ambassador Güner ÖZTEK
(Chairman of OBIV)

Prof.Dr. Haldun GÜLALP

11.15-11.30 Coffee Break
Dr. Cengiz ARIN

15.30-15.45 Coffee Break

Prof.Dr. Haldun GÜLALP

South-East Europe’s Integration to Europe as a Problem of Physics:
Newton Mechanics vs. Quantum Mechanices

Romania’s Road to EU-Integration: Accession in 2007?
Dr. Anneli Ute GABANYI
(German Institute for International and Security Affairs)

Being the Model Balkan Student? Exporting the EU to Bulgaria
(Lougborough University)

EU’s step child:
Turkey as candidate country; Examples of double standards
Prof.Dr. Cengiz AKTAR
(Bahçesehir University)

Dr. Cengiz ARIN

Crotia’s long journey back to Europe, Challenges on the way to EU membership
Dr.Martin MAYER
(Advisor to the Commission Delegation Zagreb)

Challenges and Perspectives of Serbia and Montenegro in the
Accession to the European Union
(Belgrade University)

Constitutional Change and Resistance in EU Accession Process of Turkey
Assoc.Prof.Dr. Bertil Emrah ÖDER
(University of Istanbul)

The Republic Of Macedonia’s
Way to The EU
Prof. Biljana GABER
(Ph.D.University St. Cyril and Methodius Skopje, R. Macedonia)

Perceptions of “Europe” in the Czech Republic and Albania:
A Comparative Look at Intellectual Discourse
(Albanian Institute for International Studies)

(DPSIR / YTU)...........................................................................................................
Dr. Anneli Ute GABANYI,
(German Institute for International and Security Affairs)..........................................
Dr.Emilian KAVALSKI,
(Lougborough University)...........................................................................................
Prof.Dr. Cengiz AKTAR,
(Bahçesehir University) ..............................................................................................
Dr.Martin MAYER,
(Advisor to the Commission Delegation Zagreb)........................................................
Prof.Dr. Jovan TEOKAREVIC,
(Belgrade University).................................................................................................
Assoc.Prof.Dr. Bertil Emrah ÖDER,
(University of Istanbul) ..............................................................................................
Prof.Biljana GABER,
(Ph.D.University St. Cyril and Methodius Skopje, R. Macedonias)............................
(Albanian Institute for International Studies)...............................................................
CONTRIBUTORS ................................................................................................................12

WELCOMING REMARKS, ..................................................................................................15

Prof. Dr. Fulya ATACAN...........................................................................................................

OPENING REMARKS, ........................................................................................................17

Güner ÖZTEK.......................................................................................................................


MECHANICS VS. NEWTONIAN MECHANICS, ..................................................................21

Dr.Ozan ERÖZDEN ..................................................................................................................


EU MILK?, ............................................................................................................................ 29

Dr. Anneli Ute GABANYI...........................................................................................................


Dr.Emilian KAVALSKI..........................................................................................................


ÉVALUATION TECHNIQUE OU VOLONTÉ POLITIQUE?,............................................... 53

Prof.Dr.Cengiz AKTAR..............................................................................................................


MEMBERSHIP, .................................................................................................................... 61

Dr.Martin MAYER......................................................................................................................


RAPPROCHEMENT FROM 2005 SUSTAINABLE?, .............................................................71

Jovan TEOKAREVIC..........................................................................................................


UNION ACCESSION PROCESS, ....................................................................................................89

Assoc.Prof.Dr. Bertil Emrah ÖDER ......................................................................... ....

THE REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA’S WAY TO THE EU, ........................................................103

Prof.Biljana GABER.......................................................................................................


COMMITMENT TO THE EUROPEAN IDEA, ....................................................................109

Eno TRIMÇEV ..........................................................................................................................
December 15th, 2005 Ýstanbul


Prof. Dr. Fulya ATACAN*

Ladies and Gentlemen, distinguished guests:

It gives me great pleasure to be with you today to open the Conference on EU
Enlargement towards South-East Europe. This Conference is the tangible outcome
of an initiative taken jointly by the Department of Political Science & International
Relations and the Foundation of Middle East and Balkan Studies. Dr. Ozan Erözden
worked very hard with Ambassador Güner Öztek to ensure that the initiative took

I am delighted to see all participants here and thank you for accepting our invi-

On this occasion I would like to thank those from the Department who organized
this Conference. My gratitude goes to Dr. Erözden, Research Assistants Ayþe Kollu
and Yetkin Baþkavak from the Department and to Ambassador Öztek and his staff
from OBÝV for their efficiency.
* Prof Dr. Fulya ATACAN, YTU / DPSIR

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 15

The EU has successfully grown from six to 25 members. Bulgaria and Romania
are expected to join in 2007 and Croatia will probably gain membership between
2008 and 2010. 2015-2020 is the projected time for Turkey's full membership. As
you know Turkey's EU membership has become a matter of major significance and
considerable controversy in recent years.

It is clear that the EU has tended to enlarge along regional lines adding groups of
nearby nations. The EU is presently very interested in the integration of the Balkan
states, namely Bosnia Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, Macedonia and
Albania. However France and the United Kingdom have shifted their positions
regarding these states. I am sure we will have an opportunity to discuss these mat-
ters in detail.

I hope that this will be an informative, inspiring and fruitful meeting for all those
who participate.

Allow me to wish you every success in the Conference.

Thank you.
Prof. Dr. Fulya Atacan

* *

16 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe
December 15th, 2005 Istanbul


Güner ÖZTEK*

Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Participants, Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is a pleasure for me to welcome you all to the Conference on ‘EU Enlargement
towards South-East Europe,’ which is jointly organized by the Foundation for
Middle-East and Balkan Studies and Yildiz Technical University. We will discuss
different aspects of the enlargement process throughout the day.

With the fall of the Berlin Wall, a new political geography of Europe has
emerged. The Iron Curtain’s artificial division of Europe ceased to exist and the
classical geographical terms ‘Western’, ‘Central’ and ‘Eastern’ Europe have resur-
faced. Within this context, the Balkans, which has played a significant role in
European and World history, has become an integral part of Europe. The political
center of gravity has begun to shift from Western Europe to Central and Eastern

*Ambasador (Rtd.), Director of Foundation for Middle East and Balkan Studies - OBÝV

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 17


The end of the Cold War had an important impact on the Balkans and on
Southeastern Europe. The countries involved were faced with important problems
such as the transition from totalitarian regimes to democracy and from centralized,
state-ruled economies to free market economies with vast freedom and opportuni-
ties. However, due to a lack of democratic and political traditions, backgrounds and
proper infrastructure, these vast freedoms, particularly in the West Balkans,
inflamed national feelings and awakened old enmities leading to bloody clashes and
serious separatism.

Aggressive nationalistic raids beyond borders not only caused partition within
countries and the region, but they reached the dimension of ethnic cleansing. Ethnic
clashes resulted in the collapse of already fragile and weak economies based on out-
dated technologies. These economic difficulties forced masses to immigrate.
Presently, in most parts of the Balkan region, especially in the South-East Balkans,
security is almost assured.

The entire area faced an important challenge: the modernization and reorganiza-
tion of the state. What we are witnessing today is all the countries of the region try-
ing to complete transition of their political, social and economic structures in order
to build a democratic political system and a free market economy in multiethnic and
multicultural states. To develop a culture of region-wide reconciliation, good neigh-
borhood relations and close cooperation in all fields is a pre-condition for peace and
stability; there is no alternative.

The level of individual well-being and prosperity in the Balkan nations has a
direct impact on the security and stability of the region. In turn, as the region is an
important element in the overall security of the continent, stability and security in
Europe as a whole cannot be achieved and sustained if this part of the continent is
dragged into economic and social turmoil.

18 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

The enlargement process towards the South-East Balkans is a new, historic step
of great importance and is an encouragement to carry out the necessary political,
social and economic reforms to promote democracy, the rule of law, and to create a
zone of lasting peace, stability, prosperity and freedom. There is no doubt that the
more integrated Europe is the more effective and better equipped it becomes to over-
come conflicts. Thus the enlargement process is a two-way street beneficial to both
parties. However, the key element of success lies in the determination of the region’s
countries to complete their programs of reforms and to meticulously commit them-
selves to respect for human rights and the protection of minorities.

It is high time for the Euro-Atlantic and European institutions to embrace the
region with a vision of projecting lasting peace, stability and prosperity and, at the
same time, to cultivate the diverse historical heritages as constitutive elements of
European culture and civilization. This will speed the process of democratization
and reform for the establishment of basic universal standards of human and minor-
ity rights in cultural, educational, linguistic and other fields.

For the first time in history, the Balkans, with its eastern and western regions, are
willingly getting together around Europe and Euro-Atlantic organizations with the
purpose of achieving more democracy, peace and stability. It is a chance not to be
missed for both parties.

The time is right for the word ‘Balkans’ to be freed from its negative connota-
tions and to come to stand for such positive things as ‘mutual respect’ and ‘peace-
ful cohabitation’. The various peoples of the region should spare no effort to avoid
the falling again into balkanization.

I am certain that this day in Istanbul will bring forth fruitful discussions and will
help us all to understand better the EU Enlargement towards South-East Europe and
its consequences.

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 19

With these thoughts in mind, I wish you all every success in your deliberations.

Thank you for your attention.

* *

20 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe
December 15th, 2005 Istanbul



Dear Participants,

In this, the first presentation of the conference, ‘EU Enlargement towards the
Balkans’, my main aim is to draw a conceptual framework concerning the issues
that my colleagues in two of today’s consecutive panels will discuss in detail. While
doing so, I intend to take a multidisciplinary stance. As you know, political science
is a scientific branch that welcomes a multidisciplinary approach. In my presenta-
tion, I will test the limits of this multidisciplinary tolerance by drawing on one of the
basic scientific branches, physics. You, the participants, are the ones who will assess
my success or failure at this.

As you might already know, in physics the main principles of dynamics for large

* Department of Political Science & International Relations, Yildiz Technical University, Istanbul

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 21

objects, such as planets, and for atomic and sub-atomic particles differ from each
other. Within the terminology of political science, we can consider these two
domains as different entities governed by different legal systems. Big objects, in
their movements, obey Newton’s laws of motion and laws of universal gravitation,
while sub-atomic particles are governed by the laws of quantum physics. In princi-
ple, by applying Newton’s laws, one gets precise results, meaning that as long as one
has enough data, one can precisely determine or calculate the current and future
position of an object. Quantum physics, on the other hand, is ruled by uncertainty.
Called the Uncertainty Principle, this notion means that the position and the veloc-
ity of an object cannot be simultaneously measured exactly, even in theory.
According to this principle, the very concepts of precise position and precise veloc-
ity together have no meaning in nature. Instead, only a series of probabilities may
indicate the possible results of an interaction between atomic and subatomic parti-
cles. Such a scientific concept, which requires uncertainty, is extremely strange for
minds shaped by the idea that science, especially applied sciences, brings exact
results. Hence, even the founder of Relativity Theory, Albert Einstein, furiously
objected to the uncertainty principle with the assertion that “God does not play dice
with the universe.”

So you do not think you mistakenly came to a conference on theoretical physics,
I will end my deliberations on Newtonian mechanics and quantum physics and I will
talk on the current relationship between the Balkans and the European Union (EU).

At this stage, I invite you to imagine the EU, especially the one of 15 states as it
was before May 2004, as a separate universe – a universe that has its own laws that
determine with exactitude the results of physical and legal acts of objects and sub-
jects appertaining to that universe. Let us call these laws ‘acquis communautaire’
and add the Copenhagen Criteria to them. In this universe, everything, even sizes
applicable to agricultural products, is defined by treaties, regulations, directives or
decisions. Everything in this universe is conceived to ensure the greatest possible

22 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

Now, let us look at the Balkans. Can we consider the Balkans a universe on its
own? My personal answer to this question is positive. Nevertheless, to avoid any
possible misunderstanding, I would like first to make clear what I understand by the
term ‘Balkans’. When I say ‘Balkans’, I do not mean a geographical entity in which
each community is the natural enemy of the neighbouring one. The term ‘Balkan’
that I use does not bear the pejorative meaning crystallized in the term of ‘balkaniza-
tion’. Neither do I intend to enter a polemic on whether those who ‘Balkanized’ the
entire planet in the First and Second World Wars could reproach the peoples of the
Balkans. Deferring to Maria Todorova’s valuable book ‘Imagining the Balkans’,
when I say ‘Balkans’, I mean both a geographical entity and a mental state that is
physically situated in Europe but considers itself (and is also considered) outside of
Europe. I think in this sense, one would not be greatly mistaken if one defines the
Balkans as a separate universe whose dynamics are governed by laws different from
the ones ruling the universe of Europe or, more concretely, the EU.

A number of eminent scholars from different branches of social science devel-
oped comprehensive analytic tools using theories such as network theories or social
communication theories to ‘discover’ the laws governing Balkan politics and soci-
eties. Here, I am not going to repeat them in detail. Nevertheless, I will point out
some issues that are of interest to this conference since we are here to discuss the
rapprochement of these two universes.

From the political scientist’s point of view, the first issue to consider for all
Balkan societies is stability, in fact the lack of it. In the Balkans, the end of the Cold
War in the last decade of the twentieth century marked the beginning of a disinte-
gration process that brought back on the agenda, inter alia, the applicability of
some, so to say, nineteenth-century ideas on the role of states and borders. In the first
years of the new millennium, this disintegration process reached such an extent that
today nobody is able to say the exact number of states that exist in the region.
Today’s political map of South Eastern Europe consists of a patchwork of sovereign
states, international protectorates, semi-sovereign sub-state entities or provinces,

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 23

alongside fragile confederations or federation-like political formations. Thus, polit-
ical schemes defined on state structures dating from a century ago are less and less
applicable in the region.

Such a nebula of diversified categories of political organisation, however,
reflects unanimity when the aim is to gain access to an integrating political body,
namely the EU. It should be noted that, as I will elaborate later, this is not a single
direction interest. Although reluctance for the absorption of the whole Balkans with-
in the Union is growing in some EU member capital cities, the EU’s central bodies
in Brussels are still eager to extend limits of the Union to the region. I sincerely
believe and I strongly hope that, despite recent discouraging declarations from the
French and United Kingdom governments, the EU Council summit in Brussels to be
held the day after this conference will send, by extending candidate status to
Macedonia as the European Commission recommended, a clear signal to the west-
ern Balkans that the promise of Europeanization is real.

The antagonism between disintegrating and integrating forces that plays a role
over political developments in the Balkans can be seen in the general methodologi-
cal lines that shape scholarly work that analyses post-Cold War developments in the
region. Up to the end of 1990s, the mushrooming literature on nation- and state-
building in the contemporary Balkans was overwhelmingly couched in the classical
theoretical schemes of ‘transition to democracy’ and insisted on the pathological
character of nationalism in the region. The new trend in recent years is, however, to
emphasize the so-called ‘crisis of statehood’. In this framework, the capacity and
coherence of bureaucratic structures are analysed in depth. Such an approach
reflects the presupposition that lack of administrative capacity is one of the main
obstacles to socio-economic advancement, which is a view Brussels’ technocrats
largely share.

On the other hand, as the messenger of a brand new research paradigm, one
observes the emergence of more recent studies based on an alternative approach that

24 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

questions the view that state building in the Balkans can be reduced to EU-guided
reform of public administration. In other words, this approach does not take it for
granted that perspective EU membership has been the main engine for the far-reach-
ing reform processes throughout the region over the past ten years that has put all
countries on track for membership. Nevertheless, even within this approach one can
note that the EU accession process or incentive is a factor in the analysis.

Thus, as policy level approaches and scholarly work point out, the relation
between these two distinct universes, i.e. the EU and the Balkans, is a highly asym-
metric one. One of the universes (the EU) openly tells the other (the Balkans) that
if it starts to apply the other’s laws of dynamics, they may merge. My colleagues
who are going to present papers today will discuss in detail what each Balkan state
has done and what remains to be done. Thus, I do not intent to discuss this subject
in my presentation. Nevertheless, I would like to discuss the basic assumption of this
approach, i.e. whether the EU as a dynamic universe is as predictable as it presents
itself to be. In other words, does the EU reflect the stability that it claims is ensured
in its ranks and that it requires potential newcomers to achieve?

Let us consider the EU, for a moment, as a stabile and predictable entity as far as
its inner structure is concerned. The external politics of the Union, however, has
never been a clearly defined line. This means, in exact terms, that the EU has never
had an external policy line of its own, except for its strong stand in support of the
International Criminal Court in the face of US attempts to undermine the very basis
of this institution. Instead, the national interests of the member states, and especial-
ly those of the strongest ones, still prevail. This failure was clearly seen first when
the EU (then the EC) was called to take control of the crisis that broke in former
Yugoslavia. The region, especially the countries that emerged from the former
Yugoslavia are still facing the enduring effects of this shock.

This lack of a well-defined external policy line affects, as witnessed in recent
years, the EU’s enlargement policies, which are situated in the grey zone between

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 25

the Union’s external and internal affairs. As mentioned above, despite the European
Commission’s efforts to keep the Union’s position vis-à-vis the future enlargement
process as stable as possible, member states’ internal political concerns affect this
standpoint, causing unpredictability. The disturbances encountered at the Union’s
last summit over the decision on the start of accession talks with Turkey and Croatia
are among the best examples of this instability. There are strong indications that the
EU member states will increasingly enrich the accession criteria for South East
European making their EU membership perspective more and more unforeseeable.

Finally yet importantly, the defeat of the EU draft constitution in referenda in
France and Holland make the inner integration of the new 25 / 27-strong Union far
less stable than it used to be. This blow to a more unified and better functioning
organisation is again a victory for national particularism over the supranationalism
embodied in the idea of a Union equipped with a constitution.

In the light of the above, I argue that the EU integration process is now much less
one-sided than before. The idea of a closed EU universe administered under the
principle of predictability and stability has proved itself for some time, especially
since the end of the Cold War, is a fiction. It is inconceivable that the EU will turn
this fiction into a reality by stopping its enlargement towards the Balkans. On the
other hand, it is also inconceivable that Europe will become Europe without one of
its components, namely the Balkans. Thus, the enlargement towards its South East
is the destiny of a Union claiming to be European.

Now let us for a moment again return to the world of physics. As I mentioned
before, physics currently treats big objects and small atomic particles as if they
belong to separate universes. Nevertheless, in reality these two different types of
material are part of the same universe, situated inseparably next to each other. Thus,
the major issue for current theoretical physics is to provide a unified theoretical
framework that encompasses laws of dynamics valid for both big and small objects.
Without it, it is impossible for physicists to explain the rules of dynamics for the

26 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

whole universe.

In our universe of politics, maybe this task should be taken into consideration
seriously. Europe and the Balkans are not separate universes but inseparable parts of
the same political entity. Maybe it is high time for the EU to recover from the dream
that it is a strongly stable unit and to allow the Balkan states into its ranks to formu-
late together softer and more realistic ways of multicultural, democratic and peace-
ful cohabitation.

To make my standpoint clear, I emphasize that this is not a plea for the EU to
abolish all criteria for joining the Union. This does even not mean that the criteria
should not be scrutinised even more closely than before. It is completely under-
standable that the EU has learned some lessons from the last two rounds of enlarge-
ment. Nevertheless, those EU politicians who feel they were too lenient in giving
the green light to countries joining the Union should consider the fact that the unity
of Europe should be built up on basic principles considered universal and not on cal-
culations over petty issues such as the percentage of vote to be obtained in the fol-
lowing elections. What I would like to underline here is that the EU should behave
fairly and equitably towards both itself and future members by not demanding some-
thing that it does not itself possess. Finally, yet importantly, the EU must demon-
strate its trustworthiness by not renouncing its own words for the sake of internal
politics in some member states.

