Performance and Risks in the European Economy
Past and Current Paths to European Union Accession:
Romania and Turkey a Comparative Approach
Abstract: Several decades ago, leaders of six European countries with an inclusive vision of Europe and
strong courage started a construction without precedent, the European Union. The remarkable construction
evolved not only concerning the number of the Member States, but also in terms of institutional and
functional development. Nowadays, the European Union is one of the most important changing factor
concerning the governance and the policy-making process at European level and not only, and there is no
doubt that the EU will continue to grow as an increasing number of countries express interest in membership.
This paper reveals in a comparative perspective the path to European Union Accession, and is based on
documentary analysis, using strategy-level documents of the countries and the Progress Reports the European
Commission provided during the past enlargement.
Keywords: Europeanization; EU Accession process; enlargement
―The European Union is open to all European countries‖ states the Treaty on European Union. The
article 49 of this treaty constitutes the legal basis for any accession, and mentions the basic conditions
for enlargement „Any European State which respects the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for
human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law may apply to become a Member of the
Union‖. Notwithstanding, getting the membership status is not automatically, each enlargement
accelerating the debate on deepening versus widening, specific policy issues, budgetary concerns and
the EU politics of conditionality.
In this sense, a country can only become a member if it fulfils the criteria and conditions for accession
as defined by the EU leaders at their summit in Copenhagen in 1993, and by a number of subsequent
EU decisions (EU, 2013:5; Iancu, 2009). The so-called Copenhagen criteria are (Matei, Matei, Iancu,
2011): (a) political: stable institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and
respect for and protection of minorities; (b) economic: a functioning market economy and the capacity
to cope with competition and market forces in the EU; (c) the ability to take on the obligations of
membership, including adherence to the aims of political, economic and monetary union. In December
1995, the Madrid European Council called on candidate countries to transpose the EU acquis into their
1Assistant professor, PhD, National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Romania, Address: 6 Povernei
Street, Sector 1, Bucharest, Romania, Tel.: +4021.318.08.97, Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org.