Croatia and Turkey : is EU enlargement policy beyond the principle of conditionality?
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This thesis aims to understand the enlargement policy of the European Union in the light of the comparative analysis of Turkish and Croatian accession process to the Union. In order to do that, the study asks the question whether the EU’s enlargement policy is beyond the principle of political conditionality, which is to be applied to all applicant states on equal footings. The focus here is on change in conditionality policy with respect to its approach and priorities. Given the need for comparison between Croatia and Turkey, the thesis tries to find out the relations between conditionality and the enlargement process and the EU itself in terms of impact of the current policy environment on its commitment for enlargement. This study affords a picture of the problems which change in conditionality since 2004 has risen for the understanding of enlargement policy. Moreover, the thesis investigates how recent developments might have an effect on the enlargement policy of the Union. In this context, the thesis analyses the reason behind the different levels of iv commitment on the part of the EU towards Turkey and Croatia. Since they simultaneously started the accession negotiations with the EU, there appears a great opportunity to evaluate the EU’s enlargement behaviour with its similarities and differences. In conclusion, member state preferences and concerns have a greater role in the changed policy environment, which requires an approach beyond the simple analysis of political conditionality to understand the enlargement policy of the Union.