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Post-accession compliance with EU law in Bulgaria and Romania: a comparative perspective

Keywords: administrative adaptation , benchmarking , European law , implementation , post-Communism , Romania , political science

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This paper takes stock of academic literature and official sources on post-accession compliance in Bulgaria and Romania, the only new member states where the Commission has preserved the right to monitor key reforms following accession. The data used in the analysis suggests that formal compliance with EU law has not decreased since their accession. Quite the contrary; Bulgaria and Romania have performed well with regard to the transposition of EU law, yet signs of shortcomings have appeared at the enforcement level, possibly on a greater scale than in other CEECs. Moreover, it is argued that in the first years of membership, the Commission’s post-accession monitoring did not yield the same results in Bulgaria and Romania. While Romania has managed to convince the Commission of its good will and determination to meet the benchmarks set by the EU, Bulgaria has failed to do so and has faced sanctions in relation to the EU’s extended conditionality. The analysis concludes by presenting possible directions for further research.


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