1 JCMS 2002 Volume 40. Number 3. pp Why Expand? The Question of Legitimacy and Justification in the EU s Enlargement Policy* HELENE SJURSEN Arena, University of Oslo Abstract Why does the European Union (EU) enlarge and why does it make certain prioritizations amongst applicants in the enlargement process? In this article, different reasons that have been used in mobilizing for enlargement are examined. An analytical distinction is made between three different types of reasons: pragmatic, ethical-political and moral. The conclusion is that ethical-political reasons, which testify to a sense of kinship-based duty, are particularly important in mobilizing for enlargement to incorporate central and eastern Europe and thus also central to an appreciation of prioritizations in the EU s enlargement policy. Introduction The enlargement of the European Union (EU) is one of the most important and difficult challenges facing Europe in the post-cold war period. The way the EU handles the enlargement issue will have profound consequences not only for the many applicant states, but also for the EU itself, as well as its neighbouring non-applicant states. The risks involved in the enlargement process are well known to the EU. In fact the lengthy process of eastern and south-eastern enlargement is a prospect which is prompting a good deal of nervousness among practitioners (Wallace, 2001, p. 151). Not only does enlargement threaten to disturb the internal order of the EU, the new external borders that will follow from the expansion could also create new divisions on the European continent and thus foster instability in Europe at large. Furthermore, the painful economic and institutional adaptations required of the applicant states in order for them to achieve membership could provoke resentment that might jeopardize the legitimacy of the future enlarged Union. * Many thanks to Erik Oddvar Eriksen, Johan P. Olsen, Agustín Menendez and two anonymous reviewers for their comments and advice. Thanks also to Karen Pinholt for research assistance., 108 Cowley Road, Oxford OX4 1JF, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA
2 492 HELENE SJURSEN Given these risks, why does the European Union not simply choose to remain as it is? And why do not individual Member States, in particular those that expect to pay the highest price for enlargement, use their power to veto this process? Assuming, as most of the literature on international relations does, that actors seek to maximize their own interest, this is what we would expect of the EU. In this article I focus not only on why the EU enlarges, but why, after making this commitment, the EU has prioritized some states over others in the preparations for full membership. The EU stresses that the final decision on who will become members is objective in the sense that it follows the criteria set out in the Copenhagen declaration of 1993 (European Council, 1993). Nonetheless, in the process of supporting applicant states in their efforts to fulfil the Copenhagen criteria, the EU has given priority to some states over others. 1 It is generally accepted that norms must have played a part in the decision to enlarge (Schimmelfennig, 2001; Sedelmeier, 2000; Fierke and Wiener, 1999; Friis, 1998). However, the issue of the mechanisms through which norms are complied with is more controversial. Is norm compliance ensured through the mechanism of self-interested calculations (Schimmelfennig, 2001)? In this article it is argued that actors not only used norms instrumentally in the decision to enlarge. Norms constitute the identity of the actors: they not only constrain their behaviour, but also constitute their world-views and preferences. It is on this basis that enlargement must be understood. The analysis is based on a two-fold strategy: first, the relative importance of instrumental versus norm-guided justifications in the EU s enlargement policy is discussed; second the impact of two different forms of norm guided justifications rightsbased and value-based is analysed. The expectation is that the distinction between rights-based and value-based norms will allow for a better understanding of prioritizations in the EU s enlargement policy. In the next section the approach chosen in the article is further elaborated. After this I briefly review the argument for understanding the enlargement process as a process based on calculations of utility. Finally, the role of values and rights as mobilizing arguments for enlargement is discussed. I. The Approach The approach chosen here builds on two points in particular: first, Max Weber s observation that all rulers need legitimacy in order to remain in authority; and, second, Jürgen Habermas theory of communicative action. Habermas 1 In a comparative study of the EU s financial aid to democratic reform in Turkey and Poland, Lundgren (1998) finds that Poland has received much more support towards democratic transition than Turkey after the end of the cold war, thus suggesting a clear prioritization.
