Since the pivotal event of former dictator Nicolae Ceausescu’s execution on Christmas Day 1989, and the subsequent fall of the Soviet Union, Romania has established itself as a friend to democratic values and to global security and stability. In less than 30 years, Romania has adjusted its economy to support capital markets, strengthened its institutions enough to gain membership into the European Union, and invested in its security and its internal values enough to gain membership into NATO.
At no point in modern European history have the people of Ukraine occupied as important a role in European geopolitical developments as they do today. Although not yet immediately apparent, the 2014 overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych and the political and economic transformation will have greater geopolitical consequences than European policy makers often assume. If Ukraine’s transformation fails, its example will deliver a shattering blow to those calling for increased liberalization in remaining illiberal states across Eastern Europe.
Author Abigail Adams examines the primary obstacles to EU accession that faced Romania and Bulgaria, as well as the difficulties in maintaining EU standards that both countries have faced since 2007, and offers prescriptions on how to develop more successful EU accession processes.