ÖZP 2007/1 S.81-94
HOW SERIOUS IS THE EUROPEAN UNION (EU) ABOUT DEMOCRACY? Democratic Standards and Requirements during EU Accession Preparations with Bulgaria and Romania
Keywords: European Union, EU-enlargement, Bulgaria, Romania
After the accession round in May 2004 with ten new EU-member states, it has been obvious that the European Union is very willing to demand democracy and the rule of law, combined with human rights and minority protection from potential new members. Following these requirements laid out in the Copenhagen criteria, the questions have to be raised "Which standards the EU has established in detail” and "How they influenced the accession procedure of Bulgaria and Romania.” bearing in mind that another enlargement round is in sight. Following analysis of the monitoring reports of the EU commission for Bulgaria and Romania, it becomes clear that a very fragmented pattern of democratic standards has been employed during the accession process: (1) Essential aspects of democracy, e.g. the political participation of citizens or the protection of state arbitrariness do not receive enough thoughtfulness or no attention at all by the EU. (2) An aggravating fact, is that severe democratic problems that are even listed in the monitoring reports do not have effects on the accession process. This is due to the fact that the political criteria of Copenhagen are considered to be fulfilled since 1998. (3) For further accession procedures it has to be made clear that the requirements in regard to democratic standards as well as the consequences of the violation of these standards have to be revised.