3 THE QUESTION OF LEGITIMACY AND JUSTIFICATION IN THE EU S ENLARGEMENT POLICY 493 considers that our communication through linguistic expressions speech acts play a central role in regulating and reproducing forms of social life and the identities of actors (Cronin and De Greff, 1998, p. x). According to Habermas theory of communicative action, actors are rational when they are able to justify and explain their actions, and not only when they seek to maximize their own interests. This is indeed a condition for the functioning of liberal democracy, where citizens are expected to be able to distinguish between different forms of justification for constitutional principles as well as policy choices, and to assess which of them are acceptable and which are not. These reasons could be material gain, but they could also be formulated with reference to an actor s sense of identity or understanding of the good life. Finally, actors could explain their actions with reference to a sense of what is right or fair, in other words without reference to a particular identity, but with regard to what is just when everybody s interests and values are taken into consideration. Based on these two starting points I assume that support for or at least loyalty towards a policy such as enlargement can be obtained as a result of a process of deliberation where arguments and reasons are provided in favour of this policy, on the condition that the arguments are deemed legitimate by the parties involved. Or to put it differently: the arguments and reasons provided in favour of enlargement have to be of a type that others can support: they must be considered legitimate. Consequently, identifying which types of arguments have functioned as mobilizing arguments in the EU s enlargement policy should help us to provide a better understanding of the prioritizations made. This is a particularly useful approach when analysing a political phenomenon such as enlargement where actors have to co-ordinate their plans of action through speech acts in order to reach collective decisions. Furthermore actors have to provide reasons for their decisions to a wider audience because of the existence of a public sphere. Finally, the approach is particularly salient given that the aim here is not to predict the final outcome of the enlargement process, but to analyse the reasons why we have come to where we are now in the enlargement process. Thus, the methodology employed here is explanation through interpretation in the Weberian sense: social science is a science concerning itself with the interpretative understanding of social action and thereby with a causal explanation of its course and consequences (Weber, 1978, p. 4). It is not possible to understand the causal mechanisms in a social setting without looking at the reasons that actors give for their actions. As Kratochwil has argued, meaningful action is created by placing an action within an intersubjectively understood context, even if such imputations are problematic or even wrong in terms of their predictive capacity. To have explained an action often means
4 494 HELENE SJURSEN to have made intelligible the goals for which it was undertaken (Kratochwil, 1989, p. 24). This can only be done by looking at the arguments and reasons that actors give for their actions. An analytical distinction is made between three different types or categories of argument that might be used to justify enlargement: pragmatic arguments, ethical-political arguments and moral arguments (Habermas, 1993). 2 In a pragmatic approach, policy would be justified with reference to the output that it is expected to produce. The approach is based on a means ends type of rationality where actors are considered to take decisions made on calculations of utility based on a given set of interests. This also means that one would not expect actors to support enlargement unless arguments could be found to support the idea that it would provide utility given their interests and preferences. In an ethical-political approach justification would rely on a particular conception of the collective us and a particular idea of the values represented by a specific community. Here, one would seek to justify enlargement by referring to duties and responsibilities emerging as a result of belonging to a particular community. In a moral approach, the aim would not be to justify policy with reference to calculations of utility nor with reference to the values of a particular community, but to find justifications that rely on universal standards of justice, regardless of the utility of the policy to the particular actors involved in the decision or the specific values or perceptions of the good life embedded in the community outlining the policy. Hence, the first type of argument has much in common with the concept of logic of consequence, and the second and third type of arguments are related to the concept of logic of appropriateness (March and Olsen, 1989; March and Olsen, 1998). Both concepts are developed in new institutionalist theory and have more recently been adopted in the international relations literature. 3 The logic of appropriateness does, however, have a certain ambiguity to it that is not resolved in the way it is employed in the current international relations literature in general and in the sociological-institutionalist literature on enlargement in particular (Sedelmeier, 2000; Schimmelfennig, 2001). To put it simply, the logic of appropriateness could imply both rule-following as a result of habit or a particular identity and rule-following based on a rational assessment of morally valid arguments (Eriksen, 1999). 4 Thus, Habermas distinction is maintained in this article for both theoretical and empirical reasons: it 2 For other attempts to employ Habermas theory of communicative action to international relations, see Eriksen and Fossum (2000) and Risse (2000). 3 Two often quoted international relations texts building on the new institutionalist perspective are Cowles et al. (2001) and Stone Sweet et al. (2001). 4 Thus Eriksen (1999) suggests a third logic that he calls a logic of moral justification. This is similar to Risse s (2000) category of a logic of arguing.
5 THE QUESTION OF LEGITIMACY AND JUSTIFICATION IN THE EU S ENLARGEMENT POLICY 495 is expected that this distinction will be helpful in explaining why there are certain prioritizations in the EU s enlargement policy. Different criteria identify these logics: utility, values and rights (Fossum, 2000). Utility refers to an effort to find efficient solutions to concrete problems or dilemmas. Policy-makers seek legitimization by achieving an output that could be seen as beneficial to given interests and preferences. Values refer to a particular idea of the good life that is grounded in the identity of a specific community. Policy would be legitimized through reference to what is considered appropriate given a particular group s conception of itself and of what it represents. Rights refer to a set of principles that are mutually recognized. In other words, policy would be legitimized with reference to principles that, all things considered, can be recognized as just by all parties, irrespective of their particular interests, perceptions of the good life or cultural identity. Thus, one might develop two hypotheses in addition to the one highlighted in the introduction to this article, i.e. that the EU will prioritize enlargement to those states with which it considers an element of kinship. These additional hypotheses would be (1) that the EU would prioritize enlargement to those states where the gain would be higher than the cost. The gain would be defined in terms of (a) economic gain; (b) security gain; and (2) the EU would prioritize enlargement to those states that respect the universal principles of human rights and democracy. 5 This focus on arguments and reasons will only make sense if we can from the outset be reasonably certain that actors have not been forced through economic or military means to make a particular decision. This seems a safe assumption in the case of the European Union s enlargement process. Perhaps more contentious is the assumption that individual Member States have not been forced by other more powerful members to commit themselves to enlargement. Yet, given that the EU is an organization that is bound by legal rules, it is difficult to imagine that individual Member States have been faced with direct threats of use of force unless they agree to an expansion of the EU. Furthermore, as enlargement is decided by consensus Member States cannot be forced to accept the policy through voting procedures. The relevance of this analysis, as well as the credibility of its findings, might also be questioned on the grounds that there is often a considerable gap between what policy-makers say and what they actually mean. In other words, a hidden agenda could be involved. This can to some extent be controlled by 5 The empirical analysis is based primarily on documents produced by different members of the European Commission as well as the statements produced by the meetings of the European Council and the presidency of the EU. It is supplemented by some documents from Member States. A search of all statements and speeches about enlargement produced by the Commission since 1991, as well as all texts in the Council press archives (this includes presidency conclusions since 1992) was conducted.
