- Volume 27
- Number 1
Studia Europejskie –
Studies in European Affairs
Articles published in the journal are under a Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial – No Derivatives 4.0 International License
The EU Eastern Enlargement Policy Under the Pressure of Geopolitics. The Bulgarian Case (Russia’s Little Brother)
The Bulgarian case is symptomatic of the susceptibility of the EU enlargement policy under geopolitical pressure. The aim of this text is to add arguments to the statement that the dynamic of Bulgaria’s accession to the
EU has been strongly influenced by external factors – mainly Yugoslavia’s disintegration and the subsequential Kososvo crisis. This crisis brought up the issue of the huge Russian influence over Bulgarian politics and
societies and, as a result, predetermined the perception of Bulgaria as a high security risk for EU. In this situation, Bulgaria was an object of de-securitisation by the EU’s enlargement policy, but at the same time its main instrument, namely, the conditionality policy, was neglected. From this point of view, the Bulgarian case is important because: it illustrates the effects of this discrepancy to date; it is instructive in the context of EU enlargement policy towards the Western Balkans with huge Russian influence; and also in the context of the acceleration of the EU’s eastern enlargement policy toward Ukraine and Moldova because of the pressure of the ongoing Russian military invasion. The opportunity for accelerating the pre-accession process under the influence of unpredicted external events created prerequisites for politicising the whole process, including the political use of the conditionality and the consequently unfinished preaccession preparation of the newcomers. The research task is fulfilled by a synthesis of primary and secondary sources organised around three main questions – Which external circumstances? Why? and, How? The results of a discourse analysis of interviews with key participants in Bulgaria’s EU integration process are used as a starting point.
Agh, A. (2016) “The Deconsolidation of Democracy in East-Central Europe: The New World Order and the EU’s Geopolitical Crisis”, Politics in Central Europe. Vol. 12(3), pp. 7–36. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/pce-2016-0015.
Baeva, I. (2019) Iztochna Evropa – smiana na integracionnata posoka ot Iztok na Zapad (Източна Европа-смяна на интеграционната посока от Изток на Запад) in Kraiat na studenata voina I evropeiskata integracia/dezintegracia prez 90te godini na XXv. (Краят на Студената война и
европейската интеграция/дезинтграция през 90те години на XX). Sofia: Universitetsko izdatelstvo, pp. 50–71.
Bindi, F. and Angelescu, I. (2013) The Geopolitical Implications of Future Enlargements in Laursen, F. (ed.) EU Enlargement: Current Challenges and Strategic Choices. Brussels: P.L.E. PETER LANG, pp. 75–85.
Boev, J. (2021) Bulgaria, mitichniat plan “Podkova” I operaciata “Saiuzna sila” sreshtu Yugoslavia (България, митичният план „Подкова“ и операция „Съюзна сила срещу Югославия”) in Balgaria I Balkanite prez XXv.: Vanshna politika I publichna diplomacia (България и Балканите през XXвл: Външна политика и публична дипломация). Sofi a: Universitetsko izdatelstvo, pp. 410–429.
Conley et al. (2016) The Kremlin Playbook: Understanding Russian influence in Central and Eastern Europe. London: CSIS: Rowman & Littlefield.
De Bardeleben, J. (2013) The End of the Cold War, EU Enlargement and the EU-Russian Relationship in Kitchen, N. (ed.) The Crisis of enlargement. Special Report SR018 November 2013. London: LSE Ideas, pp. 45–51.
Debati (2019) 20 godini ot vizitata, koyato promeni pŭtya na Bŭlgariya (20 години от визитата, която промени пътя на България). Available at: https://debati.bg/20-godini-ot-vizitata-koyato-promeni-patya-nabalgaria-snimki-video (Access 1.03.2023).
Decheva, D. (2023) Inconveniences of Memory. The Monument to the Soviet Army and Georgi Dimitrov’s Mausoleum in Sofia after 1989. Acta Poloniae Historica [online]. 30.01, T. 126, pp. 89–100. DOI 10.12775/APH.2022.126.05.
Dimitrov, G. (2019) “How and Why Did the Laggards Turn Out to Be the Forerunners of a Major Transformation in the EU’s Integration Strategy? Bulgaria and Romania’s Peculiar Role in Redefi ning the EU Integration Strategy”, Southeastern Europe. Vol. 43(1), pp. 28–49. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/18763332-04301002.
Dinan, D. (2010) Ever closer Union. An Introduction on European Integration. London: Palgrave Macmillan. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/9781685856892.
Elezi, G. (2013) Weak Conditionality and Uncertain Membership Perspective. Discussing EU Integration of the Western Balkans. Lessons for Applicant States in Laursen, F. (ed.) EU Enlargement: Current challenges and Strategic Choices. Brussels: P.L.E. PETER LANG, pp. 237–251.
Euroactiv (2022) Germany warns Serbia: Choose between EU and Russia. Available at: https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/germany-warnsserbia-choose-between-eu-and-russia/ (Access 1.03.2023).
Eurobarometer (2022) In face of the war in Ukraine, the citizens closed ranks in support of the EU. Available at: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/pdfs/news/expert/2022/6/press_release/20220616IPR33222/20220616IPR33222_bg.pdf (Access 1.03.2023).
European Parliament (1999) Helsinki European Council 10 And 11 December 1999 Presidency Conclusions. Available at: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/summits/hel1_en.htm (Access 1.02.2023).
Gateva, E. (2015) European Union Enlargement Conditionality. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137482433.
