Tom Gallagher
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It is clear that Romania joined with the accession criteria relaxed or even set aside in key areas. The European Union (EU) revealed itself to be an institution that had great difficulty projecting democratic values and indeed ethical forms of capitalism into inhospitable terrain. Political power continued to be wielded by a narrow set of parties and economic interest groups. The shape of the acquis communautaire determined the nature of the EU's engagement with Romania. The EU failed to make a significant impact on the corruption, clientelism and very low standards in public life that characterised Romanian politics. It established a privileged partnership with political forces with a questionable commitment to democracy and an inability not to plunder public funds even in the full gaze of Eurocrats. The mishandling of the Romanian application means that a large, under-developed state now finds itself inside the Union.

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Romania and the European Union

How the weak vanquished the strong


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