* *

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 27
December 15th, 2005 Istanbul


Anneli Ute GABANYÝ*

In this presentation I will present a brief outline of Romania’s road to European
Union integration starting from its privileged relations with European Community
member states up to the difficult conclusion of its accession negotiations in
December. The final part of this paper pleas for the EU to take a rational decision in
favour of Romania’s accession in January 2007.

From Vanguard to Laggard in EU-Integration.

On 14 December 2004, Romania was the last of the 10 Eastern and Central
European countries to conclude accession talks with the EU. This is paradoxical
considering that it had was the first Council for Mutual Economic Assistance
(Comecon, or CMEA) country to engage in formalized trade cooperation with the
EU in the early 1970s after it had started reorienting its foreign policy towards
Western Europe and the US in the early 1960s. In 1974, Romania signed a prefer-
* Dr. Anneli Utan GABANYÝ, German Institute for International and Security Affairs

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 29
Anneli Ute GABANYÝ

ence agreement with the EC and, in 1980, it concluded a comprehensive agreement
on industrial products with the EC.

In 1982, under the impact of Poland’s political, economic and financial crisis,
Romania defaulted on its hard currency debt with western financial institutions.
Constrained to repay its debt Romania, was forced to impose hard austerity meas-
ures on the population. Moreover, the EU stopped negotiations on a new trade agree-
ment with Romania. In 1990, Romania was the last former communist East
European country to establish diplomatic relations with the EU. In 1991, Bucharest
signed a trade and cooperation agreement and, in 1993, an association (‘Europe’)
agreement with the EU. On 22 June 1995, Romania was the fourth former commu-
nist East European state to apply for EU membership.

In December 1997, at the European Council’s Luxemburg summit, the EU grant-
ed Romania candidate status but did not include it in the group of countries with
which the EU started accession negotiations. It was only two years later, at the
Helsinki summit meeting in December 1999, that the EU decided to enter accession
negotiations with all candidate countries, except for Turkey. However, no precise
date was fixed for Romania’s (and Bulgaria’s) accession owing to these countries’
reform backlog and because the current EU budget was insufficient to cope with the
integration of all candidate countries before 2007.

Romania’s accession negotiations started on 15 February 2000. On 1 January
2002, visa restrictions for Romanian citizens to the Schengen space were lifted. In
December 2003, the European Council meeting in Brussels officially decided that
accession negotiations with Romania (and Bulgaria) were to end in 2004 and fixed
the date of accession of the two South European countries at 1 January 2007.

Difficult accession negotiations

However, accession negotiations turned out to be rather difficult, with Romania

30 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

lagging behind Bulgaria in its efforts to close the 31 negotiation chapters. While
Bulgaria succeeded in closing negotiations at the June 2005 EU summit in Dublin,
Romania only succeeded on 14 December of the same year due to problems with
Chapters 3 (freedom of services), 21 (regional policy), 22 (environment), 6 (compe-
tition) and 24 (justice and home affairs). The reasons for Romania lagging behind
were manifold: the size of the country, its bad reputation with the European
Commission owing to its perceived unreliability and, most importantly, Romania’s
lack of support in the European Parliament. Romania fell victim to the power strug-
gle between the European Parliament and the European Commission, on the one
hand, and the partisan criticism of European Parliament’s conservative and liberal
members of the performance of Romania’s social democratic government, on the
other. An additional factor in the final stage of its accession negotiations was the
appointment of a new European Commission which was far more critical of
Romania than its predecessor. Pressed by countries such as Finland and Hungary,
which had long opposed the timely integration of Romania, the Commission did not
recommend the conclusion of negotiations with Bucharest. Eventually, a compro-
mise was found which imposed a severe monitoring process and an additional and
particularly harsh safeguard clause in the Romania (and Bulgaria) Accession Treaty,
which was signed on 25 April 2005. The Treaty contains three types of safeguard
clauses. A first set of three clauses that was included in prior accession treaties refers
to the post-accession period. Such clauses can be triggered during the first three
years after accession if a member state encounters difficulties adjusting to the EU
internal market or meeting EU standards in the field of justice and home affairs. The
decision on whether to revert to these clauses must be by unanimous vote of the
European Council.

When Bulgaria concluded accession talks with the EU in June 2004 the
Commission imposed an additional clause and, half a year later, also on Romania.
Other than the general post-accession clauses, this new clause refers to the period
leading up to accession. It stipulates that, if Bulgaria or Romania turns out to be
unprepared for accession in one of several important fields, the European Council

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 31
Anneli Ute GABANYÝ

can propose a year’s delay on the accession date – 1 January 2008 instead of 1
January 2007. This decision would be by unanimous voting of the European

Moreover, another so-called ‘super-safeguard’ clause was introduced when
Romania belatedly concluded its accession negotiations and it applies to this coun-
try only. It stipulates that if Romania proves unready for accession in one or more of
eleven specifically outlined areas, the EC can delay Romania’s accession by one
year through a qualified majority vote. These special problem areas are listed in the
additional protocol to the Accession Treaty: four of these special problem areas
belong to the Chapter on Competition, and seven to Justice and Home affairs, in par-
ticular to frontier security, the reform of the judiciary, and the fight against corrup-
tion and international crime. The problems confronting Romania in the field of bor-
der security are largely due to the length of Romania’s frontiers and to the size of
financial and human resources needed to fulfil the Schengen Acquis. Out of the
2,508 km of Romania’s external borders 1,457 km will form the future external
border of the EU after Romania’s accession. This status will not change for quite
some time owing to the fact that neither the Federal Republic of Serbia and
Montenegro (to the South East) nor Ukraine and Moldova (to the North and East)
have a realistic chance of joining the EU in the near future, if at all. In order to abide
by European legislation on border management, Romania introduced visa for trav-
ellers from Russia, the Ukraine, and Serbia-Montenegro. The Schengen regulation
with regard to Moldova will be introduced once Romania actually joints the EU.

The struggle against corruption is a decisive criterion for measuring Romania’s
ability to join the EU in 2007. In Romania, corruption is a structural problem result-
ing primarily from the weakness of the public administration and of the judiciary.
The European Commission expects Romania to enhance the struggle against corrup-
tion in general and high-level corruption in particular, to implement existing legisla-
tion in this field and to strengthen the independence of the anti-corruption adminis-
tration. Romanian citizens display a high degree of awareness of corruption as the

32 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

main impediment on their country’s road to accession. Once they have joined the
EU, they expect the EU’s institutions to assist them in their struggle against corrupt
dignitaries at home. The issue of corruption played a decisive role during the 2004
parliamentary and presidential elections. However, after winning the presidential
elections and after forming the new government, the battle against corruption degen-
erated into a power struggle between the Prime Minister, Mr C?lin Popescu
T?riceanu, and the President, Mr Traian B?sescu, and their respective parties. While
the EU Commission appreciated Romania’s progress on imposing European legal
standards, misusing the struggle against corruption poses a danger to Romania’s
overall goal of joining the EU on 1 January 2007.

Eurofatigue Endangers Romania’s Timely Accession

However, the main factor that threatens to delay Romania’s accession for a year
is an external one. Following Romania’s (and Bulgaria’s) signing of the Accession
Treaty in April 2005, the political climate in EU member states underwent a drastic
change. The public mood in the EU-25 was particularly affected by:

• The failure in France and the Netherlands of the referenda on the
Constitutional Treaty

• The temporary breakdown of negotiations on the European Union’s
financial framework for 2007-2014, and

• The unpopular decision to open accession negotiations with Turkey.

As a result, governments and parliaments in several EU member states consid-
ered giving in to this negative trend in popular opinion and paying tribute the low
degree of acceptance of Romania and Bulgaria’s EU membership by delaying these
countries’ accession for a year. The European Commission, which was to decide on
the Romania and Bulgaria safeguard clauses in its 25 October 2005 comprehensive

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 33
Anneli Ute GABANYÝ

Monitoring Report, postponed its recommendation to grant these two countries
another six months to fulfil their commitments. By doing so, the Commission was
able to maintain pressure on the Romanian (and Bulgarian) government by extend-
ing the period when EU conditionality still worked. The Commission’s carrot-and-
stick strategy is based on the continuation of a severe monitoring process on the one
hand and a more intense support of the Union through peer reviews, twinning proj-
ects, seminars, etc. The Commission pledged to issue its recommendation on
whether or not to delay Romania’s accession in April or May 2006. The final deci-
sion was to be taken by the European Council during its June summit. Another mon-
itoring report should be published in the fall of 2006.

While the problems confronting the EU countries after the outbreak of the ratifi-
cation and budget crisis this summer are real, it is questionable whether imposing a
delay on Romania’s accession would solve their internal problems. It is, however,
equally doubtful whether such a decision would be beneficial for Romania.
Opponents of Romania’s accession in 2007 argue that a longer preparation time
would offer Romania more time to better prepare for the challenges of EU member-
ship. However, in the light of the specific conditions outlined in the Accession
Treaty, this expectation will most certainly prove wrong. To put it bluntly: one-year
conditionality is no conditionality. Since accession as such has been agreed in the
Treaty, the EU lacks forceful means of further influencing the reform process in this
country beyond 2008. Therefore, any problem arising after accession could be bet-
ter addressed with Romania inside, and not outside, the EU.

However, delaying the accession date by a year could prove counterproductive
both for the EU and for Romania. The EU is increasingly interested in playing an
important role in the regional context and beyond. Moreover, by delaying
Romania’s accession by one year just to calm certain national constituencies in the
EU represents a deviation from the EU’s fundamental principles of solidarity and
equal treatment. Applying a different treatment to Romania (and Bulgaria) would
not enhance the image of the EU as a reliable value-based organization, considering

34 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

that these two countries are part and parcel of the same wave of EU enlargement and
have explicitly been promised equal treatment with the ten other accession coun-
tries. This is why the EU should be particularly intent on projecting the image of an
organization whose foreign policy is predictable and reliable. Any indication of the
EU reneging on its principles and promises will undoubtedly send negative signals
to regions such as the Western Balkans or the countries of the EU Eastern neighbour-
hood. Romania’s geo-strategic importance as a missing link between the two arch-
es of instability cannot be overestimated. Stabilizing these areas, furthering democ-
racy, introducing good governance in these countries and drawing them closer to the
EU is a major strategic task serving the Em’s best interest. All this should be con-
sidered when it comes to “sacrificing” the two South East European countries to pay
for the EU milk spilt this summer.

Delaying Romania’s Accession to the EU Would Be Counterproductive

Those who argue appeasing disenchanted voters in the ‘old’ EU member coun-
tries by delaying Romania’s EU accession by a year would not hurt Romania are
wrong. The contrary is true.

• A delay in accession would be a severe blow for the Romanian pop-
ulation that, because of its West-European linguistic and cultural iden-
tity, has supported EU integration to a consistently high degree. The
Romanian people, hard pressed by a legacy of economic mismanage-
ment, would be severely demoralized.

• Moreover, a delay in accession could stir domestic instability as it
would certainly be interpreted as a failure of government policy and
could even lead to its overthrow, with dire consequences for the coun-
try’s reform efforts.

• In the economic field, a year’s delay in accession would entail both

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 35
Anneli Ute GABANYÝ

direct and indirect economic losses for Romania. The direct losses
would amount to about euro2 billion in cash-flow facilities and pay-
ments from the EU structural fund. Romania would also incur indirect
economic losses that, according to an estimate by Vasile Pusca?,
Romania’s former chief EU negotiator, would be about euro10 billion.

Summing up, a number of questions arise:

Does the EU need to solve its complex crisis and improve its communication
strategy vis-à-vis its national constituencies? The answer is decidedly ‘yes!’

Will a delay in Romania’s accession date solve these EU problems? The answer
is decidedly ‘no!’

No, it would be neither logical nor fair to change the rules of the game before the
current game with 12 participants is over.

No, it would not be fair for the EU to treat Romania with greater severity than
Bulgaria for the only reason that, for various reasons, Bulgaria enjoyed a better pub-
lic image in 2004 than Romania but was identified as the true problem candidate in
the October 2005 comprehensive monitoring report. Since the special safeguard
clause applicable exclusively to Romania allows for a delay whereas the simple
safeguard clause applicable to Bulgaria (and Romania) is practically impossible to
activate for procedural reasons, EU politicians would be well advised to allow for a
timely accession of the two South East European countries.

But: Yes, the EU should draw lessons from its inconsequent negotiation policy in
the case of the EU 12. Future enlargement rounds should abide to the criteria
(respect for conditionality and accession according to individual performance),
which the EU proclaimed but did not hitherto respect.

36 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

And: Yes, the EU should go about consolidating its conceptual basis no matter in
what form.

Yes, the EU should quickly solve its budget crisis, and

Yes, the EU should engage in a long-term and large-scale effort at communicat-
ing EU ideals and policies to the national member constituencies. This will be in the
interest of the old and the new EU members and of Europe as a whole.

* *

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 37
December 15th, 2005 Istanbul



I am often asked where Europe’s ultimate borders lie. My answer is
that the map of Europe is defined in the mind, not just on the ground.
Geography sets the frame, but fundamentally it is values that make the
borders of Europe. Enlargement is a matter of extending the zone of
European values, the most fundamental of which are liberty and soli-
darity, tolerance and human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
Olli Rehn (2005b: 2)

The words of Olli Rehn (especially in light of the October 2005 Luxemburg
European Council) seem to confirm the membership prospect (albeit distant) of cur-
rent and prospective candidates for EU-membership. It has also to be acknowledged
that Mr. Rehn is not merely the EU Commissioner on Enlargement, but de facto the
EU’s Commissioner on the Balkans as all current and (possible) prospective candi-

* Dr.Emilian KAVALSKI, Loughborough University

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 39

dates are from the region. In this context, Brussels has tended to give Bulgaria as an
example that is to be emulated by its neighbors. In fact, Mr. Rehn’s predecessor in
the Enlargement Office, Gunter Verheugen, set up the country as a model for the
Balkans, by declaring that “Bulgaria is not part of the Balkan problems – it is part
of their solution! Hence, the EU’s assistance is an investment in the future of the
country. Bulgaria is already starting to pay back for this support by developing the
foundations of a strong economy and a strong market, and also, one should not for-
get, by its political stability, which is a major factor for the stability of the Balkan

In this context, this paper reviews the process and progress of Bulgaria’s bid for
EU-membership and also relates Sofia’s experience to that of the Balkans as a
whole. At the same time, it identifies some problems with the EU’s strategy of
exporting the rules and practices of its zone of peace to the region. In particular, the
paper focuses on the persistence of the elite-society cleavage, which underwrites the
failure of successive governments to create the conditions for sustainable social,
political and economic transformation and development.

In order to illuminate its inferences, this paper briefly sketches the EU’s agency
in the Balkans as a background for its involvement in Bulgaria and subsequently
reviews the export of its rules and standards to the country. Finally, this study looks
at some of the problems and prospects for the EU integration of Bulgaria, which
might be of relevance to candidates – such as Turkey – which are currently embark-
ing on the accession trail.

EU Approaches to the Balkans:

This paper makes two complementary claims as regards the EU’s role: FIRST:
that the process of Bulgaria’s accession is intimately linked to the EU’s approaches
to the Balkans; and SECOND: that the EU’s role in the region altered qualitatively
as a result of the Kosovo crisis (Kavalski, 2005). As a report by the EU Institute for

40 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

Security Studies declared, the EU’s ‘ambition to be an international actor cannot be
separated from the European project itself, but achieving that ambition will owe
much to the trauma of Kosovo’ (Haine et al., 2004: 45).

For the purposes of clarity the EU involvement is divided in two main periods:

• Foreign Policy Approaches to the Balkans: the EU adopts a passive
approach of providing humanitarian assistance and demanding peace-
ful interstate relations. It mainly encouraged the development of
regional cooperation but without (or rather in lieu of) a tangible
prospect of membership.

• Enlargement into the Balkans: the EU adopts a proactive approach of
offering the prospect of membership on condition of compliance with
certain criteria. In this period, the EU has favored individual domestic
congruence over regional cooperation.

Just to recap briefly, the suggestion here is that up to the Kosovo crisis, the
Balkans influenced the reform process WITHIN the EU; yet, this did not seem to
affect its agency in the region. There are different reasons for the EU’s lack of
agency during this period. One of the most overlooked was the construction of the
Balkans as outside the EU area of responsibility. Simon Duke famously referred to
such reluctance as ‘a reverse-realist paradigm’, where instead of competition for
power and influence, there is attempt to avoid positions of leadership and responsi-
bility (Duke, 1994: 94).

During this period, the EU bundled Bulgaria in the group of CEE states. On 8
March 1993 Sofia signed a Europe Agreement with Brussels, which entered into
force in February 1995 and in December 1995, Bulgaria applied for EU member-
ship. Such chronology, however, overlooks that in Bulgaria, itself, the better part of
the 1990s was dominated by pro-/anti-EU/West debates. Although Bulgaria dealt

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 41

fairly successfully with the challenge of ethnic conflict after restoring the rights of
its large Turkish minority in the winter of 1989-90, its economic performance, how-
ever, was far more unconvincing. Successive governments failed to carry out criti-
cally important structural reforms to launch privatization, cut subsidies to loss-mak-
ing enterprises, consolidate the ailing banking sector and stabilize the national cur-
rency. In this context, it can safely be claimed that in contrast to CEE states,
Bulgaria wasted the greater part of the 1990s as reforms lacked a sense of purpose
and nervous governments sought to spare the population the pain of restructuring but
instead condemned the majority of the people to a deterioration in living standards.
Domestically, this had the effect of portraying the EU (as well as the accession
process) in very abstract terms, polarizing public opinion on the issue along party
lines, and, ultimately introducing the possibility of experimenting with an indige-
nous ‘Bulgarian way’ of reform. Yet, by the winter of 1996/97 as a result of gross
economic mismanagement and criminal privatization, the ‘Bulgarian way’ had led
to hyperinflation and a visible slump in living standards (Dimitrov, 2001: 82). The
concomitant deterioration in almost all spheres of social, economic and political life
led to the removal of the then Socialist government and ushered in pro-reform-mind-
ed and clearly pro-EU politicians. The former Bulgarian President, Petar Stoyanov
insisted that:

most of the period between 1989 and 1997 we only had the pretence of
reform. We deluded ourselves that we could survive without great sac-
rifices, but things kept getting tougher and we got deeper and deeper
into debt. 1997 marked the turning point when we shed our illusions.
(Financial Times, 1997).

As a result of this shedding of illusions, Bulgaria adopted its first National
Strategy for Accession in March 1998 (Dimitrova and Dragneva, 2001: 84). It is
within this changing domestic environment that the Kosovo conflict occurred and
altered the EU’s awareness of its own agency not only in Bulgaria, but also in the
Balkans as well. As the then Commissioner for External relations, Hans van der

42 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

Broek (1999: 1) explained:

Over the last ten years, the Union has gone through many changes and
is reaching the third phase in its geopolitical re-definition. The first
stage was the 1989 fall of the Berlin wall, which led to German re-uni-
fication and the start of the enlargement process to the east. The second
phase came in 1992 with the disintegration of the Soviet Union, there-
by fundamentally changing the dynamics within the European conti-
nent. We are now entering the third phase, which is the stabilization of
the Balkans and their integration into the process of European Union

As already suggested, the 1999 developments in Kosovo gave a tangible per-
spective to the accession of Bulgaria. Despite its inclusion in the initiatives for CEE
states (under the PHARE programme), the country was not on the agenda for open-
ing accession negotiations according to the conclusions of the Vienna European
Council in December 1998 (00300/1/98). This decision was underwritten by the per-
ception that Bulgaria was too slow to conform to the accession criteria. However,
the volatility of the so-called Western Balkans underlined the need to recognize their
efforts in order to ensure the continued attractiveness of EU membership and sup-
port for the sanctions (and military campaign) against Serbia/Montenegro.

