The enlargement of the European Union


                    The enlargement of the European Union

Europe at the service of peace and democracy

  Community Europe has celebrated its 50th anniversary.
  On 9 May 1950, Robert Schuman made history  by  putting  to  the  Federal
Republic of Germany, and to  the  other  European  countries,  the  idea  of
creating a Community  of  pacific  interests.  He  began  a  completely  new
process in international relations by proposing to old nations  to  together
recover, by exercising jointly their sovereignty, the influence  which  each
of them was incapable of exercising alone.
  The construction of Europe has since then moved  forward  every  day.  It
represents the most significant undertaking of the 20th century  and  a  new
hope at the dawn of the new century. It derives its momentum from  the  far-
sighted and ambitious project of the founding fathers who emerged  from  the
second world war driven by the resolve to establish between the  peoples  of
Europe the conditions for a lasting peace.

A historic success

  As Europe approaches the dawn of the third millennium, a look  back  over
the 50 years  of  progress  towards  European  integration  shows  that  the
European  Union  is  a  historic  success.  Countries  which  were  hitherto
enemies, today share a common currency, the euro, and manage their  economic
and commercial interests within the framework of joint institutions.
  Europeans now settle their differences through peaceful  means,  applying
the rule of law and seeking conciliation.  The  spirit  of  superiority  and
discrimination has been  banished  from  relationships  between  the  Member
States, which  have  entrusted  to  the  four  Community  institutions,  the
Council,  the  Parliament,  Commission  and  the  Court  of   Justice,   the
responsibility for mediating  their  conflicts,  for  defining  the  general
interest of Europeans and for pursuing common policies.
  Economic integration every day highlights the need for and  takes  people
closer to political union. At international level,  the  European  Union  is
wielding increasing influence commensurate  with  its  economic  importance,
the standard of living of its citizens, its place in diplomatic,  commercial
and monetary forums.
  The European  Community  derives  its  strength  from  common  values  of
democracy and human rights, which rally its peoples, and  it  has  preserved
the diversity of cultures and languages and the  traditions  which  make  it
what it is. Its transatlantic  solidarity  and  the  attractiveness  of  its
model  has  enabled  a  united  Europe  to   withstand   the   pressure   of
totalitarianism and to consolidate the rule of law.
  The European Community  stands  as  a  beacon  for  the  expectations  of
countries near and far which watch the UnionТs  progress  with  interest  as
they seek to consolidate their re-emerging democracies or rebuild  a  ruined
economy.
  Today, the Union of the 15 Member States is negotiating the next wave  of
membership with 10 countries of central and eastern Europe, and  with  Malta
and Cyprus. At a later stage, other countries of former Yugoslavia or  which
belong to the European sphere will in turn ask to join. The taking on  board
by the applicant countries of the acquis communautaire, and  more  generally
of the major objectives of the European Union,  is  central  to  enlargement
negotiations. For the first time in  its  long  history,  the  continent  is
preparing to become reunified in peace and freedom.
  Such developments are momentous in terms of world balance and will have a
huge impact on EuropeТs relations with the United States, Russia,  Asia  and
Latin America.

