Eastern enlargement and differentiated integration: towards normalization
Against the background of theoretical arguments and the historical record, enlargements of the European Union tend to increase differentiated integration. The actual development of differentiation of the 2004 and 2007 accession countries can, therefore, be seen as an indicator of the Union’s integration capacity. We map the newcomers’ differentiated integration since accession, and also distinguish between exemptions and discrimination. Furthermore, we approximate a counterfactual scenario of how their level of differentiation might have developed in the absence of recent accession through a comparison to the Southern member states. Finally, we explore correlations between exemptions, discriminations and two structural country characteristics, wealth and identity. Overall, the level, trajectory and patterns of differentiation point towards a normalization of the new member states’ integration in the Union.