Organising for EU Enlargement 
 A challenge for member states and candidate countries

The Project

Organising for EU Enlargement:
A Challenge for the Member States and the Candidate States

The Dublin European Institute was awarded a research contract under the EU's Fifth Framework Programme to carry out a six country comparative study of the impact of the EU on structures and processes of public policy. The study runs from October 2001 to June 2004.

Aims and Objectives

The aim of this research project is to deepen our understanding of the processes of Europeanisation in a number of existing member states and candidate states.

The research project encompasses the following three objectives:

  • To conduct research which offers immediate policy relevance to key stakeholders in the enlarging Union;
  • To conduct comparative, theoretical and empirical research on the management of EU public policy making in three existing member states - Ireland, Greece and Finland - and three candidate states - Estonia, Hungary and Slovenia;
  • To shed light on the capacity of smaller states to adjust and to adapt to the increasing demands of Europeanisation on their systems of public policy making and therefore to identify the barriers to effective, efficient and accountable management of EU business.

Research Strategy

The research design consists of two phases and within each phase, two levels of analysis. The first phase analyses the management of EU business at the macro level of the core executive and is complemented by a micro case study of a recent policy negotiation using decision analysis. The second phase of research broadens the analytical focus to encompass other levels of government - the EU and sub-state - through multi-levelled governance. Here attention is centred upon the emergence of policy networks and the interaction between public actors and the wider civil society in specific, discrete policy sectors.


The study employs two specific methodologies: historical institutionalism and rational institutionalism in new and innovative fashion. The use of the combined perspectives provides a theoretically innovative and new approach to the study of the Europeanisation process. Both approaches can be used as they are applied to different elements of the empirical research.

Academic and Policy Implications

This study will provide deep insight into the manner in which diverse state traditions, institutions and political and administrative cultures influence national adaptation to EU governance and how the interface between national policy processes and the Brussels arena is managed. It will also provide an understanding of how national projects of modernisation are bound up with the dynamic of European integration in an interactive process, both in existing member states and in candidate states.

It is the intention of the research teams to produce research that will assist those making and managing policy to adapt and adjust to the changing Union. It will produce research findings of interest and immediate utility to stakeholders within the member and candidate states and in the EU institutions. The research will also contribute to the growing academic debate on Europeanisation.

 The Dublin European Institute