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Journal Articles Journal of European Integration / Revue d'Intégration Européenne Year : 2022

From projection to introspection: enlargement discourses since the ‘big bang’ accession

Abstract

This article explores enlargement discourses as a way to gauge the broader dynamics of European integration since the historical Eastern accession round. Studying debates in the national parliaments of France, Germany, Hungary, and Poland between 2004 and 2017, we use qualitative frame analysis to discern three types of political discourse on EU widening: normative discourses stress the EU's soft power and its moral obligation towards candidate countries; pragmatic discourses concentrate on conditionality and enlargement as a stabilisation tool; and institutional discourses emphasize efficiency and state capacity. Our findings point to a diminished relevance of the external projection of EU values and practices and instead a stronger introspective emphasis on democratic quality and internal consolidation. Overall, discourses on EU enlargement thus mirror a broader shift in the perceived nature and direction of European integration.
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hal-03833654 , version 1 (28-10-2022)

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Natasha Wunsch, Nicole Olszewska. From projection to introspection: enlargement discourses since the ‘big bang’ accession. Journal of European Integration / Revue d'Intégration Européenne, 2022, 44 (7), pp.919-939. ⟨10.1080/07036337.2022.2085261⟩. ⟨hal-03833654⟩
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