At first, this recognition came in the form of a very explicit ‘Statement of the
EU on Bulgaria and Romania’ on 26 April 1999 (EIS). On the one hand, this
Statement noted ‘the contribution of Romania and Bulgaria, two associate States, to
stability in the wider region’. On the other, it recognized that this situation imposes
heavy burdens on these countries’. Therefore, their ‘governments are to be com-
mended for their positive responses’ by underlying ‘the special relationship [the
EU] enjoys with Romania and Bulgaria’.

The initial endorsement which followed was the establishment of an Instrument

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 43

for Structural Policies for Pre-Accession (ISPA) on 21 June 1999. According to the
division of ISPA funds, Bulgaria was earmarked as the third largest beneficiary –
nearly 11% (COM(2001)616: 9). Simultaneously, it was also granted access to
SAPARD (agricultural aid) funds. The next step, which the EU undertook was to
upgrade the special relationship it had with Bulgaria, by noting its eligibility for
negotiations on membership. As Romano Prodi (1999) suggested at the time, this
softening of the Copenhagen criteria towards Bulgaria (and Romania) was intended
to prevent:

the countries concerned, having already made great efforts and sacri-
fices [from becoming] disillusioned and turn their backs on us. Their
economic policies will begin to diverge and a historic opportunity will
have been lost – perhaps forever. In the changed political landscape,
especially in the Balkan region, some countries may also let slip the
progress they have made towards democracy and human rights, and the
EU will have seriously failed the people of those countries.

This stance, in turn, allowed EU institutions to demand compliance from Sofia’s
elites. This process also underwrites the Europeanization of Bulgarian decision-
making. The regional significance of the country has been reflected in (and also sup-
ported by) the fact that since 2003 over 40% of all FDI in the Balkans has been in
Bulgaria (Focus, 2 April 2005).

The Post-1999 Europeanization of Bulgaria

An assessment of post-1999 conditioning of Bulgaria is best evidenced by com-
parison with the 1997 Opinion on Bulgaria. As the European Commission conclud-
ed, ‘Bulgaria has neither transposed nor taken on the essential elements of the
acquis… It is therefore uncertain whether Bulgaria will be in a position to assume
the obligations of membership in the medium term’ (DOC/97/11: 122). From this
perspective, Bulgaria’s achievement of the status of a ‘candidate country’ two years

44 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

later in December 1999, the accelerated completion of its negotiations with the EU
on 15 June 2004 and the signing of its Accession Treaty on 25 April 2005 underlie
the effectiveness of post-1999 instruments. The Foreign Minister Solomon Passi has
insisted this points to the country’s ‘transition from a national Bulgaria to a
European Bulgaria, whose policy-practice reflects the values of peace and democra-
cy’ (Focus, 22 December 2004).

The two-main instruments of the EU-driven elite-socialisation of Bulgaria are
the Accession Partnership and the instruments for assistance: PHARE,
SAPARD and ISPA (Dimitrova and Dragneva, 2001: 83-84). The purpose of the
Accession Partnership, which the EU signed with Bulgaria on 10 December 1999,
was to provide Sofia with ‘a number of policy instruments which will be used to
enhance the speed of [its] preparation for membership’ (EC, 1999a: 2). The prem-
ise of the EU’s involvement was that the Bulgarian government had a ‘weak capac-
ity to formulate and coordinate policy’ (EC, 1999b: 57).

In order to correct this, pre-accession assistance was increased. Whereas for the
1990-1999 period PHARE assistance has averaged €93 million per year (Dimitrova
and Dragneva, 2001: 83), from 2000 to 2004 Bulgaria’s allocation under PHARE
nearly doubled to €178 million annually (SEC(2004)1199: 7). Together with ISPA
and SAPARD, the EU’s financial leverage in the country for the period 1999-2005
rang to the tune of €1.7 billion. The projection is that this sum would rise from €564
million in 2006 to some €1.6 billion by 2009 (EIS, 30 November 2005). As one
Bulgarian diplomat acknowledged, such assistance has ‘encouraged’ Sofia to bring
its policy-making in line with EU-standards. Furthermore, the European
Commission declared in 2002 that ‘Bulgaria IS a functioning market economy’,
with economist remaining upbeat about the country’s macroeconomic record, cur-
rently projected to grow by 5% for the next four or five years.

Sofia has maintained throughout that its performance and compliance with EU
demands derives from the contractual nature of its relations with the EU. As the

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 45

Deputy Foreign Minister, Gergana Grancharova has insisted ‘the accelerated com-
pletion of the accession negotiations confirms that the assessment is premised on the
individual merits of each candidate country and not on the principle of group
enlargement’ (Focus, 17 June 2004). Such perceptions of the requirement of domes-
tic congruence of Bulgarian elites have been confirmed by Olli Rehn, the
Commissioner on Enlargement who insisted that ‘it is according to its own merits
that Bulgaria will be judged and I am convinced that it will win the qualification
match for the premier league of the Member States of the EU’ (Focus, 18 March
2005). Hence, policy-makers in Sofia have become increasingly worried that the
widening gap between Bulgaria and Romania might have a negative impact on the
country’s accession. In order to prevent a postponement scenario and having to wait
for Bucharest to catch up, Sofia has used every occasion to insist on the EU’s
upholding the principle of differentiation.

The socializing impact of the EU has been facilitated by the lack of alternative
centers of normative attraction for Bulgaria. As Foreign Minister Passi emphatical-
ly declared: ‘The European Union is our promised land!’ (Focus, 9 July 2003). The
former Head of the Bulgarian Mission to the EU, Antoinette Primatarova points that
this conviction derives from the fact that ‘the EU has already proven that it can
deliver in terms of prosperity through enforcing the principles of democracy, rule of
law and a market economy’ (Open Society News, 2002: 7). Hence, Sofia’s
Europeanization has been ensured by the broad political support for EU accession
and as the Bulgarian Minister of European Affairs maintains ‘there is no political
formation, which would be opposed to the country’s entry into the EU’ (Focus, 23
January 2004). Thus, one commentator insisted that the case of Bulgaria indicates
that the EU is capable of increasing the prospect of economic development by mak-
ing the countries attractive for foreign investment, while binding the decision-mak-
ing to a system of politics that awards domestic democratic practice, by eschewing
illiberal political sentiments (Bojkov, 2004: 511). Such inference, however should
not blind one to the problems accompanying Sofia’s conditioning by Brussels.

46 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

Problems: Elite-Society Cleavage

The paradox of the Bulgarian post-communist transition seems to be that on the
one hand it has succeeded to introduce relatively stable political institutions, which,
however, have not been able to address central popular concerns. An explanation for
such development can be found in the EU approach to the country, which aims to
condition Bulgaria’s decision-making practice, but so far has failed to spill over into
societal attitudes. As a result, the values promoted by the EU in elite policy-making
still remain abstract concepts rather than tangible points of reference for the major-
ity of Bulgarian citizens. The bottom line is the different premise for evaluating post-
communist developments: (a) accession priorities and macroeconomic stability for
the elites; and (b) the rising insecurity and decline in economic well-being for the
majority of citizens.

This point is important as it underscores a phenomenon, which affects the
Europeanization not only of Bulgaria, but the entire Balkan region – a normative
elite-society cleavage. Its existence stems from the very logic of the post-1999
accession conditionality. As indicated, the EU targets state-elites with the aim of
institutionalizing a framework of policy-making. The objective of such elite-social-
ization is to promote congruence between Sofia’s decision-makers and Brussels. At
the same time, the expectation on behalf of the EU is that such elite-socialization
around promoted practices will trickle down to the publics as well. Such a dynamic
is premised on the history of Euro-Atlantic integration, itself. However, this study
contends that the prevailing emphasis on elite-socialization leads to the institution-
alization of a normative elite-society cleavage. Thus, the Bulgarian civil service for
instance has more experience of the EU than other sections of society (Primatarova,
2005: 1). Although in the short- to medium-term such a phenomenon is not likely to
have any negative effects on the Europeanization of the country, its persistence in
the long-term can (potentially) have detrimental effects on the establishment of
path-dependent policy-making.

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 47

The essence of this normative divergence is that Sofia’s political elites are mov-
ing in the direction of justifying their decision-making according to a rationale out
of step with that of society at large. Gallagher (2005: 188) reasons that the ‘condi-
tioning of communist times and the fact that the democratic era has resulted in fail-
ing living standards for most citizens has instilled a powerful distrust of politics’. In
this respect, Bulgarian decision-makers increasingly perceive their policy-making
reality from the context of Brussels’ demands, while the overwhelming majority of
society perceives their environment from the framework of their surrounding cir-
cumstances characterized by insecurity and dissatisfaction with their conditions of
existence. The low income level, low living standards and high unemployment rep-
resent the main points of concern. Bulgaria underwent historical changes during the
1990s, yet the political and economic transformations proved to be very slow and
did not yield the result the population had hoped for. The macroeconomic growth of
the recent period has not been sufficient to narrow the income gap between Bulgaria
and the EU member states. Average per capita income in Bulgaria is still low, stand-
ing at 25% of the EU average (in purchasing power terms) or around €2,200. At the
same time only 15% of all households in the country have an adequate income to
cover the costs and needs sufficient to ensure their living standards. Thus, the evo-
cation of closer ties with the EU is reflected in the popular dissatisfaction with the
deteriorating conditions of existence.

Such persistent elite-society cleavage poses some issues for the path-depend-
ence of the Europeanization process. As Karl Deutsch (1953: 171-72) maintains,
populations which perceive that they ‘lack direct participation’ in the decision-mak-
ing process, often fall prey to ‘mobilization’ by opportune leaders or rabble-rousers.
For instance, the government of Prime Minister Ivan Kostov lost the June 2001 elec-
tions because of its emphasis on compliance with EU-conditions rather than domes-
tic pressures. Thus, despite ‘saving Bulgaria from economic disaster’, Kostov’s gov-
ernment – which The Economist (22 November 2003) called ‘the most successful
reformist government Southeastern Europe had seen’ – fell victim to its inability to
involve the society at large in the transformation process (Barany, 2002: 149). In this

48 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

respect, the arrival of the former king on the Bulgarian political horizon in 2001, the
emergence at the 2005 parliamentary elections of the freshly-formed neo-fascist
front ‘Attack’ as the fourth largest political formation (out of seven) to be represent-
ed in the National Assembly (Focus, 27 June 2005) are instances of these sugges-
tions. As already suggested such normative discrepancy between societies and elites
is not expected to impede the export of the EU-rules to Bulgaria in the short- to
medium-term. However, its persistence in the long-term can pose problems for the
institutionalization of the European zone of peace not only in Bulgaria, but also in
the Balkans. Therefore, in a recent analysis, Freedom House classified Bulgaria’s
political institutionalization of its democratic process as far from consolidated.
Perhaps rather harshly, but not too far off the mark, Freedom House’s survey insists
that on this reckoning, the country is closer to the levels of democratization in states
like Serbia or Albania than Hungary or Poland.


This paper claims that Bulgaria’s Europeanisation has been plagued by the
unwillingness of governing elites in the beginning of the transition to pay the short-
term political cost of domestic transformation. They committed to democratic insti-
tutions but undertook only partial economic reforms. The societal demand for socio-
economic change was very weak and failed to produce stable reformist majorities
during parliamentary elections. As a result, partial reforms and abuse of office for
narrow political and personal gains became commonplace. The reform gaps provid-
ed ample opportunities for clientelism and corruption which proved more difficult
to displace in the later transition years than to reform the socialist-era institutions in
the early 1990s

The issue that Bulgaria is facing now is no longer related to the dilemma “enter
or not”. Instead the problem is that EU-membership is not treated as a process but
as an aim in itself. The conclusion from the process of Sofia’ Europeanization is that
the main strategy for conducting social and economic policy in Bulgaria has been

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 49

primarily based on entering the EU and not on achieving best economic perform-
ance and consensus-politics of social responsibility. This is because there is a firm
perception that transition ends with integration into the EU. What has emerged is
the conviction that membership seals the process of transition to democracy and a
market economy. It is this perspective that the aim justifies the means that makes
problematic (mainly politically) a possible postponement of the accession process
(even if the General Safeguard Clause the Accession Treaty has to be signed by all
25 Member States, and so far none of the big MS (apart from Italy) have done that).
On the positive side, there are already Bulgarian commentators who insist that
although politically detrimental, a postponement of accession might have a positive
impact on the economy, not least in terms of getting ready for the pressures of the
common market. Also, others have pointed out that the longer Bulgaria waits, the
more the EU will be reshaped by the demands of the countries that joined in 2004.
Each year will make it a more diverse and broadminded club, in which Bulgaria and
other prospective members – such as Turkey – should feel more at home.

At any rate, the case of Bulgaria is a possible model for a fairly successful
accession process. Yet in terms of emulation, it sets a number of practices that
should be avoided – mainly, the sidelining of public concerns and also the presenta-
tion of the accession process as an aim in itself. In this context, perhaps Bulgaria fol-
lows the suggestion of the 1961 Nobel literature laureate, Ivo Andric that in “the
Balkans the expected does happen, but more often than not it happens in unexpect-
ed ways”.

According to the 2001 census, 4.6% (about 350,000) identified themselves as
Roma and 9.4% (about 750,000) as of Turkish origin. Still the economic problems
faced by the Turkish minority are along the societal division line and do not coin-
cide with ethnic affiliation. Furthermore, the MRF has somewhat purposefully tried
to ostracize the members of the Turkish minority by keeping them marginalized in
agricultural occupational patterns and preventing altering the local economy.

50 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

This paper is a modification of a larger project that should be published in a
book form by the end of 2006 by I.B.Tauris. My claim there is that the EU (as well
as NATO) involvement in the Balkans is not so much about the promotion of
democracy, market practices, etc. but that it is about the promotion of order, in par-
ticular one defined by peaceful international interactions. Hence, conditioning of
domestic practices (i.e. congruence) aims at impacting the processes of foreign-pol-
icy-making by creating more transparent and predictable patterns of decision-taking.

* *

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 51
December 15th, 2005 Istanbul


Dr. Cengiz AKTAR*

Comment fonctionne le processus décisionnel de l'Union européenne concernant
les étapes de la pré-adhésion des pays candidats et en particulier l'étape décisive de
l'ouverture des négociations? Nous savons que c'est sur la foi de l'avis et la
recommendation de la Commission européenne que les dirigeants politiques de
l'Union prennent les décisions, entre autres, d'ouvrir les négociations d'adhésion
avec les pays candidats. Après avoir brièvement évoqué les conditions dans les
quelles l'actuel système s'est mis en branle nous voudrions nous interroger sur le
poids de l'évaluation technique et de la recommendation faites par la Commission
pour l'ouverture des négociations. Nous voudrions savoir s'il existe des reperès
objectifs qui s'appliquent à chaque candidat pour ce qui est de la conformité à ces
mêmes critères. Ceci, afin de comprendre la logique des décisions prises par les
dirigeants politiques des 15.

* Cengiz AKTAR, Universite de Bahçesehir

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 53
Cengiz AKTAR

Contrairement aux critères économiques qui sont aisément quantifiables les
critères politiques semblent, après tout, être sans limites; tout comme la démocratie.
"Open ended" on dirait en anglais. En d'autres termes, il n'existe pas vraiment un
acquis communautaire politique, comme il en existe un pour l'agriculture ou pour la
monnaie unique, à part une définition très large de la conditionnalité politique. Mais
du coup, ces critères ne deviennent-ils pas extensibles à souhait? Peut-on désigner
objectivement un optimum acceptable pour accorder le satisfecit en matière de
conformité? Ou au contraire n'y a t-il pas lieu de penser que la décision en matière
de conformité politique pour l'ouverture des négociations est, ceteris paribus,
purement et simplement politique et non point technique?

Afin d'étayer notre propos nous allons nous baser sur des exemples concrets en
rapport avec les processus de pré-adhésion de la Bulgarie, la Lettonie, la République
Tchéque et de la Roumanie. Nous allons, dans le même but, évoquer le sort des
communautés tziganes vivant dans les pays candidats.

Voyons d'abord comment le système s'est mis en place.

Lorsque l'on a décidé en décembre 1997 à Luxembourg que les six premiers
candidats pouvaient entamer la phase des négociations, la Commission était en
quelque sorte prise au dépourvu. En effet ni à Bruxelles ni dans les squelletiques
représentations dans les pays concernés, les structures en place ne répondaient aux
besoins, qu'il s'agisse de la conceptualisation ou d'appui technique. C'est au fil des
années que s'est formée la mécanique de la pré-adhésion et il ne serait pas exagéré
d'affirmer qu'on a souvent avancé par tâtonnement.

Les critères de Copenhague
"L'adhésion requiert de la part du pays candidat qu'il ait des institutions stables
garantissant la démocratie, la primauté du droit, les droits de l'homme, le respect des
minorités et leur protection, l'existence d'une économie de marché viable ainsi que

54 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

la capacité de faire face à la pression concurrentielle et aux forces du marché à
l'intérieur de l'Union. L'adhésion présuppose la capacité du pays candidat à en
assumer les obligations, et notamment à souscrire aux objectifs de l'union politique,
économique et monétaire."

C'est que, lorsque les services de la Commission ont été rendus responsables des
divers aspects de la phase préparatoire pour les candidats, ils n'avaient comme
repère que l'énoncé des critères de Copenhague et les vagues d'élargissement
passées des années 70,80 et 90 ne correspondaient pas à ce que l'on se préparait à
mettre en place. Ceci ni en termes politiques ni en matière technique.

Les services de la Commission n'avaient pas vraiment l'habitude de mener des
opérations de cette envergure à l' étranger, tant du point de vue diplomatique que du
point de vue technique ; on manquait d'expérience pour faire du 'capacity building'
et du 'institution building' sur des sujets aussi variés que les télécommunications, la
pêche en haute mer, les droits des minorités ou encore l'environnement. En fait il
n'existait simplement pas de mémoire institutionnelle pour aider à comprendre les
données politiques, économiques et sociales des pays candidats et ainsi de pouvoir
agir en fonction de ces données.

C'est dans un tel environnement que les structures se sont établies et une certaine
mécanique s'est mise en route. Et évidemment, dans la longue séquence qui va de la
création du G-24 (du nom des 24 pays membres de l'OCDE) établi au sein de la
Commission au tout début des années 1990 pour soutenir les réformes dans les pays
ex-communistes au sommet d'Acropole du 16 avril 2003 qui a consacré l'adhésion
des 10 premiers membres parmi les candidats en place, les degrès de préparation des
pays ont considérablement varié. Alors que l'Hongrie et la Pologne par exemple, ont
fait la connaissance des mécanismes européens dès le début des années 1990, la
Lithuanie et la Bulgarie n'ont vraiment commencé leur appentissage qu'en 1999, c-
à-d presque 10 ans plus tard. Or la Lithuanie va devenir membre en même temps que
la Pologne. C'est que les 15 ont décidé de donner un coup d'accélérateur au

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Cengiz AKTAR

processus d'élargissement à partir de 1999, année qui va sûrement rester dans les

La Commission clarifie et arrête sa position sur sa stratégie d'adhésion et la
soumet au Conseil d'Helsinki de décembre 1999 qui l'entérine. Voilà comment elle
voyait les choses en octobre 1999 dans son Document d'ensemble (pp.28-30): "la
Commission estime que le moment est venu d'insuffler une nouvelle dynamique au
processus d'élargissement et de donner un signal fort de sa détermination à le faire
avancer aussi rapidement que possible, ce qui renforcera la confiance des pays
candidats dans leurs perspectives d'adhésion. C'est pourquoi la Commission propose
l'adoption d'une stratégie d'ouverture et de conduite des négociations d'adhésion qui
garantisse que celles-ci progressent parallèlement à l'état de préparation des pays
candidats à l'adhésion."

