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   Course Title    The European Union Enlargement in the 1990s-2001: Political Aspects
Lecturer    Elena Dostanko
Institution    Belarusian State University
Country    Belarus

Course Description

This course examines the accession process to the European Union during the 1990s and early 2000s as the major economic and political issue in Europe. After momentous changes in Central and Eastern Europe the economic, and especially political balance of the European continent was changed. By the early 1990s the enlargement of the EU had arguably become the central issue in Europe: in early 1994 no less than 13 countries were actively pursuing EU membership. It is clear now that the accession of a number of candidate countries will take place by 2004.

This course examines the theoretical background and the actual mechanism of the accession process for EU membership and the conditions, which the EU requires prospective members to fulfill. It starts by disclosing the dynamics and meaning of European integration and the content of dominating theoretic approaches towards deepening of integration in the EU. We then turn to revealing of the mechanism of the decision-making process on the basis of modern European political, economic and legal criteria in the EU. The meeting first of political and later the economic criteria by the candidate countries are the crucial issues at this part of the course.

We then examine the impact of widening and underline that the positive results for ‘both sides" can be reached only if there are a number of reforms in political, economic, legal and institutional spheres in Central and Eastern European countries and in the EU countries.

In the end we formulate political-legal and social-economic problems concerning the widening of European integration and determine the main tendencies in the modern development of the European Union as international system.

The course provides students with an opportunity not only to deepen their knowledge of the workings and mechanism of enlargement of the EU as one of the major international organizations in the world today, but also to explore the larger problem of challenges of European cooperation and governance enhancing in terms of political democratic consolidation and broad economic and social transformation in central and Eastern European post-communist countries.

Course Requirements

The course will be conducted both as a lecture course and as a seminar, which means that all students are expected to participate actively in class discussions.

Simulation of the EU Summit aiming to work out the list of countries to be accepted by year 2004. Every student gets the assignment of a country he will represent, issues of negotiations. The simulation will last throughout the course, it will consist of 3 scheduled meetings in the beginning (country assignments, issues of negotiations, rules of negotiations), a preliminary meeting in the middle of course (negotiation process) and a final meeting – the EU Summit to declare the list of candidate countries to be accepted by year 2004.

Students are required to write a research essay, which should not be longer than 4,000 words. The topic of the essay - Country profile. The Country profile is expected to provide the reader with clear and concise information about the way of the country's accession to the European Union: its historical development; the type of concluded Agreements, its structure, main fields of cooperation and budget; its key problems; its important achievements; and its relationship to other international organizations.

Each student is to submit a 400-450 word outline that describes the topic, hypothesis and methodology of the research essay.

There is a final test in this course. The final test consists of multiple-choice questions and a short answer block: students will be asked to identify or define a number of terms.


Participation (including attendance): 10%

Simulation of the EU Summit: 30%

Essay Outline: 15%

Research Essay: 20%

Final test: 25%

Course Overview

The Development of Relations between the EU and the CEE countries after 1989

  1. The Enlargement Policy of the EU. Stages of enlargement. Theories of widening of the EU. The rationale for expanding the EU.
  2. The Applicants: An Overview. Luxembourg and Helsinki groups. .
  3. The process of preparing for membership
  4. Procedures and conditions. Political and Economic criteria. Cannes, Copenhagen and Madrid Summits. Pre-Accession Strategies.
  5. Eastern Enlargement: Positions of the countries – members of the EU. The cost and benefits of enlargement.
  6. Simulation of the EU Summit (3 meetings)
  7. Final test


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