Thanking the Greeks: The Crisis of the Rule of Law in eu Enlargement Regulation

in Southeastern Europe
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This paper showcases the weaknesses of eu enlargement law and demonstrates how one Member State – namely, Greece – is notable for abusing this weakness, for harming the candidate countries, the eu, and the institutions alike, for stripping the eu position of its predictability, and for undermining the eu Commission’s efforts. Accordingly, Greece has severely incapacitated the key procedural rule of law component of the eu’s enlargement regulation, turning it into a randomised political game and ignoring any long-term goals of stability, prosperity, and peace that the process is to stand for. Following a walk through Greece’s engagement throughout a number of enlargement rounds, the paper concludes that the duty of loyalty – which is presumably able to discipline Member States that undermine the common effort – should find a new meaning in the context of eu enlargement.



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 See, for instance, Uilenreef 2010, with regard to the impact of the bilateral dispute between Slovenia and Croatia on the eu integration efforts of the latter.


Shaelou 2010: 60, for instance, notes that after Cyprus’ accession to the Union, the aim of recognition of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey and the normalisation of the relations between Cyprus and Turkey was to be achieved by exerting political pressure, as well as through the ‘technical requirements deriving from binding instruments of [eu] law’.


Tocci 2002: 108, for instance, argues that a settlement of the dispute was effectively a condition in the Opinion on the application of Cyprus. See also Bourne 2001: 394.


 Quoted in McCartan 2002.


Thus, on 16 February 1994, the Greek government placed a total embargo on Macedonia, with the sole exception of food and pharmaceuticals. On 22 April 1994 the Commission brought an action against Greece in front of the ecj, claiming that the Member State misused its powers by failing to justify the unilateral measures prohibiting trade: see Case C–120/94 Commission of the European Communities v Hellenic Republic [1996] ecr I–1513. With the conclusion of the ‘un Interim Accord Between the Hellenic Republic and the fyrom’, un Doc 95−27866 of 13 September 1995 (Interim Accord), Greece lifted the trade restrictions and the Commission decided to withdraw its application.


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