6 496 HELENE SJURSEN examining the consistency of the arguments presented (both consistency between different actors and consistency in the arguments of a particular actor). A further, and more obvious, credibility control is that of whether what is said and what is actually done corresponds. Most importantly, however, I do not in this article seek to investigate what might be called the true motives of the actors involved. As rational choice theorists argue, it is impossible for us to reach into the hearts and souls of policy-makers and thus to uncover their real or sincere beliefs and convictions. For methodological reasons it is simply assumed that actors are egotistical and self-interested, that they are motivated by the aim of maximizing self-interest, and furthermore by considering these interests as exogenous to the analysis. This article extends the range of possible rational arguments or reasons at the actor s disposal. What is important is that the arguments and reasons in themselves are such that other reasonable actors can support them, in other words that these are arguments and reasons that are considered legitimate or reasonable, and that as a consequence can lead to agreement on a policy. These arguments do not have to be valid by universal standards. Neither do they have to be the result of a deeply felt conviction on the part of the author. But they have to be able to mobilize support. Following Weber, the condition for this support is that the arguments are considered legitimate. The advantage of such an approach is to leave it open to empirical research to determine whether or not political processes can be seen to contain something more than considerations of utility and processes of strategic bargaining. Thus, the aim here is not to reject or undermine the importance of such dimensions in political processes, but to try to improve our understanding of such processes by introducing two further dimensions a value dimension and a rights dimension into the analysis. Consequently, references to utility, which are at the centre of processes of bargaining, are seen as only one way in which the decision to enlarge might be justified and thus as one reason why the EU decided to enlarge. An important task for the analysis is to assess whether or not the two other ways of justifying policy might have contributed to this decision. I want to investigate the question of whether these arguments played an equally important or more important role than the argumentation based on utility which would in turn have provided grounds for a payoff or bargain within the EU on enlargement. II. Justification through Efficiency As noted, pragmatic justifications are here considered to be reasons pertaining to the utility of a policy for given interests, in this case the interest of the
7 THE QUESTION OF LEGITIMACY AND JUSTIFICATION IN THE EU S ENLARGEMENT POLICY 497 EU or of individual Member States. 6 In other words one would expect the EU to support enlargement as a whole or enlargement to specific states on the basis of expectations of utility, and not to do so if such arguments were hard to find. Utility could be in the form of economic or security gains. Is it possible to document arguments or reasons that would suggest that the EU or some of its Member States expect substantive economic or security gains from enlargement? Would these gains be important enough for one to assume that they in themselves have been sufficient to convince the EU to enlarge? There seems to be a general agreement that the increased trade with the applicant states that will result from enlargement will be beneficial to the EU economy. Furthermore, access to primary resources and labour at a low cost in the applicant states might further strengthen the competitiveness of the EU (Baldwin et al., 1997). However, most studies of enlargement have come to the conclusion that the economic cost of enlargement will outweigh the gains in the short and the medium term. One can see clear efforts to justify the enlargement process from a utility perspective (Commission, 2001). EU documents on enlargement stress the beneficial effects of enlargement for both the European Union itself and for the applicant states. However, more striking than the emphasis on the material gain from enlargement are the expectations of the high cost of enlargement (Agenda 2000; Fischler, 1998; Brittan, 1998; Gonzalez, 1995). The level of economic development is a concern particularly with regard to Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania (Commission, 2001; European Parliament, 2000). These concerns remain even though the European Union has given all these states including Turkey status as applicant states (European Council, 1999). The most important argument against a utility hypothesis is perhaps that it would suffice to enlarge the internal market to the applicant states in order to guarantee the economic benefits that might emerge in a long-term perspective (Grabbe and Hughes, 1998). At the same time this would protect the EU from the costs of including applicants in their agricultural and regional policies. Even though enlargement will be costly to the EU as a whole, it might be beneficial to certain Member States. This would strengthen the utility hypothesis. However, the documentation here is also ambiguous. Overall it is clear that those Member States that will gain the most from enlargement are those that are net contributors to the EU s budget, whereas those countries that are net beneficiaries have little to gain from enlarging the Union. 7 Those 6 There is no room here for a detailed discussion of the potential gain or loss of enlargement to the EU as a whole or to individual Member States. This has been dealt with in more detail in Torreblanca (1997), Baldwin et al. (1997), Hagen (1996), Sjursen (1999). 7 Net contributors are Germany, Austria, Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK (Commission, 1998). Commission report on the operation of the own resources system, 8 October, available at «europa.eu.int/ comm/dg19/en...1/index_part.htm».
