Challenges of the accession process to the European Union: study case on adoption of the acquis communautaire chapter on social policy and employment

Simona Maria Stănescu


Improvement of the EU social protection coordination is supported by monitor of social performances of the member states alongside adjustment of the negotiation process with candidate countries. The paper is focus on the evolution of adopting the social policy and employment chapter of the acquis communautaire in the case of fifth and sixth EU enlargements waves. The stable elements of this negotiation chapter are overviewed as well as period of time needed, and transitory measures established for each of the Central and East European countries. Comparative analyse of sensitive aspects within pre-accession and post-accession phases support further in-depth understanding of EU versus domestic priorities in the social field. The research hypothesis is that the standard bureaucracy of adopting the social acquis communautaire is a rather “top down” decisional process than a “bottom up” one. Legislative harmonization and strengthening the institutional framework in the field of social policy and employment could create unexpected and even opposite effects related to long term national capacity of newly member state to accomplish EU common goals. In terms of methodology, the paper is based on desk research of domestic and EU regulations related to negotiation of social policy and employment chapter, EU and national monitoring reports. Preliminary research outputs focus on the two steps fifth wave of the EU enlargement (2004 and 2007) emphasized differences among countries “ready” to adopt the social acquis (i.g. Estonia, Malta) and “less ready” ones (Bulgaria, Poland, Romania). In terms of adaptation capacity to new socio-economic challenges, chapter 13 “Social policy and employment” of the fifth wave of EU accession process acquis communautaire became chapter 19 as part of the sixth one. The paper contributes to a constructive assessment of development of the acquis communautaire as an exercise to improve the social coordination with (potential) candidate countries to EU.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n22p209

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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