The 2004 European Enlargement Round and the Curious Case of Cyprus
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The island nation of Cyprus was part of the 2004 Eastern Enlargement round despite the country’s inability to adhere to the EU membership criteria. The sensitive political situation that exists since 1974 was predicted to cause several problems to the European Union, making the country’s accession puzzling. The dominant theoretical narratives explaining the EU Eastern Enlargement round, based on the underlying principles of rationalism and constructivism fail to convincingly explain this historical development creating a gap in the literature. In this thesis intergovernmentalism and institutionalism is applied to provide better understanding of the motives and decision-making process of the European Union. The historical analysis has demonstrated that the Cyprus’ institutional upgrades came as result of a series of threats and side deals made by Greece, as Athens used its position as an EU member state to benefit Cyprus’ European cause. The EU was forced to accept the problematic Cypriot membership in order to safeguard the rest of the Eastern Enlargement project and to create a closer institutional relationship with Greece’s regional rival, Turkey. This analysis reveals that the EU behavior towards enlargement is guided for a large part, by side deals, side payments and the balancing of interests of the EU member states and candidate countries.