8 498 HELENE SJURSEN who already have important trade interests in the applicant states must also be considered to be amongst the beneficiaries in an enlargement process. Germany, Britain and the Nordic countries are those that have most systematically favoured enlargement. From a German perspective the argument of economic gains seem to hold (Smith, 1998; Baldwin et al., 1997). This is also to some extent the case with Finland that has close economic ties towards some of the Baltic states. However, in the cases of Denmark and the United Kingdom, it is more difficult to see utility arguments as having been central. 8 On the other hand, there have been no suggestions that Britain will be an important loser in the enlargement process. With regard to the states that have been most reluctant to enlarge, the utility argument holds in the case of Spain, which has a trade deficit with the east European states (Torreblanca, 1997). 9 However, we would still have to be able to understand why Spain has not vetoed the enlargement process despite its potential costs. As for Italy it has relatively abundant economic interests in eastern Europe, but does not seem to have played a particular role in pushing for enlargement. Utility does not have to take the form of economic gain. Increased security could be considered a gain to the EU as well. Is this a form of justification used more systematically and with more weight? Enlargement and Security Again, evidence seems to point in both directions. Enlarging does not necessarily mean that the problem of security in central Europe (to the extent that there is one) is solved. It could equally well lead to a security vacuum further east. Consequently, the pressure on the EU to have an efficient security policy would increase. From this perspective, enlargement seems counterproductive. This is even more so because the capacity of the common foreign and security policy to deal with the security agenda might be further reduced as a result of enlargement. Developing a cohesive foreign policy will be far more difficult with 20 or 25 members than 15. Due to their geographic location and different historical experiences, the new Member States in central, eastern and southern Europe will bring new foreign policy perspectives and interests into the EU. Together with different foreign policy interests also come new neighbours and different relations with third states. Rather than strengthen the institutions of foreign policy, enlargement threatens to make agreement even more difficult. Finally, if the main reason for enlargement were security concerns, why does the EU enlarge to those states that are stable rather than to those that need support in order to stabilize? The cost of enlargement could 8 Denmark, for example, will move from being a net beneficiary to a net contributor to the EU budget as a result of enlargement (Riddervold, 2002). 9 In the case of France it is more difficult to sustain (Sørensen, 2001).
9 THE QUESTION OF LEGITIMACY AND JUSTIFICATION IN THE EU S ENLARGEMENT POLICY 499 thus be high also in terms of security, at least as it is traditionally understood. The difficulties and complications that enlargement is expected to entail seem evident also in the security area. If expectation of efficiency had been the most important element in the argument for enlargement, or the only form of argument, one would have expected that the EU would ensure that its own decision-making apparatus would be able to make use of this added value in security. What the EU did instead was to commit itself to enlargement before the decision-making apparatus was reformed (European Council, 2000a). Finally, with regard to efficiency, the annual report on enlargement produced by the European Commission for 2000 is interesting (Commission, 2000a). In the introduction to this report the Commission has introduced a section entitled benefits of enlargement. The emphasis here is on the prospects for stability and security that will follow as a result of enlargement. However, according to representatives of the Commission s task force on enlargement, this section was introduced in the report because of concern that the EU s commitment to enlargement should be believable for the applicant states. The assumption was that in order to ensure this, the EU had to argue that the enlargement process is beneficial to the EU itself. In other words, if there is a hidden agenda, this agenda does not consist of calculations of utility. III. A Normatively Driven Enlargement Process? Because an exclusive focus on utility cannot capture the enlargement policy, alternatives must be examined. Several studies point to a value dimension in enlargement (Schimmelfennig, 2001; Sedelmeier, 2000; Fierke and Wiener, 1999). The emphasis on values is also evident in the official documents of the EU. According to the Treaty on European Union it is open to all European states with a democratic system of governance. 10 The aim is to construct an ever-closer union amongst the peoples of all of Europe. Likewise, in addition to a certain number of economic criteria, criteria related to democracy and human rights are unambiguously stated in the Copenhagen declaration and later systematically repeated (European Council, 1993; Verheugen, 2000a, b). 11 This strengthens the idea that normative considerations have been important in the decision to enlarge. However, such statements cannot be taken 10 Article 49 (ex art. O) states that any European State which respects the principles set out in Article 6 (1) may apply to become a member of the Union. According to art. 6(1) (ex art. F) The Union is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law, principles which are common to the Member States. 11 The emphasis on democracy as a criterion for membership goes back to the first years of the EU (Assemblée Parlementaire Européenne, 1962).
