Technical Report, pp.1-34, 2015
In this paper, we analyze the Bulgarian and Turkish accession negotiations to the European Union based on
propositions derived from different theoretical frameworks. In order to do so, we first analyze the Turkish
and the Bulgarian ability to fulfill the EU’s political criteria, and compare their respective positions with
regards to EU political conditionality as key to unlock their different paths of accession. Secondly, we consider the unfolding of the accession negotiations and the role of individual member states as veto players.
We limit our focus to a comparative analysis of the EU’s political evaluation, and to the lack of consensus
and commitment among the EU member states towards Turkey as a complicating factor during EU negotiations. We are able to ascertain that a key difference between Bulgaria and Turkey with regards to their
EU accession was the Bulgarian ability to conform to the EU political criteria comparatively better than
Turkey. Yet, beyond the candidates’ specific factors, we are able to determine that the role of the individual
member states as veto players has become more visible in the Turkish case. As a result, we can show that
who gets in, how and when to the EU depends on the interplay of these multilateral and bilateral aspects
of the negotiations process.