Last Train West


Last Train West

Taking stock of Romania’s EU accession – In conversation with Jochen M. Richter

Your book “Last Train West” takes stock fifteen years after Romania’s controversial EU accession. What is the result?

Mixed, and this is also clear from the statements of my interview partners. Whereas Brussels looked too much at the technical side, the Germans are in part resentful of the accession, which they perceive as having happened too quickly. According to some, Romania was not optimally prepared and today there is disgruntlement, for example, about the monitoring mechanism that is still in place.

To what extent has Romania – to paraphrase the title of your book – caught “the last train”?

Günter Verheugen said it very directly, that enlargement fatigue became very widespread after 2004. And let’s not forget that a good year later the financial crisis changed the focus considerably. Then an open question of enlargement for Romania would probably have faded away completely.

Would you like to venture an outlook on Ukraine’s EU accession?

I see certain parallels to the Romanian accession process. While the EU and large parts of the member states see the historical obligation, there is once again an enlargement discussion that is not moving forward, as the Balkan Summit showed. In the preface, Prof. Gehler describes the prospects as illusory.