10 500 HELENE SJURSEN at face value. Most importantly, what are the mechanisms by which values have an impact? Did actors in the enlargement process use norms and values instrumentally or strategically in order to forward their own material interests? Schimmelfennig (2001) argues that it is on this basis that we should understand the impact of norms. From this perspective enlargement is the outcome of rhetorical entrapment as actors with a self-interest in enlargement have strategically used normative arguments to shame the rest of the EU into accepting it. Here, norms function only as constraints on actors behaviour. Sedelmeier opens up the possibility that norms defined in terms of actors identity can be used genuinely. He concludes that the impact of norms was uneven across different groups of actors in the enlargement process. For the policy advocates of enlargement the impact of norms was constitutive, whereas rationalist calculations of reputation and social costs of deviation (Sedelmeier, 2000, p. 170) explain how these policy advocates could mobilize support for enlargement in the EU as a whole. The problem is that the success of such processes of shaming depends on the actors conviction that the principles and norms at stake exist and are valid. Some norms are standing and accepted in and by themselves. The presupposition for rhetorical action is that actors know and respect the established norms. However, in both cases the existence of these norms is neither explained nor assessed. To explain the binding character of norms we need a theory where the actor is conceived of as capable of assessing the validity of norms. We need a conception of actors as communicative and not only strategic. Without this competence collective norms will not be produced in the first place. Neither will they be adhered to and reproduced in concrete situations such as enlargement. Strategic rationality presupposes communicative rationality (Eriksen, 2000, p. 48). Some norms will be adhered to and others not, depending on the actor s rational assessment of their validity and legitimacy. Hence, as suggested in the first part of this article, it is the commitment to norms that are considered legitimate that allows us to understand the decision to enlarge. What then, about the gap between the general decision to enlarge and the delays in the implementation of that decision? To many this gap seriously reduces the credibility of the EU s commitment to enlargement. Three types of criticisms of the EU s enlargement policy are particularly important and might suggest that the EU simply aims to delay enlargement for as long as possible. The first criticism refers to the EU s initial reluctance to accept the idea of enlargement towards central and eastern Europe, and to the fact that, after accepting it in principle, the EU has dithered in the face of demands for a timetable. The second criticism focuses on the criteria for enlarging. These are considered by many vague and slippery. The third criticism refers to the
11 THE QUESTION OF LEGITIMACY AND JUSTIFICATION IN THE EU S ENLARGEMENT POLICY 501 reluctance in the EU to speed up trade liberalization. Restrictions have been important in particular in so-called sensitive sectors such as textiles and agriculture. This is seen as confirmation that enlargement is not voluntarily endorsed by the EU. Such criticisms come in particular from the applicant states in central and eastern Europe but also from the academic community in the west (McManus, 1998). Regardless of the validity of these criticisms they do not necessarily prove that the EU is not prepared to pay for enlargement. Nor do they prove that delays have resulted from actors being self-regarding. 12 However, if we define actors as rational utility-maximizers from the outset, then this will be the conclusion. The argument here is that it is necessary to complement the rational actor assumptions of political action. Political processes are often dominated by bargaining and self-interested calculations of cost and benefits. But not always. And in order to find out when actors follow norms as opposed to instrumental interests we need a different conception of actor rationality. Furthermore, we must examine the reasons provided by the actors. As long as the historical records are not available, we can rely only on careful scrutiny of publicly available information. Secondly, we must bear in mind the possibility that the decision to enlarge may have come about through normative agreements and that subsequent decisions on the distribution of its costs are decided through a bargaining process guided by self-interest. It is indeed possible that the central criterion for action is appropriateness, and that this is followed by alternative interpretations of rules that are assessed by a consequential logic (March and Olsen, 1989, p. 25). Expressed simply: from the perspective adopted here, norms do not only constrain actors behaviour, as the sociological-institutionalist perspectives on enlargement suggest. Norms constitute the preferences and world-views of actors. This perspective is particularly useful for analysing enlargement because it is not simply a pragmatic issue. It raises questions not only of a technical or economic nature and empirical knowledge may not be enough to resolve the issue of enlargement. The perennial issues of what is Europe and who can the EU legitimately claim to represent inevitably arise with enlargement. And the most fundamental problem of enlargement, as William Wallace has noted, is finding criteria for defining what a European state is, or where Europe stops (Wallace, 1992). It entails decisions of who the Europeans are and what kinds of values characterize Europe. 12 Interestingly, these criticisms seem to be based most of all on various normative expectations of what the EU ought to do. If the EU is considered to be only a utility maximizer, such expectations do not seem entirely logical.
