Democracy and human rights in the EU enlargement process: focus on corruption from a human rights and democratic perspective, in relation to the EU adhesion of Western Balkan official candidates

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Collomp, Elisa
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Candidates countries to the EU accession must fulfill various criteria in order to be eligible to the adhesion. Besides, the EU enlargement process has evolved a lot these past decades, due to important historical changes. Among the new criteria settled by the EU, democracy and human rights hold a significant and prominent importance. Since the perspective of adhesion of the CEEC, the EU created the Copenhagen criteria, in order to build a new adhesion process in accordance with the EU viewpoint to enlarge towards Central and Eastern Europe. After the great enlargement of 2004, and the following ones of 2007 and 2013, it is now the turn to Western Balkan countries to run for the accession. However, the EU adhesion process to the Balkans, in spite of the lessons learned from the past enlargements, stays an uphill struggle, due to major obstacles. One of the main difficulties to the adhesion is the phenomenon of corruption. Indeed, it has been one of the main issues during the previous enlargements, and it is still one nowadays for Western Balkan official candidates to the adhesion. However, these past years, the issue of corruption has been through new and more comprehensive perspectives and studies, such as the human rights and democratic angle. Therefore, the aim of this research is to put into connexion the EU enlargements, human rights, democracy, and the phenomenon of corruption. Bringing a new perspective on corruption in relation to the EU enlargement is necessary considering the difficulties of Western Balkan official candidates to comply with the EU prerequisites, and the struggles of the EU to create and manage effective and fair pre-adhesion instruments.
Second semester University: Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski.
democracy, European Union, human rights, Balkans, corruption