The Emergence and Consolidation of the Administrative Capacity Criteria within the EU Enlargement Policy

Main Article Content

Matteo Bonomi


The article gives a critical assessment of the emergence, development and consolidation of the administrative capacity criteria for entering the European Union (EU). The administrative capacity criteria emerged for the first time during the 5th European Enlargement (2004-07) under soft political conditionality, showing a limited impact. The criteria gained importance during the accession process of Croatia, reflecting some changes in EU enlargement policy in order to address the specificities of the Western Balkan countries. The article concludes that these criteria today have become a central part in the new EU enlargement strategy, posing strict conditions to be fulfilled by all candidate countries if they want to proceed in their path towards the EU. It will be sustained that this reorientation represents a major change in the nature of EU enlargement policy.

Article Details



Bieber, R. and Vaerini, M. 2004. “Implementation and Compliance in the Accession Countries”. In Law and Governance in an Enlarged European Union, ed. Bermann, G. A. and Pistor, K., 387-413. Portland: Hart Publishing.
Bojinović, F. and Urlić, A. 2015. “Political Criteria vs. Political Conditionality: Comparative analysis of Slovenian and Croatian European Union accession processes.” Croatian International Relations Review, 21(72): 107-37.
Börzel, T. A. 2011. “When Europeanization Hits Limited Statehood. The Western Balkans as a Test Case for the Transformative Power of Europe.” KFG Working Paper Series, 30, September.
Börzel, T. A. and Risse, T. 2003. “Conceptualising the Domestic Impact of Europe”. In The Politics of Europeanisation, ed. Featherstone, K. and Radaelli, C., 55-78. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bossert, D. and Demmke, C. 2003. Civil Services in the Accession States: New Trends and the Impact of the Integration Process. Maastricht: EIPA.
Bugarič, B. 2006. “The Europeanisation of National Administration in Central and Eastern Europe: Creating Formal Structures Without Substance?” In Après Enlargement. Legal and Political Responses in Central and Eastern Europe, ed. Sadurski, W., Ziller, J., Zurek, K., 201-30. Firenze: European University Institute.
Cassese, S. 2003. Lo spazio giuridico globale. Roma-Bari: Laterza.
Demmke, C. 2002. “Undefined Boundaries and Grey Areas: The Evolving Interaction Between the EU and National Public Services.” Eipascope, 2: 8-15.
Dimitrova, A. L. 2002. “Enlargement, Institution-Building and the EU’s Administrative Capacity Requirement.” West European Politics, 25(4): 171-90.
Dimitrova, A. L. 2005. “Europeanisation and Civil Service Reform in Central and Eastern Europe”. In The Europeanization of Central and Eastern Europe, ed. Schimmelfenning, F. and Sedelmeier, U., 71-90. New York: Cornell University Press.
Drijber, B. J. and Stergiou, H. 2009. “Public Procurement Law and Internal Market Law.” Common Market Law Review, 46(3): 805-46.
Elbasani, A. 2008. “EU Enlargement in the Western Balkans: Strategies of Borrowing and Inventing.” Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans, 10(3): 293-307.
Elbasani, A. 2012. European Integration and Transformation in the Western Balkans: Europeanization or Business as Usual? London: Routledge.
European Commission 2012. “Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2013-14”. Brussels, 10.10.2012, COM(2012) 600 final.
European Commission 2013. “Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2013-14”. Brussels, 16.10.2013, COM(2013) 700 final.
European Commission 2014. “Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2014-15”. Brussels, 8.10.2014, COM(2014) 700 final.
European Council. 1993. “European Council in Copenhagen 21-22 June 1993: Conclusion of the Presidency”. Copenhagen, 21-22.6.1993, 180/1/93.
European Council. 1995. “European Council in Madrid 15-16 December 1995: Conclusion of the Presidency”. Madrid, 15-16.12.1995, reproduced by the Bulletin of the European Communities, 12/1995.
Goetz, K. H. 2001. “European Integration and National Executives: A Cause in Search of an Effect?” In Europeanised Politics? European Integration and National Systems, ed. Goetz, K. H. and Hix, S., 211-31. London: Frank Cass.
Grabbe, H.2001. “How Does Europeanisation Affect CEE Governance? Conditionality, Diffusion and Diversity.” Journal of European Public Policy, 8(4): 1013–31.