12 502 HELENE SJURSEN IV. Values or Rights as Mobilizing Arguments? However, to argue that norms are important is just the beginning. There are numerous rule-sets, norms and identities (Olsen in Eriksen, 1999, p. 216). Hence, an important question is what kind of normative arguments and reasons have been important. As noted in the first section of the article, I have suggested two alternative forms of normative justifications that might have led actors to support enlargement. The first of these were ethical-political arguments that are revealed through references to values and traditions that are seen as constitutive of European identity. One would thus use arguments and statements that explicitly include or exclude people from a European community and perhaps also make efforts to describe people as part of a common cultural entity (or not). Indicators of a feeling of a community of values can also be references to duty and solidarity with those that are seen as one of us, as opposed to references to justice and rights that would have a broader address. This last dimension is thus what has been labelled a moral approach to justification. In order to resolve issues such as who should be part of the EU and where should the borders of the EU be, the EU could choose a solution that seems appropriate given a particular identity or role, or a solution that appears right, or just according to standards that are not dependent on a particular cultural identity. The distinction is important from a theoretical perspective because it seems likely that the notion of universal rights would be more difficult to use as a mobilizing argument for enlargement. It does not yield criteria for establishing borders. If rights were the only mobilizing argument for enlargement, there would be few reasons why, for example, Canada should not become a Member State in the European Union. Thus the distinction might allow us to understand better the prioritizations made by the EU. By the same token this distinction signals a further difference between the analysis undertaken here and the sociological-institutionalist analyses of enlargement. At a theoretical level they do not make a distinction between ethical-political arguments and moral arguments. In turn this means that they cannot capture this element of differentiation in the EU s enlargement process. Thus, if we refer to Taylor s best account principle, the approach chosen here is useful because it can make sense of the position of the other explanations, whereas the opposite is not the case (Taylor, 1989, p. 58). The advantage of this approach is that it operates with a broader and thus more nuanced set of categories of reasons for action than conventional approaches. Is there an ambiguity in the EU s arguments and policies on this issue of defending universal rights versus taking on a particular duty towards those that are one of us? The official approach to enlargement is very much in
13 THE QUESTION OF LEGITIMACY AND JUSTIFICATION IN THE EU S ENLARGEMENT POLICY 503 line with a logic of rights. The EU claims that the rules that govern the enlargement process are not just specially preferred, but rely on universally valid principles (European Council, 1993). Further evidence in this direction is the requirements that states such as Spain, who would be expected to lose materially by enlargement, set on themselves. As a country that has itself been in a situation similar to that of the current applicants, Spanish authorities consider it impossible to veto enlargement: this would be morally unacceptable even if it would make sense from a pure utility perspective. At the same time, this appears to be due more to considerations of fairness than to a particular sense of kinship. Felipé Gonzalez (1995) has argued, we have a moral obligation to let them in. However, when looking more closely at the EU s statements about relations with eastern Europe, what emerges as a predominant pattern is the description of east and west in Europe as two parts of the same entity. The aim of policies towards eastern Europe is to overcome the division and to fulfil the aspiration of the peoples of central and eastern Europe to rejoin Europe (Andriessen, 1991). In a series of speeches to applicant states in central and eastern Europe Estonia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania and Czech Republic van den Broek (1997b, c, d, e, f) makes this same point: You are a profoundly European nation. In the Commission profile of Poland as a candidate for membership, it is argued that for centuries Polish culture has been an integral part of European culture (Commission, 2000b). This is a constant factor not only in policy documents and speeches on enlargement after 1989 but also in western policies towards eastern Europe during the cold war. The argument is that eastern Europe is a part of us that now must be returned: We in Western Europe must not disappoint the great hopes which the peoples of Eastern Europe have of receiving our aid in their current emancipation process. Our credibility depends on how consistently we set our course towards integration to a achieve a new European identity. (European Parliament 1991) Reference to this sense of a shared destiny and a duty to enlarge is a regular feature in the arguments for enlargement to central and eastern Europe. According to Commission President Santer (1998), the collapse of the Iron Curtain ended the Cold War and presented us with a unique opportunity to unite Europe. We have a historical and moral duty to seize this opportunity. According to former French Prime Minister Alain Juppé, the west Europeans have a duty to solidarity with the central and east Europeans (Juppé, 1993). With reference to Turkey, the justifications for enlargement are different. Rather than a natural part of the European family, Turkey is described as an