Elle passe dans ces termes en revue les diverses options:

"(a) poursuivre strictement dans la ligne adoptée par les Conseils européens de
Luxembourg et de Cologne, à savoir de ne recommander l'ouverture de négociations
qu'avec les pays ayant suffisamment progressé dans leur préparation à l'adhésion
pour être en mesure de satisfaire à moyenne échéance aux conditions auxquelles elle
est surbordonnée. Cette formule a l'avantage de maintenir la méthodologie objective
établie par le Conseil européen, appliquée à un certain nombre des candidats actuels
et garantissant que chacun des pays invités à entamer des négociations ait atteint le
même niveau minimal de préparation;

(b) recommander l'ouverture de négociations avec tous les pays qui satisfont aux
critères politiques de Copenhague. Cette option a l'avantage de reconnaître la
nécessité, largement ressentie, d'imprimer un nouvel élan au processus
d'élargissement, compte tenu des mutations spectaculaires que subit le paysage
politique européen par suite principalement de la crise de la région des Balkans.
Cette crise a souligné la contribution fondamentale que le modèle d'intégration

56 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

européen a apportée et doit continuer d'apporter pour garantir la paix et la prospérité
en Europe.L'ouverture des négociations avec tous les pays candidats qui satisfont
aux critères politiques de Copenhague, associée à l'élaboration d'une stratégie
renforcée à l'égard d'autres pays européens donnerait un signal puissant de la
détermination de l'UE de faire face à ses responsabilités, dans la ligne de la
déclaration du Conseil européen de décembre 1997, selon laquelle "le lancement du
processus d'élargissement inaugure une nouvelle ère en mettant définitivement fin
aux divisions du passé. Le prolongement, à l'échelle du continent, du modèle
d'intégration européen est un gage de stabilité et de prospérité pour l'avenir".

Et après avoir relaté les avantages et les inconvénients des deux options elle
recommande la deuxième option tout en se réclamant des caractéristiques optimales
de la première: "?les négociations devraient s'ouvrir en 2000 avec tous les pays
candidats qui remplissent les critères politiques d'adhésion et qui ont fait la preuve
qu'ils sont prêts à prendre les mesures nécessaires pour remplir les critères
économiques, à savoir la Bulgarie, la Lettonie, la Lituanie, Malte, la Roumanie et la
Slovaquie. C?ompte tenu de l'importance extrême de la sûreté nucléaire, l'ouverture
de négociations avec la Bulgarie devrait être subordonnée à l'obligation, pour les
autorités bulgares, de décider, avant la fin de 1999, de dates acceptables de
fermeture des unités 1 à 4 de la centrale nucléaire de Kozloduy ainsi qu'à une
confirmation des progrès significatifs réalisés dans le processus de réforme
économique. L'ouverture de négociations avec la Roumanie devrait être
subordonnée à la confirmation, par les autorités roumaines, du lancement d'une
action efficace visant à allouer aux centres de l'enfance les ressources budgétaires
nécessaires et à y mettre en oeuvre les réformes structurelles qui s'imposent avant la
fin de 1999. Cette ouverture formelle des négociations est également subordonnées
à une évaluation supplémentaire de la situation économique, dans l'attente que les
mesures appropriées auront été prises au regard de la situation macro-économique."

Au Conseil européen de Helsinki de décembre 1999 les politiques décident de
l'ouverture des négociations avec les cinq candidats restants et ne suivent pas la

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 57
Cengiz AKTAR

Commission dans ses propositions de conditionnalité pour la Bulgarie et la
Roumanie. Le rejet des propositions de la Commission concernant ces deux pays
scelle en fait la fin de la première option qui consistait à démarrer les négociations
avec les candidats ayant atteint un minimum de préparation général et non
seulement politique.

Allons à présent vers la mer Baltique. Sur les quelque 2,43 millions d'habitants
que compte la petite Lettonie, environ 1 million ne sont pas des ressortissants lettons
et sont Russes pour la plupart. Voici quelques extraits du rapport régulier de la
Commission d'octobre 1999(p.18): "Étant donné que pour l'instant, environ 43 % de
la population a une langue autre que le letton comme première langue, la formation
linguistique restera l'un des principaux instruments d'intégration des minorités
ethniques au cours des années à venir. Une loi sur l'usage des langues a été adoptée
par le Parlement en juillet 1999. Elle n'a pas été promulguée par le président en
raison des préoccupations exprimées à diverses reprises au cours du premier
semestre de 1999 par l'OSCE, le Conseil de l'Europe et la Commission européenne
quant à son éventuelle incompatibilité avec les normes internationales et
communautaires définies dans l'Accord européen. Telle qu'elle a été adoptée, elle
n'intègre pas suffisamment les normes de proportionnalité et de précision. Elle
considère l'utilisation obligatoire de la langue nationale dans le secteur privé comme
la règle et non comme l'exception. L'adoption définitive de la loi est prévue pour le
9 décembre 1999. Plusieurs autres éléments limitant l'intégration des non-citoyens
subsistent en matière économique. Les non-citoyens ne sont toujours pas autorisés
à exercer certaines professions (avocat, garde de sécurité armé et détective privé)
pour des raisons liées à la sécurité de l'État et les pouvoirs publics comptent réviser
ces dispositions pendant l'année 2000." Et de déclarer:"la Lettonie remplit les
critères politiques de Copenhague. Bien que des progrès considérables aient été
réalisés sur la voie de l'intégration des non-citoyens, il faudra assurer que le texte
final de la loi sur l'usage des langues soit compatible avec les normes internationales
et l'accord européen."
La Commission a en effet recommandé sur la foi de la déclaration du

58 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

gouvernement pour faire adopter une nouvelle loi sur l'usage des langues que la
Lettonie commence le processus de négociation en fin 1999. En 2002, selon
l'information de International Herald Tribune de 8 Août 2002 citant des sources
gouvernementales il existait toujours 522.000 personnes apatrides en Lettonie.

En Estonie voisine sur un total de 1.4 million 500.000 sont des non-estoniens.
Parmi ces personnes qui sont pour la plupart des Russes, 170.000 n'avaient pas
encore été naturalisées au 20 mai 2003, selon l'information de l'Agence France
Presse, c-à-d à un an de l'adhésion finale de l'Estonie à l'Union. Il y a de fortes
chances que ces personnes n'aient pu voter au réferandum d'adhésion organisé
récemment en Estonie.

Il va sans dire que le problème de l'apatridie n'a pas été un élément détérminant
dans la recommendation de la Commission pour l'ouverture des négociations avec
l'Estonie en 1997 et avec la Lettonie en 1999.

Voici maintenant quelques extraits du rapport de la Commission daté d'octobre
2003, intitulé "Soutien de l'Union européenne aux communautés Roms de l'Europe
centrale et orientale": 8 millions de Roms vivent en Europe dont la majorité, soit
près de 6 millions,en Europe centrale et orientale. (Ce qui fait à peu près % 6 de la
population totale des 12 candidats). Il existe d'importantes communautés roms dans
la plupart des pays d'Europe centrale et orientale. En tant que minorité, les Roms se
sont heurtés à des difficultés pour faire reconnaître et défendre leurs droits
fondamentaux. Les communautés roms sont en butte à une exclusion culturelle et
sociale dans la plupart des pays européens. Les problèmes de marginalisation sont
particulièrement aigus dans le centre et l 'est de l'Europe,où les Roms ont souffert de
la transition vers l 'économie de marché." Et le papier d'énumérer tous les projets
mis en place depuis 1997 en faveur de l'intégration de ces communautés dans les
pays candidats. Ce qu'il faudrait noter ici c'est que l'existence de cas de violations
flagrantes et systèmatiques des droits des Roms dans plusieurs pays candidats n'a
empêché aucun candidat d'accéder à la phase des négociations.

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Cengiz AKTAR

Voici comment la Commission réitère ses remarques dans son rapport régulier de
la République Tchéque datant d'octobre 1999 (p.12), c-à-d de deux ans après le
début des négociations:"alors que la situation des autres minorités reste satisfaisante,
celle des tsiganes ne s'est pas vraiment améliorée depuis juillet 1997" et en
conclusion que "la République Tchéque doit rester attentive à la réforme du système
judiciaire, combattre plus efficacement la corruption et améliorer la situation des

Que penser de ces exemples? Que l'on pourrait d'ailleurs démultiplier à souhait.
A ce propos on pourrait se référer aux travaux des experts des pays candidats dans
le cadre du programme de suivi de l'adhésion à l'Union européenne, geré par le Open
Society Institute de Budapest. Ils ont déjà publié en 2001 et 2002 six épais recueils
sur la capacité judiciaire, la protection des minorités et la lutte contre la corruption.

Mais dans les exemples que nous avons cités parmi les recommendations de la
Commission pour l'ouverture des négociations comme pour toutes les décisions du
Conseil d'entamer ce processus avec les candidats, c'est la substance première de
l'élargissement actuel de l'Union européenne, à savoir la fermeture de la parenthèse
ouverte à Yalta en 1945 et la volonté de faire du continent un.

* *

60 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe
December 15th, 2005 Istanbul


Martin MAYER*

Delegation of the European Commission to Croatia1

Croatia applied for EU membership on 21 February 2003. On 20 April 2004, the
European Commission (EC) issued a positive opinion on Croatia’s application2 and,
based on that, the European Council decided on 18 June 2004 to grant Croatia
Candidate Status. On 3 October 2005, eventually, the Council decided, with some
delay, to open accession negotiations with Croatia. This is only 10 years after the
war in Croatia ended. This should be mentioned, because it is easily forgotten, at
least from the EU perspective, that there was a war in Croatia with long-term reper-
cussions to the political and social system in this country, which gained independ-
ence only 14 years ago.
* Dr. Martin MAYER, Ph.D.Delegation of the European Commission to Croatia
1 The assessment laid out in the article reflects the opinion of the author and does not necessarily represent the offi-

cial position of the European Commission.
2 Commission of the European Communities: Opinion on Croatia's Application for Membership of the European

Union. COM(2004) 257 final; Brussels, 20.4.2004

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 61

That means that Croatia had not only to undergo the transition from Communism
to democracy, from state economy to market economy, like all the other Eastern
European countries that joined the EU in May 2004. It means that Croatia had also
to overcome the legacy of war, both internally, as well as with regard to its relations
with its neighbours. It is well known that this is a difficult and painful process.
Germany’s reconciliation with its neighbours after World War II is a telling examp-

Of course, Croatia cannot claim mitigating circumstances vis-à-vis the EC,
which is to assess whether the criteria for membership, the so-called Copenhagen
criteria3, are fulfilled. In its recent Progress Report on Croatia of 9 November
20054 , the EC outlined and assessed the following main important political chal-

(i) Reform of Judiciary and Public Administration,
(ii) Fight against Corruption,
(iii) Protection of Human Rights and National Minorities,
(iv) Regional Cooperation and
(v) Cooperation with the ICTY.

The functioning of the judiciary remains a major challenge for Croatia. There
is inefficiency of courts, excessive length of court proceedings, weakness in the
selection and training of judges and, what is of most concern, difficulties with the
enforcement of judgements. These structural difficulties have created an enormous
backlog of about 1 million cases (as of 31 December 2005).
3 The membership conditions were laid down in the 1993 European Council at Copenhagen. They require that the

candidate countries ensure
• (i) "stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights
and the respect for and protection of minorities";
• (ii) "the existence of a functioning market economy as well as the capacity to cope
with competitive pressure and market forces within the Union";
• (iii) "the ability to take on the obligations of membership, including adherence to
the aims of political, economic and monetary union".
4 European Commission: Croatia 2005 Progress Report. SEC (2005) 1424. Brussels, 9 November 2005

62 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe
Martin MAYER

The Government adopted on 22 September 2005 a National Strategy to tackle
these problems, and there are already some results, for instance measures have been
taken to make courts more efficient, the establishment of a Judicial Academy to train
judges and judicial staff. However, certain elements still have to be developed fur-
ther (for example an efficient case management system and the introduction of a
transparent selection procedure of judicial staff). And some other important issues
have not been addressed yet at all, particularly the backlog in execution of court
decisions. And precisely law enforcement is crucial not only for the functioning of
democracy but also, for instance, to attract foreign investment, which is so badly

Corruption is also a serious problem in Croatia that affects various aspects of
the society. According to Transparency International, Croatia is one of the few
European countries where surveys highlight the public perception that corruption
has actually got worse over the past year. The main areas of perceived corruption are
judiciary, the health sector, local self-government units and political parties.

The previous and the current Government adopted National Strategies to tackle
corruption, however, they remain mainly only a piece of paper. The Government
Office for Fighting Corruption and Organised Crime, set up few years ago as part of
the State Prosecution, is not efficient: it lacks trained staff, proper funding, and deals
mainly with petty offences rather than tackling the big issues. Almost all highly pub-
licised and political cases (like the case of former Foreign Minister Granic, suspect-
ed of being involved in illegal trading in company shares and taking bribes) have not
even reached the phase of an official court investigation

Public Administration is, in general, still very much marked by the old social-
ist system, with strong hierarchic and centralised structures, leaving civil servants
little room to decide, so to say, on the spot. There is still little understanding that the
purpose of public administration is to serve citizens and not govern them.

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 63

Public administration reform is one of the issues covered under the EC CARDS
Programme, the EC financial assistance to the Western Balkans. However, public
administration reform is not very high on the Government agenda. There is no over-
all strategy in Croatia, and a lot needs to be done in this respect, because without a
functioning public administration it will be difficult to implement the acquis com-
munitaire, the common EU legislation, properly.

With regard to Human Rights and rights of National Minorities, Croatia has
signed all the relevant international documents. However, in reality the situation is
not that rosy: Violence in the family, for instance, and violation of children’s and
women’s rights are still a taboo topic in the Croatian society. Women often do not
receive any maintenance after they get divorced (because the former husband
refused to pay or ignores the court decision), homosexuals are still considered
abnormal and, thus, excluded from public life. This is maybe not surprising in a tran-
sition country, particularly in Croatia, where the influence of the Catholic Church is
still, or again, enormous. However, public awareness of these problems is growing
slowly, and various local NGOs stand up increasingly for the rights of all kind of
minority groups.

This goes particularly for National minorities, whose rights the European
‘Community of Values’ links so closely to Human Rights. In Croatia there is since
2001 a Constitutional Law on the Protection of National Minorities in place, which
guarantees far reaching rights to national minorities – sometimes going even beyond
what is common practice in some EU members states: political representation in
national and local parliaments, representation in public administration, cultural
rights (e.g. the right to education in their script and language), etc. However, imple-
mentation is slow, particularly with regard to representation in public administration
(courts, police, etc) and at the local level.5
5 According to the 2001 Census results, the share of minority members of the total population is 7.5%. Data from

the Central State Administration Office of June 2006 indicate that the share of minority members in State bodies
(ministries, government offices, etc) is less than 4%. The share of minority members in public administration at the
local level is even less.

64 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe
Martin MAYER

And there is one aspect, which makes the issue of national minorities sensitive
because it is related to the war. Croatia fought for, and gained independence to cre-
ate a national State; this implied, at least under the Tudjman regime, a State for eth-
nic Croats. At that time, and after the ‘Yugoslav experiment’, which had been wide-
ly perceived as a failure, the idea of a multi-national and multi-cultural state was not
very attractive. And even more so as the biggest minority became the Serbs 6, who –
generally speaking – have been perceived as aggressors to Croatia and the ‘fifth col-
umn’ of Milosevic. But, also, the Serb community had to come to terms with the fact
that with Croatia’s independence, their status changed from a nation in former
Yugoslavia (and actually the dominant one) to a minority. It is not surprising that 11
years after the war, the relation between Croat majority and Serb minority is still
marked by mutual distrust.

But there is also the very concrete issue of return of refugees. Some 370,000
Serbs fled Croatia, mainly during and after the military operations ‘Flash and
‘Storm’ in May and August 1995, when the Croatian army retook Serb occupied
Croatian territory. Today, 11 years later, one can say that the process of return comes
slowly to an end.

The respective legal framework in Croatia is in place (the right to repossession
of confiscated property, the right to reconstruction of houses destroyed during and
after the military operations ‘Flash’ and ‘Storm’, etc), even though implementation
is sometimes slow and not comprehensive. Overall, however, it seems that those
who wanted to return did so.7

This does not mean that the Serb refugees who returned to Croatia are really inte-

6 4.5% (Census 2001); Other relevant minorities are Italians, Hungarians, Bosniacs and Albanians accounting ca.

0.3% each.
7 According to data from UNHCR (April 2006) about 140,000 Serb refugees, out of 370,000, have returned to

Croatia. This indicates that a large number of the Serb refugees have opted - for a number of reasons - for local inte-
gration in the country they reside in (mainly Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina).

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 65

grated in the local communities; discrimination is still going on; e.g. it is quite dif-
ficult for a Serb to get a job, particularly in underdeveloped areas where unemploy-
ment is high anyway. And, unfortunately, there are still incidents against Serbs
although these are individual cases.8 Regrettably, top State officials, and, particular-
ly local authorities, are reluctant to condemn these incidents through public state-

Overall, there is still a lot to do to achieve peaceful coexistence. And the best
way to achieve this is economic development, as experience has shown. But again,
compared to the situation 11 years ago, Croatia is on the right way.

This goes also for regional cooperation, which is a basic condition for EU mem-
bership, because the EU does not want to import bilateral problems into its system.

Under Tudjman, and of course under conditions of war, separation was the slo-
gan, not cooperation. After Croatia gained independence, there was for a long time
the suspicion that the international community would force Croatia back to a kind
of Yugoslav federation. Also, the term ‘Western Balkans’, as the EC calls the region,
is possibly not the right one to dispel that fear.

It was only under the former Racan Government when the first steps were taken,
in the year 2000. Since then, multilateral, as well as bilateral relations have
improved considerably. This goes particularly for relations with Serbia, Montenegro
and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Although there are still many problems to be settled
(mainly in the context of the Yugoslav Succession Agreement, like restitution of
property, final demarcation of the State border at sea, etc), it is evident that the per-
spective of EU membership is an enormous incentive for the Governments in the
region to settle outstanding problems in the context of European integration. That
means that Croatia looks increasingly towards the future rather than the past and

8 In the period January-November 2005, a local Serb NGO, SDF, noted 41 ethnically motivated incidents against

Serb individuals, mainly in return areas and particularly in the Zadar hinterland.

66 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe
Martin MAYER

focuses on what needs to be done to development good neighbourly relations, in
order to meet this important precondition for EU membership.

Cooperation with ICTY was for a long time the most difficult issue in Croatia’s
relation with the EU. Croatia’s position towards the Hague Tribunal is, again, linked
closely linked to the experience of the war and affects directly the self-conception
of the young Croatian State, namely Croatia was forced to wage a justified defence
war against Serbian aggression. Thus, for a long time, it was unconceivable that in
the so-called ‘Homeland War’ war crimes could have been committed also on the
Croatian side.

The Tudjman regime considered the Hague Tribunal a political court that
equalises the victim, i.e. Croatia, with the aggressor, i.e. Serbia. Therefore, despite
the adoption of a constitutional law on cooperation with ICTY in 1996, cooperation
with the Tribunal was systematically obstructed. Requested documents were not
transferred, ICTY indictees, like Ivica Rajic, for instance, were given new identities
and hidden in Croatia with the support of the Croatian authorities.

It was only under the former Racan Government, coming to power in 2000, that
cooperation started, i.e. mainly with regard to submission of documents to the
Tribunal. The new HDZ Government, coming to power in November 2003, contin-
ued cooperation, under the strong leadership of PM Sanader. Eight Croat ICTY
indictees (6 from Bosnia and two from Croatia) have been transferred to The Hague
since March 2004. 9 Or, more precisely, the Government convinced them to surren-
der voluntarily.
9 On 11 March 2004, Croatian Generals Cermak and Markac were transferred to The Hague. They are charged with

crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and customs of war committed against Serb civilians during and
after military operation 'Storm'.
On 5 April 2004 Slobodan Praljak, Milivoj Petkovic, Bruno Stojic and Jadranko Prlic, Valentin Coric and Berislav
Pusic were transferred. They are all former political leaders and military officials of the self-declared Croatian para-
state, Herceg-Bosna, that was established by Bosnian Croats during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia. They are charged
with crimes against humanity, serious breaches of the Geneva conventions and violations of the laws and customs
of war, committed against Muslim civilians from several areas in central Bosnia.

