This Article will focus on one particular accession condition that is illustrative of this phenomenon, namely, the protection of minorities. The Copenhagen criteria encompass the "respect for and protection of minorities" as one of the conditions for acceding to the Union, but the Treaty on European Union ("TEU") does not explicitly mention the protection of minorities as one of the EU's principles, objectives, or competences. It is argued that the question of minority rights could find its way onto the EU internal policy agenda not only as a concern of various new Member States, but also as an unintended consequence of the pre-accession conditionality established by the Union in this regard. After examining the question of whether the "respect for and protection of minorities" is covered by EU law under the Treaty on European Union, this Article highlights some of the implications of accession for the respect for, and protection of, minorities. It then looks at whether the Draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, drafted by the European Convention, makes any suggestion to narrow the discrepancy between accession conditions and membership obligations, in regards to minority rights.
Enlargement of the European Union – The Discrepancy Between Membership Obligations and Accession Conditions as Regards the Protection of Minorities,
27 Fordham Int'l L.J. 715
Available at: http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/ilj/vol27/iss2/7