Since its establishment by CRCEES (Centre for Russian Central and East European Studies) at the University of Glasgow in 2008, Assessing Accession continued to grow and develop as a Europe-wide networking initiative. It successfully achieved UACES collaborative research network (CRN) status in 2009 and continues to play an important role in driving forward the collaborative research supported by CRCEES. It has contributed to the BASEES (British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies) study group series.
Assessing Accession aims to enhance evaluative research on EU eastern enlargement through the development of a number of initiatives. These include the small-scale and large-scale collaborative research projects or working partnerships, as well as the promotion of a new working paper series and other publications.
As an interdisciplinary networking initiative, Assessing Accession aims to bring together researchers, academics, students and practitioners/stakeholders with a specific interest in undertaking evaluative research which focuses on an enlarged EU following the accession of 10 Central and East European countries (CEECs) since 2004. This research is important for two reasons. Firstly, it aids a broader understanding of how the EU’s political institutions and policy-making structures have impacted on (top down), and been impacted by (bottom up), the EU’s new CEEC member states. Secondly, it provides evidence which can be used to support our understanding of how future enlargements, such as to the Balkan region, could impact (1) the EU, including its policy development, institutions and member states, and (2) those candidate and potential-candidate states.
In the years immediately after the first eastern enlargement of the EU in 2004 there was limited reflective academic research on what membership actually meant for the EU and CEECs, particularly in terms of their integration into EU legal and political structures. There are two possible reasons for this; firstly, scholars may have felt it was too soon to be able to undertake an objective review of the eastern enlargement process and the place of CEECs within the enlarged EU and secondly, research attention turned to those states still undergoing the accession process, and to the development of relations between the EU and its near neighbours, namely Russia, Ukraine and Serbia.
In recent years attitudes among the academic community have changed and scholars are increasingly recognizing the value of research in this area. This stems directly from the fact that a subsequent enlargement (Romania and Bulgaria) took place in 2007 putting additional strain on the EU, and that CEECs have had time to become familiar with how the EU institutions and policy processes work. The existence of the Assessing Accession network reflects the fact that the time is now right to begin a substantial evaluation of EU eastern enlargement.
Main Research Themes
Assessing Accession encourages research around the following areas:
- CEECs within EU institutional structures
- CEECs and the EU policy making process
- the impact of the EU on CEECs in terms of policy implementation
- the impact of the EU on CEECs in terms of Europeanisation or democratic consolidation
- an analysis of “mechanisms of development” (cohesion and structural funding)
Assessing Accession aims to:
- raise awareness of research currently being undertaken across Europe
- provide a forum within which to locate discussions of research findings
- encourage the expansion of the research agenda
- develop working partnerships to further major research projects.
For further information, explore the Working Papers Series on the Assessing Accession website.