Adaptation for autonomy? Candidates for EU membership and the CFSP
This paper looks at the specific situation of those European states currently candidates for accession to the European Union. These countries are expected to align their domestic laws and policies with the EU “acquis” to fulfil the admission criteria. Foreign policy is no exception. Indeed, the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy has become an increasingly significant part of the accession conditionality since the countries from south-east Europe embarked on the membership course. Arguably, the obligation to adapt to EU norms in the area of CFSP is stronger for candidates than for existing members of the EU. As a result, candidates might eventually enjoy more foreign policy autonomy once inside the EU than they did before accession. There is a risk that this discrepancy between the requirements of pre-accession adaptation and the relative post-accession autonomy may have a negative impact on integration in the field of foreign policy.