2004 Eu Enlargement Agreement
After examining these issues, the Madrid European Council of December 1995 was therefore able, for the first time, to refer to an enlargement timetable (including an important „if“ condition linking enlargement to institutional reform): accession negotiations could begin six months after the satisfactory conclusion of the IGC on the reform of the Treaties. Governments are more openly opposed to enlargement than before the 2004 enlargement, particularly with regard to Turkey. A serious deterioration in public approval has led to a hardening of the government`s attitude, even if the elites remain more positive. However, at present, it does not appear that the government`s attitude towards enlargement has fundamentally changed; certainly not on the basis of the experience of enlargement to the East. For normative declarations, „impartiality and consistency are necessary conditions of validity“ (Pie, 1992). Consequently, the EC`s first reaction to the CEECs` applications for membership was the recognition of a particular responsibility towards them. This responsibility has been reflected in practice in a series of association agreements focusing on the liberalisation of trade, economic aid and political cooperation. This political decision responded to the idea of „concentric circles“, seen as a solution to the debate between enlargement and deepening. The so-called Europe agreements could restructure the architecture of Europe in the interest of the Community and fulfil the moral duty to help the new democracies and overcome the division of the continent. The political conditionality clauses inserted in the agreements have served not only the identity of the EU Member States as democracies based on the rule of law and respect for human rights, but also the security interests of the Twelve.