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Conflict, Negotiation and European Union Enlargement

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About the Authors
  • Each wave of expansion of the European Union has led to political tensions and conflict. Existing members fear their membership privileges will diminish and candidates are loath to concede the expected benefits of membership. Despite these conflicts, enlargement has always succeeded - so why does the EU continue to admit new states even though current members might lose from their accession? Combining political economy logic with statistical and case study analyses, Christina J. Schneider argues that the dominant theories of EU enlargement ignore how EU members and applicant states negotiate the distribution of enlargement benefits and costs. She explains that EU enlargement happens despite distributional conflicts if the overall gains of enlargement are redistributed from the relative winners among existing members and applicants to the relative losers. If the overall gains from enlargement are sufficiently great, a redistribution of these gains will compensate losers, making enlargement attractive for all states.

    Reviews & endorsements

    “Christina Schneider’s study of the process and outcomes of EU accession is a model of modern political economy research. By combining quantitative and qualitative methods with a rigorous theoretical approach grounded in the analysis of distributional conflict, she provides a thoroughly convincing account of the sources and dimensions of differentiated integration.”
    Lisa L. Martin, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University

    “Rational choice approaches cannot explain the dynamics of EU integration and especially EU enlargement – so they say. Schneider’s book consigns this statement to the realms of fantasy. She forcefully demonstrates that the contrary is true: EU enlargement leads to distributional conflicts which are only predicted by rationalist approaches to EU integration. This volume is an essential reading for anyone interested in political integration and international conflict.”
    Thomas Plümper, University of Essex

    “Christina Schneider’s analysis of distributional bargaining and discrimination adds a missing piece to the enlargement puzzle. A major step ahead in theorizing the expansion of the European Union.”
    Frank Schimmelfennig, Center for Comparative and International Studies, ETH Zurich

    “Christina Schneider has written a remarkably wide-ranging and analytically deep and compelling analysis of EU enlargement. Carefully dissecting the many and complex distributional battles involved in successive enlargement rounds and pondering their implications, her work stands out as one of the best studies on a central aspect of European integration – methodologically sophisticated, thorough, and original.”
    Walter Mattli, Professor of International Political Economy, Oxford University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2009
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9780511460227
    • availability: Adobe Reader ebooks available from
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    List of tables
    List of acronyms
    1. Introduction
    2. EU enlargements and transitional periods
    3. A rationalist puzzle of EU enlargement?
    4. A theory of discriminatory membership
    5. EU enlargement, distributional conflicts, and the demand for compensation
    6. The discriminatory of membership
    7. Discriminatory membership and intra-union redistribution
    8. Conclusion

  • Author

    Christina J. Schneider, University of California, San Diego
    Christina J. Schneider is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego. She studies the interrelationships between international cooperation and distributional conflict on the domestic and international level with a focus on the European Union. Her work has appeared in the British Journal of Political Science, International Organization, International Studies Quarterly, the Journal of Conflict Resolution, the Journal of European Public Policy, and Public Choice.

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