The impact of the Eastern enlargement on the decision-making capacity of the European Union
This contribution investigates the impact of the Eastern enlargement on the decision-making capacity of the European Union. On the basis of new data on the number and types of legal acts produced by the EU (1994–2014) and on the time between the proposal and adoption of legislative acts (1994–2012), the contribution argues that enlargement has had a rather limited impact on legislative production and duration and that it is extremely hard to disentangle this impact from other contemporaneous institutional and socioeconomic developments. On the basis of analyses of expert-based policy positions of member states in EU negotiations and on voting data from the Council of Ministers of the EU, it is argued that enlargement has possibly added a new dimension of contestation in EU legislative decision-making, but one that concerns a relatively small share of all negotiations in few policy fields like environment. All in all, there is no evidence that the Eastern enlargement has led to the institutional gridlock and loss of decision-making capacity that the public, many politicians and some academics as well have feared.