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 67

This strategy of voluntary transfer did obviously not work out in the case of
General Gotovina, who had been on the run since the indictment was published in
summer 2001. In the end, the Gotovina case became the only, yet decisive problem
with regard to fulfilling the political criteria of full cooperation with ICTY. The
ICTY’s Chief Prosecutor until spring 2005, Carla del Ponte, was unconvinced that
the Government was playing a sincere game and trying to do everything to locate
and arrest Gotovina. Therefore, on 16 March 2005, based on Carla del Ponte’s
assessment that full cooperation is not achieved, 10 the European Council decided to
postpone the start of accession negotiations with Croatia.

It was only after this negative Council decision that the Government undertook a
number of measures to step up efforts to locate Gotovina (investigating Gotovina’s
support network, introducing structural and staff changes in the secret services, etc).
Apparently, these efforts were convincing enough for Carla del Ponte to report to the
EU Croatia’s full cooperation. 11 This prompted the European Council on 3 October
to decide to open negotiations with Croatia.

The arrest of Gotovina on 7 December 2005 on the Canary Islands and his trans-
fer to The Hague, eventually, put an end to the ‘Gotovina saga’. Regardless of the
outcome of the trial, it is good for Croatia that it can now focus on accession nego-
tiations without being burdened by the Gotovina sword of Damocles (it should be
borne in mind that the European Council decision of October 2005 to open acces-
sion negotiations included a pre-emptive clause, saying that negotiations can be sus-
pended at any time should it be established that the full cooperation with the ICTY
that led to the tracking down and arrest of Gotovina, is not maintained).

10 It should be mentioned that the EC, as well as the EU member states, in evaluating the political criteria of coop-

eration with the ICTY, decided to rely fully on the assessment of the ICTY Chief Prosecutor. One could argue
whether or not it was the right decision to refrain from forming its own assessment. However, as the EC, for
instance, has no intelligence service on their own, there seemed to be no other option.
11 According to media reports, Croatian State Prosecutor Bajic provided Carla del Ponte in a meeting in autumn

2005 in Zagreb with clear evidence that Gotovina was hiding outside of Croatia.

68 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe
Martin MAYER

Whereas the fulfilment of the Copenhagen Political Criteria is the basic prereq-
uisite for EU accession, the ability to cope with the economic challenges of EU
membership and the ability to develop the administrative capacity to implement
the acquis communitaire, i.e. the joint EU legislation, are of equal importance. It is
not enough just to incorporate the acquis communitaire into national legislation.
What is crucial is to ensure its effective application through appropriate administra-
tive and judicial structures.

In the EC opinion of April 2004, Croatia is acknowledged as a “functioning mar-
ket economy” with “macroeconomic stability”.12 However, according to the EC
Progress Report of November 2005, “significant external and fiscal imbalances
imply potential risks to the macroeconomic stability. Therefore, fiscal consolidation
needs to be further strengthened and effectively backed by structural measures, in
particular in the area of subsidies and social transfers. The development of a more
vivid private sector and foreign direct investment has been hampered by complex
rules and deficiencies in public administration and courts as well as by slow mar-
ket entry and exit procedures. The enforcement of property and creditor rights con-
tinues to be undermined by an inefficient judiciary. State interventions in the econ-
omy remain significant and little progress has been made with respect to the restruc-
turing of large state-owned enterprises, in particular in the shipbuilding, steel and
energy sector. The strengthening of financial discipline of state-owned enterprises
remains a particular economic policy challenge. In order to enhance its competi-
tiveness and to improve the prospects for sustained investment and growth, Croatia
needs to address the identified weaknesses and problems with determination.”13

With regard to the ability to implement the acquis communitaire, there is still
too little administration capacity in many fields (institutions to regulate and/or
supervise e.g. market competition, food safety, environmental pollution, border con-

12 Commission of the European Communities: Opinion on Croatia's Application for Membership of the European

Union. COM(2004) 257 final; Brussels, 20.4.2004, p.54
13 European Commission: Croatia 2005 Progress Report. SEC (2005) 1424. Brussels, 9 November 2005, p. 47

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 69

trol, etc.). In this respect, a lot needs still to be done. And this is exactly what the dif-
ferent pre-accession funds are for. Under PHARE, ISPA and SAPRD, Croatia is
allocated for 2005 and 2006 €245 million. 14 This financial support will be stepped
up in the following years under the IPA (Integrated Pre-accession Instrument)

Although preparation for EU accession requires a number of painful reforms in
many fields (e.g. judiciary, public procurement, agriculture) there is no doubt that
this process will have a stabilising effect not only for Croatia, but also for the whole

* *

14 PHARE concerns institution-building and economic and social cohesion (€80 million in 2005 and €80 million

in 2006). ISPA is for the development of environment and transport infrastructures (€25 million in 2005 and €35
million in 2006), and SAPARD for rural development (€25 million in 2006).

70 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe
December 15th, 2005 Istanbul



At the end of 2005 Balkan countries moved significantly closer to the European
Union. Croatia and Turkey began accession negotiations in October, Serbia and
Montenegro and Bosnia Herzegovina began negotiations in October and November,
respectedly, that should lead to the signing of the Stabilisation and Association
Agreements (SAA), and Macedonia in mid-December became official candidate for
EU membership.

Could the process continue in the same way, and with the same pace, in future,
in the region as a whole? How will the balance between the achievements of the
Western Balkan countries and challenges they are facing influence their future Euro-
Atlantic integration? What will it take to solve the remaining few but big unresolved
issues in the central part of the Western Balkans? These are the topics that will be
dealt with, in this order, in the text that follows.
*By Dr. Jovan Teokarevic, University of Belgrade

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 71

Up and up again?

Never before have more countries from the region moved up the ladder of Euro-
Atlantic integration in a more simultaneous way, reaching nevertheless different lev-
els of integration, because of the different starting points (for details see tables 1 and 2).

Table 1 - Western Balkan countries and the EU: Stabilisation and Association Process

72 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

Table 2 - Balkans: EU and NATO memberships

Short-term prospects look equally good. By the end of 2006, most countries will
be able to make another step up. Serbia and Montenegro and Bosnia and
Herzegovina are capable of closing the SAA negotiations by then, it is estimated
both in Brussels and in those countries’ capitals. Albania is expected to sign the
Stabilisation and Association Agreement even before, i.e. during the first half of
2006, as the first specific “grand step” Western Balkan countries are supposed to
make towards the EU membership. If these plans come true, two countries that had
already signed the SAA (Macedonia and Croatia in 2001), will be joined by the three
remaining ones, and this chapter of the region’s EU integration will be hopefully

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 73

By the same time, in a year from now, perhaps at the European Council in
December 2006, Macedonia might be offered the date of the beginning of the acces-
sion negotiations. The actual EU accession date for Bulgaria and Romania will have
to be set in Spring 2006, but January 1st, 2007 is a very realistic target according to
most analytical predictions.

All this means that after a very significant move in the EU integration at the end
of 2005, the region is perhaps capable of keeping the same ambitious pace, i.e. of
moving resolutely once again, at the end of 2006. If achieved, this success would
from a broader perspective help confirm and cement European perspective of each
and every country in this part of Europe. Although this perspective was offered long
ago to Turkey, and to the Western Balkan countries at the Thessaloniki EU Summit
(in June, 2003), it has been now at least unofficially put in question by some politi-
cal forces and by some EU member states, making a sharp contrast to the bold
moves the EU is currently making in its relations with the Balkan countries.

From many sides Balkan countries are being offered special memberships
instead of full EU membership. Also, further EU enlargement might be considerably
slowed down, in comparison with the previous wave, started with the accession of
ten countries in May 2004, which will end in January 2007 or 2008 with the acces-
sion of Bulgaria and Romania, as EU members Nos. 26 and 27. In addition to all
these discouraging signs, some countries (France) are connecting future member-
ships of the Balkan and other countries (once Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia are in)
with obligatory referendums. Judging by the low popularity of the Balkans coun-
tries’ EU entry (see Table 3), it seems highly unlikely that any of them could attract
the majority of “yes” votes in many years to come.

74 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

Table 3 - Balkans: EU and NATO memberships 1

According to all public opinion polls, including Eurobarometer from mid-2005,
among the old 15 EU members none of the candidate and potential candidate coun-
tries could win majority of affirmative votes among citizens at a referendum that
would be held at this moment. With 48 percent support, Croatia is the closest one to
the fifty-fifty barrier, and also has higher popularity among EU member citizens
than two countries – Bulgaria and Romania - that will soon join. All other Balkan
countries rate 40% or under, from Macedonia with 40%, down to Albania and
Turkey, with 33% and 32% popularity, respectedly.

1Source: Eurobarometer, July 2005

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 75

Ten new EU members have a better attitude towards the Balkan countries’
chances for EU membership: most countries from the region would be welcome to
the club, except for Albania and Turkey which even here do not cross the 50%
threshold. If the results from the old and the new countries are taken together,
Croatia is again the only one which could count on a little more than 50% of the
votes on an immagined referendum (52% to be precise). Bulgaria rates fifty-fifty,
while all the others are below this line: Romania 45%, Macedonia 43%, Bosnia and
Herzegovina 42%, Serbia and Montenegro 40%, Albania 36% and Turkey 35%.

A closer look at Table 2 could offer predictions on the membership perspectives
of the Balkan countries not only in the EU, but also in NATO. Bulgaria and Romania
are added to the Western Balkan countries in the table, in order to show the differ-
ence between the more advanced and the more laggard countries, as well as to see
the roadmap for the latter in a much clearer way. Slovenia could have been present-
ed in the table, too, regardless of the question whether it belongs to the Balkans or
not, but unlike Romania and Bulgaria, it alredy finished its Euro-Atlantic integra-
tion in 2004, together with other post-Communist Central European states.

Table 2 could also be understood as a traffic light turned upside down. Contrary
to the traffic light in the street, the green zone is on top, the yellow one in the mid-
dle and the red one in the bottom. Bulgaria and Romania make the green zone,
because they already joined NATO in 2004, and their accession to the EU cannot be
ruled out; the only variable is whether it will occur at the beginning of January 2006,
or twelve months later. The possible time difference is of no significance, at least in
the context of the comparison we are making here.

The yellow zone consists of Croatia and Macedonia, both of which have made
more progress so far in races towards EU and NATO memberships than the rest of
the Western Balkan competitors from the table, and also have more open Brussels
gates. These two countries were not only the first ones to sign SAAs in 2001 (five
years later they are still the only ones), but are also candidates for EU membership.

76 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

Croatia is an important step ahead, because it has already started accession negotia-
tions, unlike Macedonia that will have to wait a lot until this decision is made.

The NATO integration part of the story looks much brighter for these two, as
well: they are within the Alliance’s Membership Action Plan (MAP), as a kind of
preparatory phase for full NATO membership. Albania belongs to the MAP, too, and
makes with Croatia and Macedonia the (US-sponsored) Adriatic Charter. Albania’s
results are nevertheless less impressive, as well as its perspectives within the
Alliance. In addition, this country – unlike Croatia and Macedonia - has still to sign
the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU, which is why the
proper place for it on table 2 is not the yellow, but rather the red zone.

Albania leads this slowest part of the Western Balkans, with Bosnia-Herzegovina
(BiH) and Serbia and Montenegro (SM) in it. BiH and SM have still not managed
to pass the first NATO step: they are not even members of NATO’s programme
Partnership for Peace (PfP). As for the EU membership, it could be expected only
in the long run from now, and is very difficult to give any firmer predictions. Despite
many challenges, within a very optimistic scenario the whole Western Balkans
might expect to gain both EU and NATO memberships within the next ten years or

Achievements and remaining problems in the Western Balkans

Western Balkans has gone a long way from the military conflicts, chaos, suffer-
ing and despair that marked the 1990s in this part of Europe. Together with inter-
national community, and more specifically with enormous efforts and resources of
the European Union and NATO, a radical move from war to peace was first made,
only to be followed now with the joint move to the European mainstream. In some
areas the pace of change is unexpectedly high, and certainly higher than in post
World War II reconciliation within Western Europe. Let us mention the biggest
achievements and remaining problems in security, politics and economy.

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 77

Security. Perhaps the best proof that the region has genuinely moved far, very
far away from the turbulent 1990s is the fact that despite challenges, and some con-
tradicting signs, most foreign and domestic observers are not expecting new military
conflicts in future. The reconciliation process has advanced, and taken roots; indi-
vuduals, firms and political actors meet in order to cooperate, not to fight. In many
spheres of life, from trade to energy, to infrastructure, to media and culture, differ-
ent cooperation initiatives have prevailed, various fora have been established, many
billateral and multilateal agreements have been signed and regional cooperation – as
one of the prime requirements for the EU integration and for the normalisation of
life – is advancing.

Borders have been relaxed, visa requirements have vanished in most directions,
but not in all. With the exception of Serb refugees from Kosovo, and partly from
Croatia, most other refugees have been able to go back to their homes, or what’s left
of them.

Countries of the region cooperate in security matters, too, despite various levels
of integration within the NATO structures. Security and defence reforms have pro-
gressed with different results, but one has to note that in addition to smaller and
more capable armed forces in all countries (and also under stricter civilian control
than before), in Bosnia former enemies from the war are making now the new uni-
fied Army of the country. Even big optimists could not predict such things a decade
ago, when Dayton and Paris Accords November-December, 1995) put an end to the
war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Despite all positive and important achievements, stability and security in some
parts of the Western Balkans are still not self-sustainable, as evidence from mass
Albanian attacks on Serbs in Kosovo in March 2004 suggests. Peace and stability in
those and some other areas are still to a large degree still possible due first of all to
the heavy presence of international troops. Their number keeps going down, to be
sure, and further reductions are being made, except in the case of Kosovo.

78 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

Unlike in other corners of Europe, Western Balkans has still not left behind the
nation-state building. Several nations are still striving to make their own nation
states, and consequently break the existing complicated institutional arrangements,
created in the region, that are preventing that. From that perspective, Western
Balkans is facing a much more complex transition than Central Europe - a triple one,
in fact, that includes more traditional simultaneous political and economic reforms,
but also nation-state building.

Although the number of non-state, not-defined territories has been reduced in the
last years, some are still there, plaguing the atmosphere, and undermining the
achievement in security. Several existing borders between states still remain unrec-
ognized and challenged from many sides and actors.

What contributes to the lack of complete security is the fact that the region has
unfortunately more than one weak state, with low administrative capacities, that do
not allow democratically elected governments to fight properly many of the inherit-
ed problems. Thus, organized crime and corruption keep threatening “the unfinished
peace” in the Balkans in a profound way. Alliances between the criminals and state
structures operate regardless of borders, which is why the threat is spread in a gen-
uinely regional way, and asks consequently for wider regional cures.

Despite repeated actions and ambitious programmes, a lot of weapons still
remain hidden, in possession not only of citizens, but more importantly of criminal
groups, ready to reemerge in times of crisis. Illegal trade of weapons is part of a con-
traband world that includes the same kind of trade in drugs and human beings.

Nations that had been engaged in wars in the past decade have not yet faced in a
critical way their recent past, and have not done enough to bring to justice those who
committed war crimes. Although Croatia made a big step forward, this task is still
far from being finished in this country, let alone in Serbia and Bosnia, that in a much
more profound way still do not fully cooperate with the Hague Trubunale for war

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 79

crimes in former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The size of the problem is seen best from the
perspective of the obstacle that such behaviour is making to the Euro-Atlantic inte-
gration of the two countries. Neither of them could proceed further towards the EU
and NATO membership because of this reason, or more precisely because govern-
ments have not been willing to impose this issue resolutely in the public, and to take
responsibility for the much wanted action.

Politcs. All Western Balkan countries have to a great degree stabilized their
political institutions, and brought back political process into them. All have now free
and fair elections, too. The respect of human and minority rights has essentially
increased in most countries. Well-known Freedom House ratings put all Balkan
countries into the second best group – democracies with some level of consolida-
tion. Above them are all new EU members from Central Europe, and beneath them
– three more categories. Within the first one - transition governments, or hybrid
regimes – one finds only Bosnia from the Balkans, together with Moldova, Ukraine,
Armenia, Georgia and Russia. The second, even worse group, are autocracies, and
the third – consolidated autocracies, and former Soviet non-European states are
members of both categories.

Positive trends in politics of Western Balkan countries notwithstanding, one can
observe the negative ones, too. There still exists the lack of general consensus on
few basic values and procedures that make democracy work properly. In other
words, there are dangerous divisions along political, administrative, ethnic, religious
and regional lines, that prevent further consolidation of democracy, or at least a nor-
mal functioning of institutions. This is accompanied by the rise of new, or survival
of old anti-systemic parties, and increased popularity of nationalistic and populistic

Civil society is still weak, in some cases weaker than in used to be when former
authoritarian systems were being dismantled. Of all actors, political parties have
changed the least, which also means that they want to keep monopoly on the polit-

80 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

ical market, pushing civil society organisations out. Media are either not free com-
pletely, or are condemned to extinction in chaotic circumstances created by vested
economic and political interests.

Rule of law is often more of an ideal than a reality. Parliaments are slow in pass-
ing good laws, and governments in implementing them, but even more importantly
/ the judicial sector has remained mostly unreformed, under heavy political influ-
ence, and the same is true for all law-enforcing agencies. Civilian control over the
police and the armed forces has taken roots, but has not progressed enough.

Economy. The past several years have witnessed big recovery of the Western
Balkan national economies, that had been crippled during the 1990s, not only
because of direct war damage, but also indirectly, in many ways (UN and EU sanc-
tions against Serbia and Montenegro, lack of foreign investment…). All of them are
currently having very high levels of growth (4-5% or even more at a year level), but
some of them are still unable to achieve the level of growth they used to have before
the wars of the 1990s. The whole region is, it should be noted, pretty insignificant
in economic terms: total GDP of all countries equals the one of Greece, for instance.

Trade relations among countries are growing, strenghtening regional economic
cooperation that has been missing very much until now, with the EU as the most
important trade partner in case of each individual state. From the EU perspective,
the whole Western Balkans is far from being an important partner: total exports to
the EU, and total imports from there, taken together, represent only one per cent of
the total EU trade, with all countries in the world. Foreign investments are growing
from one year to another, but are still lower on per capita basis than those in Central
European states. Investments from abroad are unevenly distributed, in harmony with
great differentiation in economic development and incomes between the countries
of the region. Investments to Croatia account for alsmost 60% of all foreign invest-
ments in the region. Croatia is also several times more developed and has several
times higher GDP than Albania, or Kosovo.

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 81

Despite significant economic recovery, the region as a whole is on 20-30% level
of development in comparison with the EU average. It is also still the least devel-
oped part of Europe, outside the territory of the former Soviet Union.
Unemployment remains very high, and is the biggest challenge for many years to
come, while the inflation has been mostly under control.

The analysis presented here offers a picture of the region that is very different
from what it used to be ten years ago, and has potential to be much more different
in ten years from now.

Western Balkans vs. EU and NATO parallel enlargements

States like Serbia-Montenegro and other Western Balkan countries, that are late
in Euro-Atlantic integration, share one common problem. By the time they get to the
EU and NATO doors that should open the way for their long-awaited memberships,
they realize that these organizations have in the meantime changed, together with
the regional and global contexts. Once they are eventually granted access and their
membership cards, they see they’ve become part of a group that looks like some-
thing they’ve been targetting for a long time, but is not exactly that. This realization
is usually followed by the question on whether the benefits are bigger than the price
payed. Disappointments often replace hyper-inflated and unrealistic expectations.
Why is this so?

