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The Copenhagen Criteria: Efforts Required Before And After Accession

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Chapter Summary

The Copenhagen criteria, in one form or another, were applied by the Union in its pre-accession conditionality from the very first enlargement. In the first enlargement, the political, economic and legal conditions applicable to the candidate were all concretely applied as well as in the next two enlargements, to take in Greece, Portugal and Spain. The fourth Copenhagen criterion is often given more cursory attention that the other three when reference is made to the Copenhagen criteria in the context of the pre-accession strategy. A full exploration of the political arm of the Copenhagen criteria is not fully relevant to the agri-food and environment acquis, other than to emphasise that the candidate and potential candidate countries are first concerned with these issues in order to then be able to focus on the economic and legal Copenhagen criteria. The close relationship between the Copenhagen criteria and the aquis communautaire is apparent.

Keywords: acquis communautaire; Copenhagen criteria; political objectives; pre-accession strategy

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