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Enlargement Of The European Union Essay

2723 words - 11 pages

The intention of this paper is to identify the advantages and disadvantages for both Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs) and the European Union, when the CEECs eventually join the EU. This will be done by first introducing the subject through a brief background concerning past enlargements of the Union, and will continue by outlining the countries that have been accepted as candidates. Moving on, the various criteria for accession will be identified, as will the process involved in the negotiations between candidate countries and the EU. The paper will then concentrate on the various advantages that the enlargement may carry for both the Union and the CEECs, and in contrast to this the final part of the paper will identify the disadvantages for the EU and the CEECs that may occur if the proposed enlargement goes ahead as planned.The proposed enlargement of the European Union into Central and Eastern Europe is one of the most important opportunities for the Union as it moves further into the 21st century. Never before, in the history of the EU, has an expansion of such scale been attempted. It is a unique proposal that marks yet another milestone in the growing integration of a continent that is characterised by stability, prosperity and peace within and between both its current and future member states. The EU already has a successful history of past enlargements. Initially, there was the Treaty of Paris (1951) that established the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), and then the Treaty of Rome (1957) which created the European Economic Community (EEC). Both Treaties were signed by the six founding members of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. The EU then underwent four enlargements to make up the current 15 member states. The first of these was in 1973 with Denmark, Ireland and the UK joining. The second was in 1983 when Greece joined. The third was in 1986 when Portugal and Spain joined, and finally in 1995 Austria, Finland and Sweden all became members. However, the current enlargement proposal is more complex due to the number of candidates, the increase in area (34%), the rise in population (105 million) and the numerous disparities between different cultures1.The enlargement process began in December 1997 at the Luxembourg summit where the EU agreed to open accession negotiations with six countries out of the thirteen central and eastern European applicants2. The applicants are as follows: Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Turkey. At this summit, the European Council decided that the enlargement process should encompass: the European Conference, a multilateral framework that brings together ten Central European countries, Cyprus and Turkey, which was launched on the 12th of March 1998; the accession process, covering ten Central European countries and Cyprus, which was launched on the 30th of...

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