14 504 HELENE SJURSEN important partner to Europe. In the same speech, relations with Turkey are discussed together with relations with Israel and Morocco, while eastern Europe is described as belonging to the European family of nations (van den Broek, 1993a). When a rationale for admitting Turkey is constructed, it is explicitly linked to utility defined in terms of security: We want a stable, Europe-oriented Turkey (Verheugen, 1999) and Turkey s importance stems from its strategic position (van den Broek, 1993b). Turkey is an important neighbour but lies in a different region. There is no suggestion of reunifying Europe by enlarging to include Turkey. There is general recognition of Turkey s importance to the Union. Turkey s geo-strategic position and its steadfastness over decades as a secular, Moslem country reinforces its position as a valued neighbour in a sensitive region (van den Broek, 1997a). The main reason for enlarging to Turkey is neither that Turkey must be returned to Europe nor that the EU has a particular duty toward Turkey, but that Turkey is strategically important: The European Union and Turkey are linked in a strategic partnership. The Union wants to further integrate Turkey into the European structures. We need Turkey as a reliable partner in foreign and security policy. We want Turkey to be a stable democracy, respecting the rule of law and human rights. Our interest is that Turkey plays a constructive role in our common efforts to contribute to peace and stability in the region. (Verheugen, 2000a, pp. 4 5) The contrasting views of the east European applicants and the Turkish applicant s place in Europe is striking in the two quotes below, where Prague is described as the heart of Europe whereas Bogazici University is described as placed in a city at a crossroad of cultures: I am glad that here in the heart of Europe, in Prague, and thanks to the personal efforts and reputation of one of Europe s most eminent Statesmen [Vaclav Havel], we are able to gather a group of such distinguished people to debate issues that [a]ffect our whole world. This reinforces my conviction that enlargement of the European Union is more than simply a political or economic process: it is another milestone in the development of our civilisation. (van den Broek, 1998) It is a great pleasure and honour for me to stand before you today in this famous Bogazici University situated in one of the most cosmopolitan cities of the world, a crossroad of cultures and civilisations with a glorious past and no doubt a dynamic future. (Verheugen, 2000a, p. 1) With regard to Turkey the reference to duty or kinship is virtually absent. Only two such references to Turkey as part of the European family have been found. One is in a speech by Hans van den Broek in Bucharest: All are
15 THE QUESTION OF LEGITIMACY AND JUSTIFICATION IN THE EU S ENLARGEMENT POLICY 505 aware of the important geopolitical and strategic factors which favour Turkey s integration into the European family (van den Broek, 1997g). 13 However, the reasons provided for such an inclusion are strategic. They have nothing to do with notions of duty or solidarity, which is most often the case when references are made to central and eastern Europe. This might contribute to our understanding of why Turkey has not been prioritized in the EU s enlargement policy. Furthermore, the fact that the element of kinship-based duty is so strong in the arguments related to enlargement towards central and eastern Europe might contribute to explaining why important financial efforts are, for example, put into helping Poland to fulfil the conditions for membership. Under normal circumstances Poland should not be allowed into the EU during the first round of enlargement. It is less prepared than the other eastern European countries and the negotiations with the EU are lagging behind the others. 14 It would seem as if history works against Turkey and in favour of eastern Europe. As Neumann and Welsh have showed, Turkey is together with Russia one of the human collectivities that has historically been one of Europe s others (Neumann and Welsh, 1991). Looking back on western policies and statements on eastern Europe since the second world war, the opposite seems to be the case with regard to eastern Europe. This contrast helps explain the EU s commitment to enlarge after the end of the cold war. It shows that the decision on enlargement is embedded in long-term normative commitments to central and eastern Europe. Eastern Europe as the Kidnapped West Rather than constituting the other to western Europe s identity the east Europeans constituted the kidnapped West. 15 The importance of the myth of Yalta, symbolizing the failure of the west to prevent the division of Europe, is often stressed in discussion of western policies towards eastern Europe. The image of the west abandoning eastern Europe at the end of the second world war however inaccurate it may be has remained powerful, and colours both east European perceptions of western policies and the west s own 13 The other is in a speech by Javier Solana (2000) where he says that [i]ts [Turkey s] accession, I am sure, will enrich the Union and will establish Turkey s European identity. And later, [f]or almost a century, Turkey has been resolutely affirming that it is a European country. And for over fifty years it has been decisively contributing to European stability and security. The acceptance of its [Turkey s] European identity is essential to ensure that Turkey continues to choose the European option. Thus these statements still differ from those relating to central and eastern Europe. 14 I am grateful to one of the JCMS s anonymous reviewers for this point. 15 The expression is taken from Kundera (1984). The fact that Kundera later turned his back on his own argument and said that it was made for Western consumption does not weaken this claim. Rather, it confirms that from the western perspective, eastern Europe was seen as one half of a whole and that this is an argument that is expected to have resonance in western Europe.