First of all, our goals – the EU and NATO as symbols of better alliances than our
previous ones – naturally change from within in harmony with new global and local
dynamics and challenges. The North Atlantic Alliance was thus created half a cen-
tury ago, in order «to keep the Americans in, Soviets out and Germans down». This
formula for the protection of Western Europe from both the Nazi and the Communist
threats managed to safeguard the «free world», and the whole world indeed, from
yet another world war, and finally triumphed peacefully fifteen years ago over the
crumbling Soviet empire.

82 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

A decade ago, when NATO’s programme Partnership for Peace was launched,
former Soviet satelites rushed enthusiastically towards NATO’s opened arms,
expecting a permanent security protection from Russia, in case this country would
change its new course of cooperation and integration with the West. And while most
of East and Central European countries were still travelling towards NATO mem-
bership, instead of that threat that has in the meantime disappeared, a new one was
suddenly born: global terrorism that stroke the US first, and then other parts of the
world, including Europe. Adjusting to such a change, NATO’s ship has changed the
course, counting seriously on Russia and other states as partners in global battles
that have only begun.

This is how new NATO members found themselves, instead in the protected zone
under the Alliance’s umbrella, as they expected, on the hot soil of Afghanistan and
Iraq, facing great challenges, suffering human losses and being hardly capable of
coping with the growing dissatisfaction of its citizens at home. Many old and impor-
tant European NATO allies of the United States failed to support Washington in its
military campaign against Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein. This division among the
allies put new members and aspirants for NATO membership in a very difficult posi-
tion to chose between two sides of something that used to be one, and that those
countries still want to see as one.

To make things even more complicated, the US as the backbone of the Alliance,
has practically given up NATO in the Iraq war, preaching instead a new philosophy,
according to which the mission defines the allies, not the other way round as before.
NATO has thus found itself marginalized because of the reborn American unilater-
alism, and to a great extent also sacrificed for the US intererests. All this happened
on the eve of the biggest enlargement that NATO has ever had in its history: seven
Central and East European countries joined the Alliance in 2004, following the first
three ones that had accomplished the same in 1999.

A serious row surrounding the Iraq war between some European countries and

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 83

the US has in the meantime disappeared, and misunderstandings were also official-
ly burried at the NATO Istanbul summit, in June, 2004. It is still unclear, however,
whether preemptive actions (as the main point of the transatlantic dispute) – with-
out prior consensus among all NATO members - have been delegitimized or not, and
whether from now on allies will determine the mission (like until few years ago) or

In other words, it is still not certain whether NATO has ended the creation of its
new image, i.e. whether it has finally found the identity and raison d’etre it has been
looking for ever since the end of the bipolar world.

For all of us that are eager to join this organization only now, at least two new
circumstances are important in this context. Both of them have become obvious
despite changes that NATO has gone or will go through by the time we knock on its
door. The first one is the new image of Europe after the parallel and almost identi-
cal enlargements of the European Union and NATO, and the second one – a region-
al (Balkan) and internal political aspect of our future membership in Partnership for
Peace, and in NATO.

New zone of stability, security and prosperity

Two parallel enlargements have brought a new quality to the Old Continent: a
unique zone of stability, security and prosperity to most of the European territory.
Western Balkans and the majority of ex-Soviet republics are still out of this zone as
non-memebers, but both of these two groups of countries are firmly oriented in this
direction and essentially interested in becoming part of it. This is exactly what some
pre-membership programmes have been created for, in order to facilitate internal
reforms and harmonization, preparing countries for eventual full membership.
NATO’s Partnership for Peace has several counterparts - similar programmes of the
European Union (Stabilisation and Association Process, EU neighborhood policy...)
and they all make together a network of relationships of a new kind.

84 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

This EU-NATO zone in Europe does not recognise the division of labor that
existed in the past: EU is not only paying for the security provided by the United
States, while NATO and the US, on the other hand, perform much more functions
than the security one. Economy, politics and security are thus intertwinned for the
first time in a new way and in principle they strengthen each other. States and soci-
eties are more secure if they are also members of the European Union, while they
have more chances of attracting foreign investments if they are in NATO’s orbite.

The same is true for the Balkans, as well, or will become completely true when
our region one day becomes fully covered with EU-NATO strings. The latest indi-
cator of this type came from the NATO Istanbul Summit, where NATO agreed to
allow the EU to take over the military mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In addition to that, the two organizations have made the biggest steps in common
action exactly because of and for the Balkans, and all that happened during the very
bitter and unprecedented transatlantic dispute they had. For the first time offical
institutional ties between the Alliance and the Union are being built, primarely in
order for the Balkan mission to succeed, despite so many challenges. It is equally
clear to them and to us in the Balkans that the formula for success in this part of
Europe lies in their joint action. Without that, the loser will not be only the Balkans,
but all of us in Europe together.

Last, but not least, our alliance with the European Union and NATO is crucial for
us also for internal political reasons. Much more than many domestic factors, this
alliance guarantees the success of the reforms that we would have to perform for our
sake anyway, even if our two key allies had not existed. In other words, only with-
in such a context – EU and NATO orbite and eventually memberships – we could
hope that consolidated democracy and market economy will be our destiny, as well.
No country similar to ours has managed to do this on its own, and the same is true
for the Western Balkan countries. That’s why Euro-Atlantic integration is to remain
our true priority, rather than a slogan used in domestic political infighting.

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 85

EU and NATO together towards the remaining Balkan challenges

Common and determined action of the EU and NATO in the Balkans will remain
crucial for the solution of the few but significant remaining security and political
challenges in our region. Despite a great deal of stabilisation and improvement in all
domains, achieved in the aftermath of military conflicts of the 1990s, at least three
issues still remain unresolved, threatening to plague the region and prevent it from
further prosperity. All three of them have to do with the state and nation building:
firstly, Bosnia and Herzegovina is still to be made a functional state; secondly, a
framework of permanent relations between Montenegro and Serbia have to be deter-
mined, possibly after the referendum for independence in Montenegro; and, thirdly,
a future status of Kosovo should be found, too.

Neither of the solutions will be easy to find, but it seems certain that none of
them will be found without a dedicated engagement of the international communi-
ty, within which a joint action of two key players, the EU and NATO, is essential.
The need for a coordinated EU-NATO approach and joint action stems from sever-
al reasons.

The first of them is very simple and equally convincing: who else is capable of
such an endevour but those leading global players, that have already committed
themselves and contributed so much in the Balkans during the last decade and a
half? This point is furhter strenghtened by the fact that the two seem to think strate-
gically in the same way about the Balkans. This was clearly expressed in their
«Concerted approach for the Western Balkans», from July, 2003. This important
document states that NATO and the EU share a common vision for the future of the
Western Balkans: “self-sustaining stability based on democratic and effective gov-
ernment structures and a viable free market economy, leading to further rapproche-
ment towards European and Euro-Atlantic structures”.

Further on, as it was already mentioned, EU and NATO established their official

86 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

institutional ties for the first time exactly because of the Balkans. The so-called
“Berlin plus arrangements” became the essence of such a cooperation. EU-NATO
joint Declaration of December, 2002 puts it like this: “Where NATO as a whole is
not engaged, the EU, in undertaking an operation, will choose whether or not to have
recourse to NATO assets and capabilities, taking into account in particular the
Alliance’s role, capacities, and involvement in the region in question. That process
will be conducted through the “Berlin plus” arrangements.”

Another reason for the two to keep joint engagement in the region draws on their
common success in dealing with the region’s crisis, as a pool of important lessons
for the future. Balkan wars from the 1990s could not have been stopped without a
creative cooperation of the EU and NATO, as symbols of one predominantly soft
and the other predominantnly hard power, not only during the conflicts, but also in
the post-conflict period.

Joint action might still work also because it corresponds to the nature of the
Balkan crisis, or to the remaining problems, three of which are most important:
unfinished nation and state building, economic underdevelopment and still not fully
consolidated democratic regimes. Although regional ownership is key to solving all
the issues, taken together these issues could be best addressed in cooperation with
the two actors in question, that would be guided by one and the same platform.

Western Balkans could also profit from the spillover of the already mentioned
zone of stability, security and prosperity in recently created in East and Central
Europe by joint efforts of the EU and NATO.

Although the Balkans ceased to be the priority of the US policy, there is still an
ample place and need for its engagement in this region. The outgoing US could very
well match at this particular moment with the incoming EU as the next prevailing
force and agent of change in the Balkans.

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 87

Last, but not least, the EU and NATO should finish together a common job in the
Balkans because some Balkan nations would prefere NATO or the US to dominate
in the process, while some other would rather see the EU in the driving seat.

It is important to understand this list not as wishful thinking, but as a result of a
realistic analysis. If the cooperation and firm joint standing of the two key actors
lacks in near future, and if it is not coupled with equally dedicated efforts of the
nations and states in the Balkans, a unique chance for the Europeanization of the
Balkans might be lost.

* *

88 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe
December 15th, 2005 Istanbul


Bertil Emrah ÖDER*


This paper highlights the constitutional dimension of the accession process from
stand point of a national constitution. It will, through the concepts of “transforma-
tion” and “resistance”, introduce the constitutional impact of Europeanization on
Turkey.1 The first part, on transformation, follows a descriptive approach, concen-
trating on the content of constitutional amendments, while the second part, on resist-
ance, inclines towards a normative analysis of the challenges.
*Bertil Emrah ÖDER, Associate Professor of Constitutional Law, Istanbul University, Faculty of Law.
1 Views expressed in the present paper are based on previous essays of the author. For detailed references on the

subject see Oder, B. E., Enhancing the Human Face of Constitution through Accession Partnership, in Turkey - the

Road Ahead?, The Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Dunér, Bertil (Ed.), (Stockholm: The Swedish Institute
of International Affairs, 2001), pp. 72-104: also available under (please click "Documents
Online"); Oder, B. E., Übertragung von Hoheitsrechten im Spannungsverhältnis zur nationalen Souveränität -

Verfassungsrechtliche Vorgaben und verfassýngspolitischer Änderungsbedarf, in Deutsch-Türkisches Forum für
Staatsrechtslehre III, Depenheuer, O. / Dogan, I. / Can, O. (Hrsg.), (Berlin: LIT Verlag, 2006 ), pp. 75-100.

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 89
Bertil Emrah ÖDER

Constitutional Transformation through Constitutional Amendments

On 3 October 2001, the General Assembly of the Turkish Parliament approved
by a qualified majority the proposal package for a constitutional amendment, which
intends to provide new political perspectives and to comply with the obligations
arising from the accession partnership with the European Union (EU). A committee
known as the Inter-Party Constitutional Reconciliation Committee prepared the
draft proposal after a discussion of two years. When the first draft was made public
on 25 May 2001, it was claimed to be the ‘most radical constitutional package’ in
the past 19 years. Civil society, including major associations of employers and trade
unions, as well as the national media welcomed the amendment, which would secure
‘the contemporary standards of the civilized world, peace and freedom, and social
progress’. Commentators described it as ‘the first constitution with a civic charac-
ter’ that could bring Turkey into line with the values common to the member states
of the EU. They supported the resolve of the political actors to amend the constitu-
tion of 1982, which had reflected the authoritarian choices of the military interven-
tion in 1980. As the General Reasoning of the amendment points out, a change of
constitutional paradigm in the field of fundamental rights and freedoms was “indis-
pensable” for the EU accession process. Taking into account the critics and well-
known debate on the illiberal nature of the (1982) Turkish Constitution, transforma-
tion was a necessity on the grounds of pressing social needs and expectations. The
constitutional amendment of 2004 could be regarded as a follow-up to amendments
in 2001, even though it has a limited scope. The constitutional amendment of 2001
and 2004 contains 44 articles, of which 31 relate explicitly to the protection of fun-
damental rights. However, it seems reasonable to concentrate on amendments in the
Preamble and specific articles underlying the change of constitutional paradigm in

(1) As a recognized principle, the preamble is not only a text of political value
revealing the philosophy of the constitution. All constitutional norms are to be inter-
preted and implemented with ‘respect for and absolute loyalty to its letter and spir-

90 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

it’. In other words, the underlying logic of the preamble is an integral part of the
constitution and it has supreme constitutional value for the interpretation and imple-
mentation of the constitutional provisions. The preamble of the constitution of 1982
speaks of patriotic ‘ideas, beliefs and resolutions’ and constitutional principles such
as popular sovereignty, the supremacy of the constitution and the rule of law, the
separation of powers, the unitary state and the right to self-development ‘under the
aegis of national culture, civilization and the rule of law’. The constitutional pack-
age of 2001 amends paragraph 5 of the preamble. That paragraph eliminated the pro-
tection of ‘thoughts and opinions’ which are contrary to four categories of values:
‘Turkish national interests; the principle of the existence of Turkey as an indivisible
entity with its state and territory; Turkish historical and moral values; and the nation-
alism, and principles, reforms and modernism of Atatürk’. The package replaces the
phrase ‘thoughts and opinions’ with ‘activities’. The amendment to the preamble is
significant in that it determines limits to the freedom of statement and of association.
It is clear that the term ‘activities’ is an improvement in favor of freedom of state-
ment compared with ‘thoughts and opinions’. Nevertheless, ‘activities’ can be com-
posed of cumulative and deliberate ‘expressions’ against the values and principles
set forth in the preamble.

(2) The core of the amendment package relates to general principles for the
restriction of fundamental rights and freedoms. Before the amendment, article 13 of
the constitution has a general clause stating the grounds and principles for the
restriction of all kinds of rights and freedoms. The general grounds were: ‘The indi-
visible integrity of the state with its territory and nation, national sovereignty, the
Republic, national security, public order, general peace, the public interest, public
morals and public health’. Furthermore, article 13/3 read as follows: ‘The general
grounds for restriction set forth in this article shall apply for all fundamental rights
and freedoms’.

This model provided a restriction oriented paradigm, since the overwhelming
majority of the specific provisions for the classic rights and freedoms prescribed

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 91
Bertil Emrah ÖDER

specific grounds for restriction. The Constitutional Court stressed that not only spe-
cific grounds for the restriction of the freedom of statement, such as ‘preventing
crimes or punishing offenders’, but also general grounds, such as ‘public morals or
the indivisible integrity of the state with its territory and nation’, could justify the
restriction of freedom of statement.2 Moreover, the specific provisions on rights and
freedoms which did not prescribe specific restriction grounds were to be interpreted
in the light of the general restrictions. Consequently, the freedom to claim rights and
the right of petition, which do not contain specific restriction grounds, could be
restricted with reference to general restriction grounds. The constitutional amend-
ment reformulates article 13 on restriction of fundamental rights and freedoms. It
alters the most disputed feature of the Turkish constitutional paradigm, namely the
cumulative restriction dynamic, which was achieved by general and specific grounds
of restriction. The new version of article 13 prescribes that the fundamental rights
and freedoms shall be restricted only in accordance with the specific grounds con-
tained in the relevant provisions of fundamental rights and freedoms.

Before the constitutional amendment, article 13 prescribed the principles that
were to be considered in restriction cases and constitutional review. The rights and
freedoms could be restricted ‘by law’ and ‘in conformity with the letter and spirit of
the constitution’. General and specific grounds for restrictions should not conflict
with ‘the requirements of the democratic order of the society’. They should not be
imposed ‘for any purpose other than those for which they are prescribed’. This final
clause was interpreted as an indication of principle of proportionality by the
Constitutional Court. The amendment provided that the restrictions shall not be con-
trary to the ‘letter and spirit of the constitution’, the ‘requirements of democratic
social order and the secular Republic’ and the ‘principle of proportionality’. Here,
the interpretation of constitutional case-law was respected and the principle of pro-
portionality was explicitly mentioned in article 13. Taking into account judge-made
law, the amendment also provided that restriction shall not impair the ‘core’ of the
rights and freedoms. This term amounts to the Wesensgehaltgarantie of the right in
2 E. 1989/1, K. 1989/12, K.t. 7 March 1989, AYMKD 25, p. 150.

92 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

terms of German constitutional order, which was also adopted by the Turkish
Constitution of 1961. The amendment limits restrictions and establishes the princi-
ples for the legislation and constitutional review.

(3) Article 14 of the constitution prohibits the abuse of fundamental rights and
freedoms. The amendment reformulates article 14 and shortens the forms of abuse.
Before the amendment of 2001, article 14/1 prescribed several forms of abuse of
fundamental rights and freedoms:

Violating the indivisible integrity of the state with its territory and nation, endan-
gering the existence of the Turkish state and Republic, destroying fundamental
rights and freedoms, placing the government of the state under the control of an indi-
vidual or a group of people, establishing the hegemony of one social class over oth-
ers, creating discrimination on the basis of language, race, religion or sect, or estab-
lishing by any other means a system of government based on these concepts and
ideas. The amendment prohibits ‘activities’ which aim at destroying the ‘indivisible
integrity of the state with its territory and nation, and the democratic and secular
state based on human rights’. It is apparent that in the amendment the forms of abuse
are not described in detail. The values protected by article 14/1 are defined in accor-
dance with some of the irrevocable characteristics of the republic. The new version
of article 14/2 follows the wording and purpose of article 17 of the European
Convention. The distinctive feature of the amendment is the extension of the
addressees. According to the amendment, the prohibition of abuse extends explicit-
ly to the state. None of the constitutional provisions may be interpreted as implying
for the state or persons any right to engage in ‘activities’ aimed at the destruction of
constitutional rights and freedoms or at their limitation to a greater extent than is
provided for in the constitution.

(4) Constitutional amendment of 2004 is of specific importance for the abolition
of the death penalty, international human rights instruments and gender equality.
The constitutional debate during the amendment procedure in 2001 revealed the

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 93
Bertil Emrah ÖDER

political reluctance with regard to the death penalty. The amendment in 2001 as to
the principles relating to offences and penalties introduced a provision limiting the
cases where the death penalty can be applied. It could be applied in time of war or
an imminent threat of war and for crimes of terrorism. Recognition of the death
penalty for acts committed in time of war and of imminent threat of war was in com-
pliance with protocol 6 to the European Convention of Fundamental Rights and
Freedoms. As regards crimes of terrorism, protocol 6 does not provide any justifi-
cation grounds for the death penalty. Through the amendment of 2004, the death
penalty was abolished.

As to gender equality, Article 10 of the Constitution is amended. Now, Article 10
makes it possible to discuss the positive obligation of the State as regards
implementing gender equality in Turkey. The State is under a duty to achieve gender
equality through specific norms and social policy measures. After the first period of
the republican era which improved the status of women through law and action
programs, gender equality as policy choice has been neglected and even conceived
as a marginal issue. For a long period, gender mainstreaming was out of discussion
for political elites as well as constitutional lawyers. During the amendment
procedure of Article 10, the People’s Republican Party (CHP) proposed a more
effective provision which emphasized the State’s duty to promote equality and
referred to a more effective state’s action. It has been also suggested to adopt the
formulation which is stipulated in article 4 (1) of the Convention on Elimination of
All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). CEDAW acknowledges the
introduction of temporary and specific measures. These proposals were regarded as
“unnecessary” and not adopted. However, positive and constitutional obligation of
the State to implement gender equality is to be interpreted pursuant to CEDAW in
any case, since Turkey is party to it since 1985 and eliminated its reservations.

Strengthening the binding status and effective implementation of international
human rights instruments, Article 90 of Constitution on international agreements
has been complemented through a specific clause.3 In case of contradiction between

94 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

international agreements regarding basic rights and freedoms approved through
proper procedure and domestic laws, due to different provisions on the same issue,
the provisions of international agreements shall be considered. Even though in con-
stitutional and administrative case-law international human rights instruments were
among the sources of law for a long period of time,4 the amendment provides a clear
and specific ground to ignore the national norms against international human rights
standards. This would also raise the political attentiveness as regards universal stan-
dards of human rights and adoption of proper national legislation.

