This project explored how transition countries in Southern Europe as well as in Central and Eastern Europe have coped with the challenge of accession to the EU. It provided the first systematic comparison of Southern and Eastern Enlargement from the perspective of the candidate countries. Moreover, the country studies analyzed the role of new modes of governance in the adoption of and adaptation to selected EU environmental policies as an example of positive integration which imposes significant costs on and requires considerable capacities of accession countries.
Contrary to what the governance literature would expect, new modes of governance have hardly emerged in the accession process. This raises an interesting puzzle that poses a serious challenge to research on governance within and beyond the nation state. Moreover, it has significant policy implications for the ways in which external actors, such as the EU but also states and international organizations, can impact processes of domestic change in third countries.