The European Union’s revised enlargement methodology, adopted in March 2020, contains new elements but cannot be regarded as revolutionary. As former revisions have shown, only adopting a new methodology will not suffice to counter state capture mechanisms found in varying levels throughout the South-East European six (SEE6).
This policy brief examines how the Netherlands can credibly propagate its priorities regarding EU enlargement in the context of the EU’s revised accession methodology. While this methodology warrants increased engagement from EU Member States in the accession process, that does not mean Dutch priorities on Rule of Law and democratisation will automatically be addressed, nor that support for the accession process or its effectiveness is guaranteed.
The Netherlands is keen to utilise the new entry points for greater engagement during the negotiations and vis-à-vis other Member States, the European Commission and the aspiring members themselves. However, the Netherlands could embed its positions within a more generic European vision on, for instance, the Rule of Law to ensure that its concerns about and interest in EU enlargement find greater resonance in the enlargement debates.
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