16 506 HELENE SJURSEN policies and role conception. This was particularly an issue in French European policy. Although de Gaulle s vision of a Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals was to a large extent an anti-american policy, it was also a policy based on a vision of Europe as one of cultural identity. He sought to obtain a gradual disengagement of both superpowers in Europe and expected that west and east European countries would slowly converge, and thus the political divisions of the cold war would be overcome. These aspirations were inspired by a geopolitical vision of Europe and underlined the importance of the historic links between France and eastern Europe. The notion of a common destiny between east and west Europe was maintained and gradually reinforced throughout the cold war. Although the iron curtain constituted a border, it was one that was considered imposed by outsiders. On the eastern side of the iron curtain was the kidnapped West. This common identity was promoted by the east Europeans themselves, but was systematically echoed in the west. According to Karen Dawisha (1990, p. 75) Poland [is] not the nation that stands between East and West but rather the one that is the West in the East. The borders between east and west in Europe were often referred to as artificial. Hence the term central Europe which included parts of both east and west was often seen as more appropriate. According to Josef Joffe (1987, p. 129), Germany is Central Europe. In the past 40 years the Federal Republic of Germany has been of the west, but in the flow of history this is a novel development. In this line of reasoning the freedom of western societies and the voluntary association of western states in the European community and Nato was contrasted with the forced unity of the Warsaw Pact. Whereas the Soviet Union represented the other, the east Europeans were one of us. The often harsh criticism of western policies towards eastern Europe serves only to underline and confirm this sense of a community of Europeans that the west Europeans must not allow themselves to forget. The fact that the west Europeans were often accused of not doing enough for eastern Europe is thus not the point. The point is the expectation that they ought to do something and the moral outrage when they did not. This moral undertone of west European responsibility is reflected in the writings of many western historians. To take but one example, Norman Davies (1984, p. 431) writes that it is a curious phenomenon. But after two hundred years of tragic repetitions the Poles have not yet learned how to lie down flat and avoid their periodic thrashings; and western opinion in general has still not learned to give them credit for standing up to resist. The emergence of détente does not have to be read as a signal of the end to this and as an acceptance of the division of Europe. It can equally well be seen as a change in tactics. In the article, Peaceful Engagement in Eastern
17 THE QUESTION OF LEGITIMACY AND JUSTIFICATION IN THE EU S ENLARGEMENT POLICY 507 Europe which is often seen as the precursor to the policy of détente, the authors suggested that this policy should: (1) aim at stimulating further diversity in the Communist bloc; (2) thus increasing the likelihood that the East European states can achieve a greater measure of political independence from Soviet domination; (3) thereby ultimately leading to the creation of a neutral belt of states which, like the Finnish, would enjoy genuine popular freedom of choice in internal policy while not being hostile to the Soviet Union and not belonging to Western military alliances. (Brzezinski and Griffith, 1961, p. 644) Likewise, Garthoff (1994, p. 140) has suggested that: the largely abortive proclamation about stimulating peaceful engagement and bridge-building in the mid-1960s looked suspiciously like continuous attempts to curtail Soviet political influence in Eastern Europe. The underlying assumption of a sense of a particular responsibility towards eastern Europe thus does not seem to have disappeared. The disagreement, and the criticism that emerged, referred to the issue of how best to ensure the liberation of the kidnapped, not to whether or not this liberation was an issue for western governments. Events in Poland in the early 1980s reinforce the image of détente as a change in tactics, which ultimately reinforced the sense of responsibility towards eastern Europe. West European discussions during this crisis highlight the dilemma of navigating between what is desirable and what is possible, which has been at the core of the relationship between east and west in Europe since the end of the second world war (Sjursen, 2002). The west Europeans accepted the political division of Europe as the prevailing political condition; however this does not have to mean that it was considered desirable. It is possible that the western states never believed they would be in a position where they would be expected to make good on their promises. However, when the empirical conditions changed at the end of the cold war, this became a costly necessity. Conclusion The aim of this article has not been to discuss whether or not the EU will enlarge but why we have come to where we now are in the enlargement process, and in particular why the EU has prioritized some states in the enlargement process. In order to do so I have analysed the qualitatively different reasons presented by the actors involved. Thus, in accordance with a tradition of explanation through interpretation, I have sought to explain enlargement by making intelligible the goals for which it was undertaken.
18 508 HELENE SJURSEN Based on a distinction between rights-based and value-based normative justifications, it has been suggested that a sense of kinship-based duty contributes to an explanation not only of the general decision to enlarge to central and eastern Europe but of the differentiated support for enlargement to this group of states in comparison to Turkey. Hence, the analysis here fits with what existing research on enlargement has concluded, but takes the analysis a step further. Firstly, it challenges the assumption that the mechanisms through which norms and identities have an impact are self-interested calculations of costs and benefits. Norms do not matter because it costs something not to comply with them, but because they are ends in themselves. They appeal to principles or values that are considered valid, true or right. Secondly, the findings of this article take the explanation beyond the existing literature by suggesting that enlargement is based not only on the norms of a liberal-democratic international community but on a community-based identity. It is this identity that drives enlargement towards eastern Europe and motivates the EU to accept its costs. It shows that the decision on enlargement is the result of an understanding of who the Europeans are and what it means to be European. Liberal democratic norms are a necessary condition for enlargement, but not on their own sufficient to explain the decision to include particular countries. This observation helps us understand the prioritization of the central and east European applicants. This prioritization cannot be explained unless the distinction between ethical-political and moral arguments is made. Arguably, the case for this conclusion would have been stronger if Turkey s human rights record had been comparable to the rest of the accession candidates. Turkey s failure to respect fundamental human rights is on its own enough to explain why the country was included neither in the first nor in the second round of enlargement negotiations. However, if human rights concerns were the principal driving force behind enlargement, then we should have expected comparatively more resources in support of democratization going from the EU to Turkey than from the EU to, for example, Poland. As Lundgren (1998) shows, the opposite has happened. Hence, respect for democracy and human rights is an unequivocal condition for membership in the EU, but not the principal driving force for enlargement. Rather, the key forces are identity as the case of central and east European applications suggests, or utility calculations as the final acceptance of Turkey as a candidate implies. More research is required to investigate to what extent differentiation between the central and eastern European applicants can also be understood according to such logics. According to the framework established here, one might expect that the further applicants are from the existing EU, the more
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