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Ferenc Laczó Publishes Op-Ed in New Eastern Europe
March 21, 2024

Ferenc Laczó (István Deák Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of History) published an op-ed in New Eastern Europe, “An unconventional marriage: twenty years since the EU’s ‘Big Bang enlargement’.”

As they were entering into this marriage, West Europeans tended to trust that adding numerous rather peripheral – and mostly smallish – countries could be managed well and thought that the process was unlikely to transform Europe as a whole. This made good sense at the time. The gap between “the two halves of the continent” may never have appeared as large as when the Copenhagen Criteria were formulated in 1993. In those same years, East Europeans were experiencing a deep socio-economic crisis and undertaking an unprecedented transformation. Unlike their groom, they cherished illusions prior to 2004 that their future EU membership would soon result in substantial – individual as well as collective – equality within the enlarged project of integration.