The post-enlargement European order: Europe 'united in diversity'?
The enlargement of the European Union has led to an increase of diversity within the European area. While the project of enlargement can be understood as one in which the European Union has sought to defend an exclusive understanding of European identity (a ‘Fortress Europe’), the combined process of enlargement and constitutionalisation can be seen to have ultimately contributed to an opening up as well as a rendering more contingent of the European project. The theoretical argument of the paper holds that the tendency towards this diversity and contingency is not reflected and difficult to deal with in some of the major theories on European integration. The argument is flanked by a substantive account which analyses the actual transformation of the European project. I conclude that the post-enlargement situation can indeed be more adequately described as one of diversity and openness rather than homogeneity and increasing unity. Nevertheless, the incorporation of diversity still leaves much to be desired, not in the least because of a ‘procedural’ interpretation of the deliberative mode. In order to effectively take difference into account, deliberation should include the recognition of difference and an emphasis on mutual understanding, rather than being focused on consensus-building.