European integration through ‘soft conditionality’
The contribution of culture to EU enlargement in Southeast Europe

  • EIC
Category: article
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Year: 2017
In journal: International Journal of Cultural Policy


This article discusses how the European Commission employs cultural policy to facilitate EU enlargement processes. Since 1989 the European Commission has funded cultural programs in accession states as a ‘soft’ complement to its ‘hard’ conditionality. It reflects a more general trend in which the EU employs alternative modes of governance to deal with resistance against EU interference in national affairs. By investing in culture, the EU hopes to stimulate transnational cooperation, economic growth, social cohesion and identification with the EU. However, the outcomes of these investments cannot be predicted. Characteristic for soft policy programs is that participating states are responsible for their eventual interpretation and implementation. By comparing the policies and practices of EU cultural investments in accession states Southeast Europe, and particularly in Serbia, this paper discusses the limits and possibilities of EU funded initiatives to enlargement revealing an increasing governing through soft conditionality.


Claske Vos (2017): 'European integration through 'soft conditionality'. The contribution of culture to EU enlargement in Southeast Europe', International Journal of Cultural Policy, DOI: 10.1080/10286632.2016.1276577

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