Awkward States: EU Enlargement and Slovakia, Croatia and Serbia
Slovakia, Croatia and Slovenia constitute 'awkward states' in the context of EU enlargement because their progress towards membership has been slower than that of some other closely-situated countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). This article considers the background and issues relating to EU enlargement, and how the individual 'awkward states' have failed to meet criteria for membership, or to seek it in the first place. A major finding is that political change has been and remains the key factor in turning 'awkward' states into suitable and enthusiastic would be members. In this context Slovakia is already there, Croatia is on its way, but in Serbia such change is only just now in prospect. Economic and human rights issues are important, and the question of the future movement of the gypsy population may delay Slovakian membership, but such factors appear to play a secondary role to that of political change towards more democratic governments and policies. Repression of the media is a common characteristic of states which remain 'awkward' in this context.
Perspectives on European Politics and Society
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