Giatzidis, E. (2004) „Bulgaria on the road to European Union”, Southeast European and Black Sea Studies. Vol. 4:3, pp. 434–457. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/1468385042000247648.
Grabbe, H. (2017) Enlargement Policy towards Central and Eastern Europe What EU Policy-makers Learned in Ikonomu, A. and Andry, A. (eds.) European Enlargement Across Rounds and Beyond the Borders. London: Routledge, pp. 120–139. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315460017-7.
Haughton, T. (2007) “When Does the EU Make a Difference? Conditionality and the Accession Process in Central and Eastern Europe”, Political Studies Review. Vol. 5(2), pp. 233–246. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1478-9299.2007.00130.x.
Kalinova, E. and Baeva, I. (2010) Balgarskite prehodi 1939–2010 (Българските преходи). Sofi a: Paradigma.
Katsikas, S. (2012) Negotiating Diplomacy in the New Europe. Foreign Policy in the Post-Communist Bulgaria. London: I.B. Tauris. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5040/9780755620470.
Kochenov, D. (2004) „Behind the Copenhagen façade. The meaning and structure of the Copenhagen political criterion of democracy and the rule of law”, European Integration online Papers. Vol. 8(10).
Lundestad, G. (2004) The United States and Western Europe Since 1945: From “Empire” by Invitation to Transatlantic Drift. Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2004. Available at: https://academic.oup.
com/book/26867 (Access 1.01.2023).
Maniokas, K. (2004) The method of the European Union’s enlargement to the east: a critical appraisal in Dimitrova, A. (ed.) Driven to change: The European Union’s Enlargement viewed from the East. Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 17–37.
Marsh, S. and Rees, W. (2012) The European Union in the Security of Europe. From Cold War to Terror War. New York: Routledge. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203803042.
Milzow, K. (2012) National Interests and European Integration Discourse and Politics of Blair, Chirac and Schroder. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
O’Brennan, J. (2006) The Eastern Enlargement of the European Union. London: Routledge. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203008706.
O’Brennan, J. (2006a) “Bringing Geopolitics Back in Exploring the Security Dimension of the 2004 Eastern Enlargement of the European Union”. Cambridge Review of International Affairs. Vol. 19(1), pp. 155–169. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09557570500501911.
Papadimitriou, D. (2002) Negotiating the New Europe. The European Union and Eastern Europe. Ashgate: Burlington.
Papadimitriou, D. and Gateva, E. (2012) Between Enlargement-Led Europeanisation and Balkan Exseptionalism: An Appraisal of Bulgaria’s and Romania’s Entry into the European Union in Shiva, C. and Phinnemore, D. (eds.) The European Union’s 2007 Enlargement. London: Routledge, pp. 4–19.
Sedelmeier, U. (2010) Enlargement: From Rules for Accession to a Policy toward Europe in Wallace, H., Pollack, M. and Young, A. (eds.) Policy-Making in the European Union. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 401–431.
Shiva, C. and Phinnemore, D. (eds.) (2012) The European Union’s 2007 Enlargement. London: Routledge.
Skalnes, L. (2005) Geopolitics and the eastern enlargement of the European Union in Schimmelfennig, F. and Sedelmaier, U. (eds.) The Polities of EU Enlargement. Theoretical Approaches. London: Routledge, pp. 213–235.
Smith, K. (2011) Enlargement, the Neighborhood, and European Order in Hill, K., Smith, M. and Vanchoonacker, S. (eds.) International Relations and the European Union. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Steunenberg, B. and Dimitrova, A. (2007) „Compliance in the EU enlargement process: The limits of conditionality”, European Integration on-line Papers. Vol. 11, No. 5.
Vachudova, M. (2014) “EU Leverage and National Interests in the Balkans: The Puzzles of Enlargement Ten Years On”, JCMS. Vol. 52(1), pp. 122–138. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/jcms.12081.
Veleva-Eftimova, M. (2017) “Zavrashtaneto na Balgaria v Evropa – pod siankata na rusofi lskata tradicia” (“Завръщането на България в Европа под сянката на русофилската традиция”), Sociologicheski problemi. Vol. 1–2, pp. 186–208.
Veleva-Eftimova, M. (2019) „The compromises involved in the EU’s eastern enlargement and the quality of the result: implications for the western Balkans?”, SEER Journal for Labour and Social Affairs in Eastern
Europe. Vol. 22(1), pp. 87–104. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5771/1435-2869-2019-1-87.
Veleva-Eftimova, M. (2021) “Podkrepa/saprotiva za prisaediniavaneto na Balgaria kam ES – v konteksta na politikata za razshiriavane”, Politicheski izsledvania. Vol. 1–2, pp. 254–276.
How to Cite:
Veleva-Eftimova, M. (2023) "The EU Eastern Enlargement Policy Under the Pressure of Geopolitics. The Bulgarian Case (Russia’s Little Brother)". Studia Europejskie – Studies in European Affairs, 1-2023, pp. 63-79. DOI: 10.33067/SE.1.2023.3
Veleva-Eftimova M. (2023). The EU Eastern Enlargement Policy Under the Pressure of Geopolitics. The Bulgarian Case (Russia’s Little Brother). Studia Europejskie – Studies in European Affairs, 1-2023, 63-79. DOI: https://doi.org/10.33067/SE.1.2023.3
Veleva-Eftimova, Mirela. 2023. "The EU Eastern Enlargement Policy Under the Pressure of Geopolitics. The Bulgarian Case (Russia’s Little Brother)". Studia Europejskie – Studies in European Affairs 1-2023, 63-79. DOI: https://doi.org/10.33067/SE.1.2023.3