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The Legal Framework of Eu Enlargement

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Chapter Summary

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania regained their independence in August 1991 on the basis of the international law principle of state continuity. In combination with the unpredictable domestic situation in Russia, the legal uncertainties after the restoration of the Baltic States' independence created an atmosphere with huge potential for conflict. The integration of the Baltic States in the EU enlargement process, on a par with the other countries from Central and Eastern Europe, can be regarded as the EU's response to this challenging environment. The analysis of the EU's enlargement policy rather reveals a process of ad hoc reactions depending on the rapidly changing context in the EU, the candidate countries and Russia. Significantly, the three Baltic States followed a slightly different path to accession in comparison to the other new Member States from Central and Eastern Europe.

Keywords: Baltic states; Estonia; EU's enlargement policy; international law principle; Latvia; Lithuania



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