Constitutional Resistance: Problems of Implementation and Sovereignty

Through the amendments, the constitutional framework of further legislation has
been established as provided in the National Programs prepared in 2001 and 2003. 5
As revised Accession Partnership documented, constitutional deficits including
effective protection of fundamental rights still fall within the scope of short-term
priorities.6 It is remarkable that there is no consensus in the Turkish Parliament as
to limiting parliamentary immunity, which is regarded as an instrument of anti-cor-
ruption policy, in line with European practice. The same is true also for financing
and auditing political parties. Despite the higher status of international human rights

3 In 2001 The General Assembly of Parliament rejected article 32 of the proposal which provided for the suprema-

cy of international agreements in cases where they conflicted with the laws. Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Anayasasýnýn
Bazý Maddelerinin Degistirilmesi Hakkýnda Kanun, Kanun no. 4709, Kabul Tarihi: 3 October 2001, at (7.10.2001).
4 See, e.g., E. 1987/1, 1987/18, K.t. 11 September 1987, AYMKD 23, 305/307; E. 1993/4, K. 1995/1, K.t. 19 July

1995, AYMKD 33/2, p. 635; E. 1995/1, K. 1996/1, K.t. 19 March 1996, AYMKD 33/2, pp. 722-724; E. 1997/1, K.
1998/1, K.t. 16 January 1998, AYMKD 34/2, p. 1034; E. 1997/62, K. 1998/52, K.t. 16 September 1998, AYMKD
36/1, p. 271; E. 1999/10, K. 1999/22, K.t. 7 June 1999, AYMKD 36/1, p. 492. The Fifth Chamber of the Council
of State recognized the supremacy of international agreements over national law in a decision in 1991. See E.
1986/1723, K. 1991/933, Danýþtay Dergisi, Sayý: 84-85, 1992, pp. 325-328.
5 The Turkish National Program for the Adoption of the Acquis, 'Political criteria' (unofficial translation), para. 1,

see (20.10.2001); Türkiye Ulusal Programý, 23.6.2003 tarih ve 2003/5930 sayýlý Bakanlar
Kurulu kararý, RG 24.7.2003, Sy. 25178 Mükerrer.
6 Council Decision 2006/35/EC on the principles, priorities and conditions contained in the Accession Partnership

with Turkey, OJ L 22, 26.1.2006, pp. 34-50.

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 95
Bertil Emrah ÖDER

instruments in conflict of laws, Turkey has difficulties to implement the judgments
of European Court of Human Rights, such as Ünal Tekeli v. Turkey, where the obli-
gation for women to bear their husband’s surname – even if they can put their maid-
en name in front of it – has no objective and reasonable justification. 7 Ineffective
application of ILO Conventions and non-ratification of Protocol No. 12 of the
European Convention on Non-discrimination and Protocol to the UN Convention
against Torture are to be pointed out as human rights deficits. As to freedom of
expression, implementation of legal reforms in line with the case-law of the
European Court of Human Rights has to be ensured. Especially, prosecution of non-
violent expression of opinion represents a specific problem. Constitutionally sup-
ported gender equality has not been implemented by legislation. Here, national
authorities fail to promote the role of women in society, including their education
and participation in the political life and labor market.

In implementation process of National Programs as a positive response to
Commission’s Progress Reports and Accession Partnership Decisions, there has
been nationwide debate on the so-called “adoption laws”. However, rather than dis-
cussing the implementation process at political level, a group of MPs preferred to
challenge the “adoption laws” though a plea of unconstitutionality. It is the first sign
of a constitutional resistance that should to be reviewed by the Constitutional Court
on the basis judicial arguments.8 The adoption laws in question relate to the follow-
ing subjects: abolition of death penalty for terror crimes; extension of property rights
for non-Muslim religious communities; right to retrial in line with the judgments of
the European Court of Human Rights; radio/TV broadcasting and private teaching
of languages other than Turkish, namely languages and dialects traditionally spoken
in certain regions of Turkey. Most of those subjects of legislation dealt with hard
core political issues where reconciliation was hardly achieved after years of terror
and fear of separatism. As to retrial in line with the judgments of European Court of
Human Rights, the plaintiffs alleged that such a remedy is against national sover-

7 Ünal Tekeli v. Turkey, Application no. 29865/96, Fourth Section, 16 November 2004, par. 66.
8 E. 2002/146, K. 2002/201, K.t. 27 December 2002, AYMKD 39/I, Ankara, 2004, p. 295.

96 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

eignty and independence of judiciary as prescribed by the Constitution. The very
essence of their argument was the transfer of national sovereignty -in so far it relates
to the national judiciary- to the European Court of Human Rights. Nevertheless, the
Constitutional Court rejected the argument on the ground that there is no interven-
tion as to national procedural law since the competent court may approve its previ-
ous verdict depending on the legal circumstances submitted. 9 In any case, the judges
should deliver the judgment in conformity with the Constitution, statutes and the
law, and confirming with their conviction –as provided by article 138 of the
Constitution. The Constitutional Court also stated that judiciary power is not trans-
ferred and independence of justice could not be impaired. From point of constitu-
tional reasoning, it is remarkable the Court simply overturns the nationalistic logic
of allegations. However, it does not deeply elaborate the constitutional grounds
which would justify the rejection, such as openness of constitution to the internation-
al human rights instruments.

In Turkish constitutionalism, the role of sovereignty in the light of growing inter-
dependence among the states has been recognized in early 60s.10 During the consti-
tutional debate after military intervention in 1960, the so-called Istanbul Draft pre-
pared by the prominent academics proposed the constitutional review of internation-
al agreements and prohibited the ratification of unconstitutional agreements. This
approach was adopted with limited modification in the representative body of con-
stitutional convention. Against such an adoption, there was a motion proposing
qualified majorities in constitutional amendment procedure should be also applied
for unconstitutional international agreements, i.e. the agreements classified by the
Constitutional Court as unconstitutional. It has been argued that such a specific pro-
vision is necessary for future membership of Turkey in European Economic
Community (EEC). At the end, review of constitutionality was eliminated on the

9 E. 2002/146, K. 2002/201, K.t. 27 December 2002, AYMKD 39/I, Ankara, 2004, p. 323.
10 For detailed references on constitutional disputes and facts mentioned in this paragraph see Oder, Übertragung

von Hoheitsrechten im Spannungsverhältnis zur nationalen Souveränität - Verfassungsrechtliche Vorgaben und ver-
fassýngspolitischer Änderungsbedarf, pp. 93-99.

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 97
Bertil Emrah ÖDER

grounds of stability for international relations. It has been provided that -in princi-
ple- the ratification of international agreements shall be subject to adoption by the
Parliament by a law approving the ratification. This principle applies without any
exception for agreements resulting in amendments to Turkish laws. For certain types
of agreements under the conditions prescribed in the Constitution, such as agree-
ments implementing an international treaty, the approval of the Parliament is not
necessary. This system is fully adopted by the constitutional convention after mili-
tary intervention in 1980. However, the discussions in the advisory body of the con-
stitutional convention seem interesting to identify the sensitivities as to sovereignty.
The discussion was based on the Draft of constitutional committee which proposed
a specific provision on transfer of sovereignty. According to article 5 of the Draft,
the membership in international organizations should be regarded as an exception of
national sovereignty. Members of the advisory body could not achieve consensus on
the provision since some of them regarded it as “foreign hypothec”. They also
ignored the explanations that such a provision is a “future clause” for normative
facilitation of accession in the EEC. In the meantime, there have been various con-
stitutional amendment drafts prepared by different platforms. Among the others, the
draft prepared by Social Democrat People’s Party is the most comprehensive text
suggesting referendum for international agreements which prescribe “common exer-
cise of sovereign powers” with the other nations. The Draft does not use the termi-
nology of “transfer”, but the “common exercise” of sovereignty. Moreover, the
addressee of the proposed constitutional norm is not the state, but the “nation” -as
the owner of national sovereignty- under equal circumstances with the other nations
of international community.

As the plea of unconstitutionality mentioned above signals, redefinition of state
sovereignty in foreign affairs will be of significance in case of accession. For rede-
finition, the crucial point is to be emphasized: establishing treaties and the EU
Constitution are based on independence and sovereignty of the Member States.
Treaty of European Union (TEU) imposes an obligation upon the European Union
to respect the national identities of its Member States. Similar approach is clearly

98 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

adopted in the EU Constitution as article I-5 reads: “The union shall respect the
equality of Member States before the constitution as well as their national identities,
inherent in their fundamental structures, political and constitutional, (…).It shall
respect their essential State functions, including ensuring the territorial integrity of
the State, maintaining law and order and safeguarding national security.” Without
falling into traps of nationalism oriented discussions, it seems necessary to provide
a constitutional basis for Turkey’s full membership in the EU. Here, it should be
kept very central that from point of national constitution Turkey’s accession is a
question of democratic legitimacy. Taking into account supranational character of
the EU departed from traditional international organizations and Member State’s
resistance to supremacy of EU law11 , an explicit constitutional clause on EU is to be
accepted. Disguised references such as supranational organizations –as if they are
usual forms in international order- are not appropriate, since they blur democratic
transparency in case of EU. That is the underlying logic of German constitutional
amendment in 1992 –after Maastricht Treaty- containing a specific provision on
European integration. French approach after Maastricht process is a step-by-step
constitutional integration of EU through specific norms. Constitutional provisions
for EU in disguise of “international clauses” observed in new acceding states might
tender Eurosceptics, even though such norms make the EU invisible in constitution-
al order. Terminology as to “transfer” or “common exercise of powers” subject to
principle of subsidiarity as well as referendum is a matter of political choice in con-
stitutional amendment procedure. However, involvement of Turkish Parliament in
decision making process of Community acts by way of notification and direct effect
of Community acts are to be constitutionally secured in a detailed way. To empha-
size the harmony of constitutional values between EU and Turkey and constitution-
al limits of integration, the constitutional clause could refer to basic concordance
between irrevocable principles of Turkish Constitution and EU values as provided
11 In a study based on Friedman Goldstein's method, I remark in years 1958-2003 more than 24 disputes /cases on

Member State's resistance, including judgments of national courts, see for table of resistance Oder, B. E., Avrupa
Birliði'nde Anayasa ve Anayasacýlýk, (Istanbul: Anahtar Kitaplar, 2004), pp. 492-502; for Friedman Goldstein's
method and chronology see Friedman Goldstein, L. Constituting Federal Sovereignty, The European Union in
Comparative Context, (Baltimore & London: The John Hopkins University Press, 2001), pp. 38-40.

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 99
Bertil Emrah ÖDER

in article 6 of TEU. 12


Constitutional transformation process accelerated through accession partnership
in Turkey is to be regarded as a reflection of “Europeanization” for a candidate state.
In case of Turkey, Europeanization and constitutionalism overlap in a sense: consti-
tutional amendments for European standards serve the very essence of constitution-
alism, i.e. limited government. This establishes a vertical and horizontal constitu-
tional homogeneity as regards EU-Turkey relationship. Vertical constitutional
homogeneity emerges between the EU constitutional order and the Turkish constitu-
tion, since Turkey comes closer to the underlying logic of EU constitutional values.
As vertical constitutional homogeneity deepens, Turkey joins the common constitu-
tional culture of EU Member States where a constitutional network based on liber-
al-pluralist values exists. That is horizontal constitutional homogeneity.
Constitutional resistance as a reaction to accession could find constitutional basis if
the EU would not be regarded as a subject or entity that requires democratic legiti-
macy through a solid constitutional basis. The input legitimacy necessitates that EU
and effective implementation of Community acts, including the notification of

12 In the National Program of 2001 the Turkish Government expresses the political will to complete the accession

process 'on the basis of the fundamental principles of the Republic as articulated in the Turkish Constitution'. These
principles are, without any doubt, the structural and irrevocable principles contained in articles 1, 2 and 3 of the con-
stitution. These refer to the form of government as a republic (article 1), the 'characteristics of the republic' (article
2), a unitary state, Turkish as the official language, the flag, the national anthem and Ankara as the capital (article
3). The 'characteristics of the republic' are listed in article 2 of the constitution in a cumulative way as follows: 'The
Republic of Turkey is a democratic, secular and social state governed by the rule of law; bearing in mind the con-
cepts of public peace, national solidarity and justice; respecting human rights; loyal to the nationalism of Atatürk,
and based on the fundamental tenets set forth in the preamble'. The National Program emphasizes that, where the
process of accession to the EU is concerned, those 'fundamental principles' of the constitution imply 'basic concor-
dance' between the constitutional values of the EU countries and Turkey. It says indirectly that through the 'charac-
teristics of the republic' Turkey shares the values that arise from the constitutional traditions of the EU member
states. The program sets out the limits to the changes that EU accession will imply. Those limits are of political
choice, mostly based on historical facts as regards the unitary state, the official language, the flag, the national
anthem and the capital.

100 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

national parliament in the decision making-process, should be clearly identified in
the constitutional text. Here, the EU as a specific integration model should be visi-
ble for the sake of democratic transparency. The complex nature of power distribu-
tion in the EU system under the principle of subsidiarity and majority voting make
it necessary to discuss the constitutional basis of accession in a differentiated man-
ner. The output legitimacy in political discourse, which mainly concentrates on eco-
nomic gains of the future accession, is not satisfactory from a constitutional point of

* *

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 101
December 15th, 2005 Istanbul


Biljana GABER*

Dear Chairman, Your Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen

Please allow me at the beginning to express my sincere thanks to the organizers,
Yildiz Technical University, Department of Political Science & International
Relations, and the Foundation for Middle East & Balkan Studies, for scheduling this
conference on such an important day. Today, the European Council is deciding not
only on approving Macedonia’s candidate status, but also on the entire European
strategy for the Balkans, and therefore on the credibility of the EU, in the region and
Europe as a whole.

The title of my contribution is ‘The Republic of Macedonia’s Way to the EU’. I
could have entitled it ‘The Republic of Macedonia’s Road to the EU’. So, it is not a
linguistic mistake. I did it on purpose because I wanted to make an analogy between
the word ‘Way’ with the ‘one way’ road sign, where a change of direction (for
* Prof.Biljana GABER, Ph.D.University St. Cyril and Methodius Skopje, R. Macedonia

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 103
Biljana GABER

instance, driving in the opposite direction) is unacceptable because it could cause a
crash! This was exactly the way that Republic of Macedonia took immediately after
its independence in September 1991 – to become a member of the EU.

There is no other project in the Republic of Macedonia that has ever enjoyed
such wide political, social and multi-ethnic consensus as the process of EU integra-
tion. Despite numerous challenges that it had to face, especially the crisis in 2001,
the Republic of Macedonia never hesitated in its commitment to achieve this objec-
tive. So, going in this ‘one way’ direction, the country has quickly managed to trans-
form itself from a consumer of international military and political assistance into
generator of stability and cooperation throughout the region.

As the European Stability Initiative (ESI) reported in ‘Moment Of Truth:
Macedonia, the EU Budget and the Destabilisation of the Balkans,’ 14 December
2005 (, Macedonia represents one of the European Union’s most
impressive foreign policy successes. Within a short period, it has moved from the
brink of ethnic war and implemented even the most challenging provisions of the
Ohrid Peace Agreement. To support this process, the EU deployed all the instru-
ments in its Common Foreign and Security Policy: an EU Military Mission, an EU
Police Mission, an influential EU Special Envoy, a European Agency for
Reconstruction and, above all, a credible promise of eventual EU accession. These
efforts are widely recognised as having laid the foundations for a lasting peace.

But, where was the start?

Integration has always been a strategic goal in relations between the Republic of
Macedonia and the EU. This started unofficially in October 1992, when the
Republic of Macedonia appointed its representative in Brussels, and officially on 22
December 1995, when the Republic of Macedonia and the EU established diplomat-
ic relations. In March 1996, the Republic of Macedonia became a partner in the
PHARE Programme and, immediately after that (March 1996), the EU opened

104 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

negotiations with the Republic of Macedonia with a view to signing a broad agree-
ment about for cooperation in the fields of trade, financial arrangements and trans-
port. The culmination was the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA),
signed between the Republic of Macedonia and the European Union on 9 April
2001, within the SAP (Stabilization and Association Process) framework, which
helped western Balkan countries to move to EU accession.

The SAA was a historical event of political, economic and practical significance,
not only for the Republic of Macedonia, but also for the EU. For the Republic of
Macedonia, it conferred potential candidate status, while for the EU it accomplished
the proposed potential membership for western Balkans countries, endorsed at the
Zagreb Summit in November 2000. In doing so, the EU opened its doors ajar to
enlargement for this group of countries though, at the same time, it stressed the
importance of the time provision that each country, including the Republic of
Macedonia, would need to bring its political, economic, social, cultural and other
systems into accordance with EU requirements (the ‘Copenhagen Criteria’).

Thus, the SAA can be viewed as the main instrument for completing SAP, with
the main goal of establishing an association within a transitional period. The purpose
of the SAA was also to respect international peace and stability, establish political
dialogue and a free trade area, make provisions not only on the movement of work-
ers, services, capital and current payments, but in wide range of fields, including jus-
tice and home affairs. It had to assure approximation of national legislation, as well
as enhance regional cooperation. Finally, it had to provide for the establishment of
a Stabilization and Association Council to supervise the implementation of the
agreement, as well as a Stabilization and Association Committee and a Stabilization
and Association Parliamentarian Committee.

The SAP was further enriched during the Greek presidency in 2003: “The
European Council in its Thessalonica Meeting between June 19 and 20, 2003 reiter-
ated its determination to fully and effectively support the European perspective of

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 105
Biljana GABER

Western Balkan countries, which will become an integral part of the EU, once they
meet the established criteria” 1. For that purpose, A New Partnership for Western
Balkans (European Partnership) was introduced.2

One month before the SAA entered into force, the Republic of Macedonia sub-
mitted an application for EU membership (March 2004). In May 2004, the Council
of the EU considered the Macedonian application and asked the European
Commission to prepare an Opinion. On 9 November 2005, the European
Commission presented its Opinion on the application of the Republic of Macedonia
for membership in the European Union. It recognized Macedonia’s achievements in
building a functional democracy in a multi-ethnic society, especially after success-
fully implementing the legislative agenda of the Ohrid framework agreement
(2001), which contributed to major political and security improvements in the coun-
try, concluding that Macedonia is “well on its way to satisfy the political criteria.”
The Commission also found that Macedonia had begun the process of adopting and
implementing the EU legal framework (acquis communautaire), recognizing
Macedonia’s efforts to establish a modern market economy and to harmonize with
and enforce European laws and standards.

1 Palankai, Tibor (2004), Economics of Enlarging the European Union, Akademiai Kiado, p. 365.
2 The conclusions of the Thessalonica summit were:
• European Integration Partnership (under the CARDS program) to speed up progress towards EU
• Enhanced support for institution building (expanding twinning programs and TAIEX assistance)
• Supporting the rule of law - cooperation in justice and home affairs
• Participation in Community programmes
• Promoting economic development (the creation of free trade area, extension of the system of
pan-European diagonal cumulating of origin, promoting greater interregional trade, endorsing the
European Charter for Small Enterprises)
• Responding to new needs - financial support (the Commission proposed an increase in the
CARDS budget)
• Enhancing regional cooperation (creation of a regional electricity market)
• Strengthening democracy - parliamentary cooperation (establishing Stabilization and
Association Parliamentary Committees and European Affairs Committees in parliaments)
• Improving political cooperation (to associate with EU declarations, common positions and other
decisions in the framework of the CFSP)

106 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

However, in common with all the other candidates, an enormous amount of work
will be required over the coming years to complete the process. Considerable chal-
lenges remain in a large number of internal market related areas, such as the adop-
tion of technical norms and standards, competition and state-aid control, transparent
public procurement, energy, and telecommunications. In most of these areas, it is
particularly the implementation and enforcement of the legislation where most work
remains. What is even more important, there is an inevitable need to open the way
for an intensification of EU support to help Macedonia meet its remaining obliga-

The European Commission’s recommendation to the European Council that it
grant the Republic of Macedonia candidate-country status was by no means politi-
cal recognition on its way towards EU membership. By doing so, it showed that it
had learnt the lesson from the past decade; that instability in the heart of Europe car-
ries inevitable costs for the whole of Europe, whether in the form of refugees, recon-
struction, trans-national crime or damage to the EU’s global credibility.