Grabbe, H. 2006. The EU's Transformative Power: Europeanization through conditionality in Central and Eastern Europe. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Groß, L. and Grimm, S. 2014. “The external-domestic interplay in democracy promotion: a case study on public administration reform in Croatia.” Democratization, 21(5): 912-36.
Grzymala-Busse, A. 2004. “The New Dysfunctionalism? Paradoxes of EU Enlargement and the Postcommunist Candidate Countries”. APSA European Politics Section Newsletter, Spring/ Summer.
Heidbreder, E. G. 2011. “Structuring the European Administrative Space: Policy Instruments of Multi-level Administration.” Journal of European Public Policy, 18(5): 709–26.
Heidbreder, E. G. 2014. “Regulating Capacity Building by Stealth: Pattern and Extent of EU Involvement in Public Administration”. In Beyond the regulatory polity, ed. Genschel, P. and Jachtenfuchs, M., 145-65. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Heidbreder, E. G. 2015. “Horizontal Capacity Pooling: Direct, Decentralised, Joint Policy Execution”. In The Palgrave Handbook of the European Administratve System, ed. Bauer, M. W. and Trondal, J., 369-82. Houndmills: Palgrave.
Kassim, H. 2003. “Meeting the Demands of EU Membership: The Europeanization of National Administrative Systems”. In The Politics of Europeanization, ed. Featherstone, K. and Radaelli, C., 83-111. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Knill, C. 2001. The Europeanisation of National Administrations: Patterns of Institutional Change and Persistence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Koprić, I. 2008. “Managing Public Administration Reform in Croatia”. Hrvatska javna uprava, 8(3): 551-65.
Koprić, I. 2011. “Contemporary Croatian Public Administration on Reform Waves”. Update version of Paper for the IPSA XXI World Congress of Political Science, Santiago de Chile, 12-16 July 2009.
Lenaerts, K. and Nuffel, P. 1999.Constitutional Law of the European Union.London: Sweet & Maxwell.
Mayer-Sahling, J. H. 2004. “Civil Service Reform in Post-communist Europe: The Bumpy Road to Depoliticisation”. West European Politics, 27(1): 69-101.
Meyer-Sahling, J. H.2009. The Sustainability of Civil Service Reform in Central and Eastern Europe Five Years after Accession.SIGMA Paper 44, Paris: OECD Publications.
Meyer-Sahling, J. H. 2011. “The Durability of EU Civil Service Policy in Central and Eastern Europe” Governance, 24(2): 231-60.
Meyer-Sahling, J. H.2012. Civil Service Professionalization in the Western Balkans. SIGMA Paper Nr 48. Paris: OECD Publications.
OECD. 1998. Preparing Public Administrations for the European Administrative Space. SIGMA Paper 23, Paris: OECD Publications.
OECD. 1999. European Principles of Public Administration. SIGMA Paper 27, Paris: OECD Publications.
OECD. 2011. Assessment Croatia 2011. SIGMA, Paris: OECD Publications.
OECD. 2014. The Principles of Public Administration. SIGMA, Paris: OECD Publications.
Olsen, J. 2003. “Towards a European Administrative Space?” Journal of European Public Policy, 10(4): 506-31.
Page, E. 2003. “Europeanisation and the Persistence of Administrative Systems”. In Governing Europe, ed. Hayward, J. and Menon A., 162-78. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Page, E. and Wouters, L.1995. “The Europeanisation of the National Bureauracies?” In Bureaucracy in the Modern State: An Introduction to Comparative Public Administration, ed. Pierre, J., 185-204. Aldershot: Edward Elgar.
Pollitt, C. 2001. “Convergence: The Useful Myth?” Public Administration, 79(4): 933-47.
Schwarze, J. (ed.) (1992). European Administrative Law. London: Sweet & Maxwell.
Schwarze, J. (ed.) (1996). Administrative Law under European Influence: On the Convergence of the Administrative Laws of the EU Member States. London: Sweet & Maxwell.
Tuori, K. 2010. Ratio and Voluntas. The Tension Between Reason and Will in Law. Helsinki: Ashgate.
Verheijen, A. J. G. 1995.Constitutional Pillars for New Democracies. Leiden: DSWO Press.
Verheijen, A. J. G. 2000. “Administrative Capacity Development: A Race Against Time?” WRR Working Documents, 107.
Verheijen, A. J. G. 2003. “Public Administration in Post-Communist States”. In Handbook of Public Administration, ed. Peters, B. G. and Pierre, J., 489-99. London: Sage.
Ziller, J. 1998. “EU Integration and Civil Service Reform”. In Preparing Public Administrations for the European Administrative Space, OECD, SIGMA Paper 23, 136-54. Paris: OECD Publications.