Does Republic of Macedonia deserve its place in the United Europe, and why?
Yes, it does because:

• European unification will be incomplete without the integration of the
Republic of Macedonia

• The Republic of Macedonia has proved itself a reliable partner to the
European Union

• It has effectively concluded the SAA ‘stabilization’ chapter

• It has a clear agenda for accession to the European Union

• It resolutely moves ahead with its reform agenda, aligned to EU

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 107
Biljana GABER

accession goals

• It successfully implements the CARDS assistance programs

• It continuously confirms its leading role in regional cooperation

• The Republic of Macedonia is the success story in South Eastern
Europe; a success story for Europe

• It is the only functional, multi-ethnic democracy in the region, if not
Europe, capable of ‘exporting’ positive experiences.

For all these reasons, by giving candidate-country status to the Republic of
Macedonia, the EU would undoubtedly send a strong political message to other
countries in the region that, by pursing reforms and persistent work, an EU member-
ship perspective becomes reality. The European Union has invested greatly in the
Stabilization and Association Process (SAP), as have the SAP countries themselves.
Now, it is time for the EU to confirm its commitment to implement fully the
Thessalonica Agenda. Lack of attainability of the ultimate goal – membership in the
Union – could have a discouraging impact on the reform efforts, and, further, could
actually bolster radical and nationalist agendas.

* *

108 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe
December 15th, 2005 Istanbul



Allow me to thank Ambassador Öztek, Chairman of OBIV, for the organization
of this wonderful conference on the EU and western Balkans. My presentation will
be somewhat different in nature than my colleagues’. I would like to speak to you
of a means of measuring commitment to European integration, not through political
will or practical steps taken in fulfilling the Copenhagen Criteria, but through the
deeper, almost spiritual understanding that the Albanian political community has of
Europe. To do this, I will outline Czech understandings of what ‘Europe’ means,
juxtapose them with the Albanians’ understanding and, hopefully, draw some useful
conclusions on Albania.

Let me start by telling you what I will not do. In measuring Albanian commit-
ment to European integration, I will not look at opinion polls or surveys. First, opin-
ion polls do not show us the basic values that underwrite a political community’s
commitment to some type of political action – that is, we have no means of separat-

*Eno TRIMÇEV, Albanian Institute for International Studies

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 109

ing momentary support from durable long-term commitment. Second, a consider-
able portion of respondents usually base their arguments on perceived utilitarian
cost-benefit analysis – those that estimate they will gain from the process support it
while the others do not. However, if the European project depended on utilitarian
support only then, we would all agree, the European project would have foundered
a long time ago or, anyway, after the failed French and Dutch referendums. The EU
is based on something much deeper than the treaties or eventual constitutions that
constitute its profane history – it is based on common views, be they civilizational
or historicist, and common interpretations of culture and historical experience that
have led us all to talk of Europe before anyone had conceived of the European Coal
and Steel Community. Third, in cases like Albania, where support is extremely
high, 1 we would simply conclude that Albanians are pro-European but unable to
fully understand why or the potentialities of an eventual clash between the European
idea which underwrites the EU and Albanian views on the future. That is, they tell
us nothing about how Albanians would behave once they have reached West
European levels of democratic consolidation and economic development. It is also
important to point out that the backward state of the sciences of polling and statis-
tics in Albania would have forced us to guesstimate rather than speak with reason-
able certainty. In order to understand how complete, deep (or shallow) the commit-
ment of a political community is to an idea or to a particular kind of collective (polit-
ical) action, I posit that we need to map out its central value system or, as the
Germans have introduced their own term in English-language political science,

What is a society’s ‘central value system’? It is something quite similar to an
individual’s ‘cognitive bias’ – the mapping of his/her possible choices, limits, justi-
fications and perceptions of himself and the world around him. A helpful compari-
son can be made here between a political community and an individual. The same
way an individual has his truths, falsehoods, desires and goals, so does a political

2 Albanian Institute for International Studies, Albania and the European Union: Perceptions and Realities 2005

(AIIS: Tirana, November 2005).

110 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

community have its own cognitive bias – otherwise the term ‘political’ would lose
its meaning. Following a tradition of sociology of knowledge, I consider that in
order to draw this map of potentialities for a political community, an analysis of the
discourse of the intellectuals of that community is sufficient.

Intellectuals legitimate authority by creating symbols and by providing the pop-
ulation with means of participation in a central value system. 2 Mapping out the
meanings attached to a society’s symbols is the first step towards understanding its
collective action potentialities. As the German sociologist Karl Mannheim points
out, “the derivation of our meanings emphasizes and stabilizes that aspect of things
which is relevant to activity and covers up, in the interest of collective action, the
perpetually fluid process underlying all things.”3 Political action is hardly possible
outside the intellectually articulated framework of meanings because “the acting
man must know who he is.”4 Analyzing the intellectual discourse of a political com-
munity means embarking on the process of knowing it. A central value system
emerges, which may have intense intravariation and exhibit strong conflictuality, but
successful long-term actor agency outside such a system is almost impossible.

Thus, I will analyze Albanian intellectual discourse and see how it interprets the
idea of ‘Europe’, Albania’s commitment to the process of European integration as
well as the related concepts that may impact this view directly in the foreseeable
future. The analysis is based on one major assumption that I consider axiomatic: if
the Albanian intellectual discourse is deeply committed to the idea of ‘Europe’ and
moreover, it partakes of the European tradition of discourse – defined as “a contin-
uous discussion in which there has been considerable agreement on the nature of the
problems to be faced, the procedures and concepts of analysis, the values to be

2 Edward Shils, 'The Intellectuals and the Powers: Some Perspectives for Comparative Analysis', in Philip Rieff

(ed.), Intellectuals: Theoretical Studies, Case Studies (New York: Doubleday, 1969), 28-29.
3 Mannheim, Ideology and Utopia, 22.
4 Mannheim, Ideology and Utopia, 24. As Michael Mann put it, "we cannot understand (and thus act upon) the

world merely by direct sense perception. We require concepts and categories of meaning imposed upon sense per-
ception." Quoted in Gianfranco Poggi, Forms of Power (Malden, MA: Polity), 60.

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 111

sought and the evils to be eliminated” 5 – with the ease that indicates membership in
that tradition, than Albania’s commitment to Europe is strong and actual member-
ship is simply dependent on the politics of the real world. Any deviations from this
ought to indicate that there are potentialities for deviation from the European path
(prior to or after EU membership). How significant these potentialities are depends
on the idiosyncrasies of Albanian intellectual discourse as well as, in the final analy-
sis, on the profane world of politics.

In order to illustrate better what I mean by membership in the European tradition
of discourse, I will quickly outline Czech conceptualizations of Europe since I con-
sider the Czech XX century tradition to have achieved congruity with Europe well
before the Czech Republic earned membership of the European Union in May 2004.
That is to say that even if Czech thought or the Czech polity turns against the
European Union—indeed, the Czechs have produced one of the most famous Euro-
skeptics of the continent, President Vaclav Klaus—the Czech commitment to
Western civilization goes so deep that there can be no doubts about the
‘Europeanness’ of the Czechs. Indeed, the post-Hapsburg Czech Weltanschauung
exists within the larger European worldview and therefore, cannot fundamentally
undermine it unless it goes through some kind of major spiritual reordering that
equips it with entirely new sets of symbols, meanings and thought structures. It goes
without saying that such an internal remaking of the Czechs’ participation in all
things profane and divine that would bring about a new eschatological direction is
highly unlikely.

There are two basic strands of Czech thought vis-à-vis Europe. First, there is the
Masaryk-Havel humanist tradition and, second, the Kundera Mitteleuropa tradition.
The first tradition is firmly rooted in the world of pre-revolutionary humanist France
and despite its internal variations – Masaryk’s outlook is firmly Christian and anti-
authoritarian while Havel’s is more explicitly humanist and less deterministic – lib-

5 Sheldon S. Wolin, Politics and Vision: Continuity and Innovation in Western Political Thought (Boston: Little,

Brown and Co., 1960), 358.

112 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

eral democracy emerges not simply as a realist option, but as a Kantian categorical
imperative, a moral prerequisite for living a proper life. In this context, EU mem-
bership was but a logical historical consequence of over one hundred years of Czech
yearning for self-realization through democratization. The second outlook, which is
best described by Kundera’s revival of the term Mitteleuropa, is less detached and
rather frantic in its call for Europeanisation. It claims that Central Europe is experi-
entially, historically, and culturally firmly part of the West. In this grand process of
equalization, Kundera of course annihilates any trace of Czech distinctiveness – the
difference between Paris and Prague seems to be reduced to the historical ‘triviali-
ty’ of Russian tanks in the latter. This homogeneous outlook was firmly opposed by
Havel and other Central European intellectuals (such as Konrád or Michnik) for
whom the West was a choice that enabled one to live authentically.

Nevertheless, both strands perceive Europe as a product of Humanist
Enlightenment – an Andersonian “imagined community” which is imagined in the
sense of common political and cultural memories, limited territorially to democrat-
ic European states and sovereign in that it has established the terminal liberté, égal-
ité, fraternité of mankind. More importantly, because the Czech worldview sketched
above exists embedded in the liberal democratic tradition, Europe – or, the European
Union – either emerges as the earthly means of autochthonizing the worldview (the
humanist tradition) or out of the condition of homelessness in which the Czechs
found themselves due to the barbarian (Soviet) invasion.

A brief sketch of post-communist Albanian intellectual discourse suffices to
sketch the Albanian cognitive map and its relationship to ‘Europe’. Albanian intel-
lectuals across the spectrum have created a liberal democratic hegemonic discourse
that makes any operations outside the liberal framework “beyond the pale of accept-
ed argument.”6 In modern Albania, to be an intellectual means to be a democrat.
While non-democratic discourse does exist in the form of ultra-nationalism, it has

6 James F. Keeley, 'Toward a Foucauldian Analysis of International Regimes', International Organization, Vol. 44,

No. 1, winter 1990, 91.

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 113

never gained any formal recognition as a potential regime of truth and, therefore, it
is classified as a ‘subjugated knowledge’. As such, the nationalists have been unable
to formulate a coherent set of political ideas that may provide a platform for politi-
cal action. Hence, non-democratic political systems in Albania have lost the battle
of legitimacy a priori.7

Below is a graph of the different thought structures that make-up the Albanian
political worldview:

There are three orientations in the horizontal political spectrum: the anti-anti-
communists, the centrists, and the nationalists. On the other hand, there are two ori-
entations belonging to the teleological axis: the nationalists and the cosmopolitans.
The anti-anti communists and the centrists are placed in the political spectrum
because they tend to be more directly concerned with the real political struggle

3 This may explain why no anti-democratic political parties/groups gained any type of following during Albania's
tempestuous transition.

114 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

occurring in Albania. The purpose of the polity is largely assumed to have been the-
oretically determined: the consolidation of a liberal democracy with a functioning
market economy fully integrated in Europe. More generally, the goal of
Westernization is assumed to be consensually accepted by the Albanian polity.
Therefore, these two orientations are more focused on the means by which this goal
is to be achieved. On the other hand, the cosmopolitans belong to the teleological
axis because they believe that the declared goal of Westernization is not as safe as
the two former groups assume. The cosmopolitans either believe that the nationalist
Weltanschauung represents a direct threat to Albania’s democratization or that
Albanian experienced history and culture contains the germs of a potential threat to
the Occidental project that may materialize in the future. Finally, the nationalists
belong to the political axis because they clamor for immediate political action in
favor of their stated goal – the creation of Greater Albania – at the expense if need
be of Europeanization. On the other hand, they are classified as a teleological orien-
tation because the system of meanings, values and goals they propagate represents
a direct challenge to the existing self-representation of the Albanian political mind.
Nationalists try to impact the political world through the roundabout approach of
changing the teleological interpretations of the Albanian worldview.

The nationalist orientation is motivated by a deep dissatisfaction with the thought
structures that form the modern Albanian Weltanschauung. Perceiving a ‘perfect cri-
sis’ in politics, thought, and morality, that flows directly from the hegemonic posi-
tion of the secular, modernist and cosmopolitan cognitive maps that make up
Albanian representations of the self and the world, the nationalists want nothing less
than to “change the people.”8 In a healthy society, the ‘carriers and reproducers’ of
the existing representations, be they politicians or intellectuals, would be stripped of
their capability to carry the bacillus through imprisonment.9 Recognizing that the
difficult task of purging the Albanian political mind can only come from a change

8 Hysamedin Feraj, Kriza e Perkryer e Shqiperise: Ese Kritike e Shoqerise (Albania's Perfect Crisis: a Critical Essay

of Society) (Tirana: Eurorilindja, 2003), 4.
9 Feraj, Kriza e Perkryer, 12.

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 115

in the political outlook of the body politic, the nationalists are pessimistic over their
chances of success.10

The logical means through which the rehabilitation of the irredentist thesis is to
occur includes a representation of Islam as a natural part of being Albanian, use of
Realpolitik concepts of competition among nations to make the idea of Ethnic
Albania palatable, and explaining Albanian history in terms of constant clashes
between ‘good Albanians’ – the ones that cooperated with the Ottoman Empire
against Balkan neighbors – and ‘bad Albanians’ who fought the Ottomans in coop-
eration with Balkan neighbors.11 Being revisionist in its orientation, this orientation
justifies the need to rewrite history through the use of objective science in the serv-
ice of Truth alone.12

The nationalists employ the negation of existing Albanian representations as the
means through which a new self-interpretation favorable to the nationalist outlook
may be built. Aware that straight-forward advocacy in favor of nationalist politics is
not successful in Albania,13 they aim to change the Albanian cognitive map and cre-
ate new categories of interpretation that are more favorable to nationalist political
action. The political end is the resurrection of the irredentist political action which
was present in the Albanian political scene in the years 1920-1924. The remolding

10 "The analysis shows that the possibilities of overcoming the crisis within several decades remain close to zero."

Feraj, Krize e Perkryer, 4.
11 For details of this thesis, see Feraj's diagram in Skice, 224. The nationalist orientation goes so far as to declare

Scanderbeg, the leader of Albania's fight against the Ottoman Empire, and Albania's national hero especially
because of the title Athleta Christi as a traitor to the national cause. On the other hand, Hamza Kastrioti,
Scanderbeg's nephew who led a Turkish army against his uncle is declared a hero. This thesis hits the very heart of
existing Albanian representations: a European country hijacked from its European course by the invading Turks-a
thesis that has been patiently built since the end of the nineteenth century.
12 The nationalists accuse the 'cosmopolitans' of using science in the way Merxhani conceptualized it, i.e. science

as a means to a political end goal. See, Hysamedin Feraj, Pavaresia eshte e Shenjte (Independence is Sacred),
(Tirana: Koha, 1997), 40-42.
13 Differently than in other East European countries, nationalist parties in Albania have not been able to garner any

significant electoral support.

116 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

of Albanian self-representations is the prerequisite to changing the political status
quo. In this context, democratization, while theoretically preferable, takes a definite
second seat to the reestablishment of ‘Albanianism’ in the national consciousness.14
Finally, teleologically, this orientation aims to rehabilitate Islam by rewriting
Albanian history in terms favorable to Islam as a political religion. 15

The nationalist orientation is the only programmatic intellectual challenge to
Albania’s democratization process. While its final aim is the tangible goal of creat-
ing Greater Albania – a cause which does not necessarily interfere with the transi-
tion to and consolidation of democracy – the ideational means employed in order to
make irredentist political action possible negate democratization. The absolutization
of a communal identity which does not recognize any earthly boundaries 16 requires
a complete volte face in the polis’ representation of the self and the world around it.

Yet, the nationalists have failed to unseat or to provide a viable alternative to the
liberal democratic mainstream. Politically, the nationalist program has garnered no
support throughout the transition period. Teleologically, the nationalist system of
thought has been plagued by parochialism, radicalism and particularism. It has
remained on the very margins of the intellectual and political debates of the time,
too poor in quantity as well as quality to make an impact on the systems of belief
that drive Albanian intellectual thought. Indeed, the nationalist orientation may be
classified as subjugated knowledge that has never challenged liberal democracy as
the hegemonic discourse in Albania. As “hegemonic discourse,” liberal democracy
does not simply rate the choices available to political actors and intellectuals.
Instead, it endorses a set of symbols, assumptions, words and conclusions that are

14 Abdi Baleta, Shqiptaret perballe Shovinizmit Serbo-Grek (Albanians and Greek-Serb Chauvinism), (Tirana:

Koha, 1995), 3.
15 Baleta writes "Islam is the outcome of a natural historical process and it has left a deep mark on the Albanian

national psyche. Islam has become an internalized feature of the identity of the Albanian nation." Quoted in Fuga,
Rozafa, 98.
16 This refers to existing state boundaries that, in nationalist discourse, are superseded by the feelings of brother-

hood that tie all Albanian-speakers through an act of imaginative abstraction.

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 117

imperative for political communication. By rejecting this set of tools and failing to
provide a working alternative, the nationalist orientation suffers from “a fundamen-
tal legitimacy problem arising in [its] ability… to understand and respond.”17
Fifteen years from its inception, the nationalist orientation now has by and large
ceased to exist – the intellectuals that used to expound it have either abandoned the
public scene or refocused their efforts elsewhere.

So, is Albania’s European future safe from internal challenges? Here it is worth
recalling our initial assumption: Albania’s European future is dependent simply on
fulfilling the technical criteria of membership if the Albanian intellectual discourse
is deeply committed to the idea of Europe and moreover, it partakes of the European
tradition of discourse with the ease that indicates membership in that tradition. At
this point, I will allow myself to speculate about the future not in a conclusive way,
but as a thought that may be worth thinking about. At present, the commitment of
Albanians to Europe is unquestionable – as a matter of fact it is even more power-
ful, more obsessive and more demanding than the Czechs’. It seems to me that the
Achilles heel of the Albanian worldview stands in the second half of our assump-
tion. The Albanian worldview stands apart or aside from what we have come to rec-
ognize as ‘the European tradition’. It is like the outsider looking in with envy at the
home denied to him for so long. It is obvious to him that joining the home has not
only the utilitarian benefit of security, predictability and the warmth of belonging,
but it has the much greater benefit of ending the period of homelessness. Becoming
a member of the (European) family is a good a priori. But joining a family means
not only accepting the family’s rules and habits, but sharing naturally in the com-
mon interpretations of its past, present and future. That is, desire to join is not
enough. The modern Albanian has incorporated European discourse at some level –
or, at any rate, attempted to do so. But its content, thought structures and the sheer
diversity of its viewpoints escape him. Albanian discourse has not become a part of
the vital, coherent whole that today we call Europe. When faced with this inability
to participate in Europe, Albanians either console themselves with some kind of pro-

11 Keeley, 91.

118 EU Enlargement Towards South-East Europe

gressive understanding of an ever-closing gap between them and Europe, or experi-
ence bursts of frustration at their seeming inability to close the gap. 18 It is precisely
out of these bursts of frustration or the wearing out effect of standing perpetually at
the doorstep that an alternative to Europeanization may arise.

* *

18 The opening paragraph of Misha's Duke Kerkuar Rrenjet expresses this well: "whenever one becomes ready to

give oneself to this reality [the West-E.T.], to inhale the multitude of its alluring messages, to become a part of it,
from the depths of one's being an old sadness separates one from it as if by thick glass, behind which all surround-
ings become distant and unreal." See, P. Misha, Duke Kerkuar Rrenjet ose Kthimi i Shqiptareve ne Histori
(Searching for the Roots or the Return of Albanians in History), Tirana: Toena, 199, 4.

Fondation for Middle East and Balkan Studies 119