The key dates of the European Enlargement

1945 Ц After the Second World War Europe was destroyed.  The  main  problems
    facing european states  were  security  and  economic  reconsrtruction.
    ThatТs where the discussion on any integration of Europe  started.  The
    ideas of Kudenhove-Calergi were recollected.
1950 Ц R. Schuman proposed to pool coal and steel resources  of  France  and
    FRG.
1951 Ц The  Paris  treaty  was  signed:  France,  the  Federal  Republic  of
    Germany, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands  and  Luxembourg  established  the
    European Coal and Steel Community. This organization could regulate the
    European market. It was the first step of European integration  and  in
    terms of the enlargement Ц it was the original platform to enlarge.
1961 Ц Ten years later, after the EEC and the Euroatom were created  (1957),
    the UK Ц the leader of EFTA (1960) Ц applied to enter the EEC.
1963, 1965 Ц the situation was not  that  favourable  for  the  UK.  On  the
    initiative of De Gaulle, the French leader at that moment, France twice
    vetoed the UKТs accession to the Community.
1967 Ц A new application for Community membership from the  UK  (the  fourth
    attempt), Denmark and Ireland.
1972 Ц Here we have the first enlargement: The Treaty on  the  accession  of
    Denmark, Ireland, Norway, the UK was signed in Brussels. In Denmark and
    Norway the referendums were hold and Norwegian people  decided  not  to
    join the Community (they will change their mind only in 1996).  So,  in
    1973 the agreement  on  accession  entered  in  force  only  for  three
    applicants: the UK, Denmark and Ireland.
1973 Ц Greece applied to enter the Community. During the 70-ties the EC  was
    discussing the situation with Mediterranean states. Greece,  spain  and
    Portugal were not able to join  the  Community  because  of  dictatural
    governments ruling there.
1981 Ц Finally, after the dictature collapsed, Greece entered the EC.
1986 Ц Five years later Spain and Portugal joined the Community.
1993 Ц After a long pause the enlargement was continued Ц  the  negotiations
    on Austria, Sweden and Finland accession were opened.
Soon after the fall of the Berlin  Wall  in  1989,  the  European  Community
quickly established diplomatic  relations  with  the  countries  of  central
Europe. During the 1990s, the  European  Community  and  its  Member  States
progressively  concluded   Association   Agreements,   so   called   'Europe
Agreements', with ten countries of central  Europe.  The  Europe  Agreements
provide the legal basis for bilateral relations between these countries  and
the EU. The European Community had already established  similar  Association
Agreements with Turkey (1963), Malta (1970) and Cyprus (1972). In  the  case
of Turkey, a Customs Union entered into force in December 1995.
1995 Ц Sweden, Finland and Austria joined the European Union.
1996 Ц Malta applied to enter the EU. This application was soon frozen  till
    1998.
1997 Ц At its summit in Luxembourg in December 1997,  the  European  Council
    decided that the enlargement process should encompass:
     . the European Conference, a multilateral framework  bringing  together
       ten central European countries, Cyprus and Turkey, which was launched
       on 12 March 1998;
     . the accession process, covering ten central  European  countries  and
       Cyprus, which was launched on 30 March 1998;
     . the accession negotiations, which the  European  Council  decided  to
       open on 31 March 1998 with  six  countries,  as  recommended  by  the
       European Commission: Cyprus, the Czech  Republic,  Estonia,  Hungary,
       Poland and Slovenia.
1998 Ц Malta reactivated its application for Community  membership  made  in
    1996.
1998 Ц The EU formally launched  the  process  that  will  make  enlargement
    possible. It  embraces  the  following  thirteen  applicant  countries:
    Bulgaria,  Cyprus,  the  Czech  Republic,  Estonia,  Hungary,   Latvia,
    Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, the Slovak  Republic,  Slovenia  and
    Turkey.
1999 Ц The Commission adopted its reports and a general composite  paper  on
    the progress made by each  of  the  candidate  countries  (ten  central
    European countries, Cyprus, Malta and Turkey) towards  accession.  They
    show that all countries except Turkey fulfil the political criteria for
    accession and that only  Cyprus  and  Malta  fully  meet  the  economic
    criteria.  Based  on  these  regular  reports,   the   Commission   has
    recommended  to  open  negotiations  with  Malta,  Latvia,   Lithuania,
    Slovakia and also with Bulgaria and  Romania  but  subject  to  certain
    conditions for the latter two. The Commission has also  recommended  to
    conduct accession negotiations through a differentiated approach taking
    account of the progress made by each candidate.
1999 Ц A new institutional process was put in train by  the  decision  taken
    by  the  European  Council  meeting   in   Helsinki   to   convene   an
    intergovernmental conference with the aim inter alia  of  adapting  the
    treaties to the conditions whereby a Union enlarged to over 20  members
    can function smoothly.
2000 Ц Negotiations with Romania, Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria  and
    Malta on the conditions for their entry into the Union and the  ensuing
    Treaty adjustments started.  As  for  Turkey  -  The  European  Council
    welcomed recent  positive  developments  in  Turkey,  as  well  as  its
    intention to continue its reforms towards complying with the Copenhagen
    criteria. In doing so, Turkey is considered as  a  candidate  State  to
    join the Union on the basis of the same  criteria  as  applied  to  the
    other candidate States.
December, 2000 Ц By agreeing - on a Treaty of Nice,  the  EU  member  states
    also removed the last formal obstacle  to  moving  ahead  with  the  EU
    enlargement process. The conclusions go on to say that  "the  time  has
    now come to lend fresh impetus to  the  process".  The  summit  broadly
    endorsed the enlargement  strategy  proposed  by  the  Commission,  and
    emphasised "the principle of differentiation, based on  each  candidate
    country's own merits", and "allowance of scope for  catching  up".  The
    road map for  the  next  18  months  will  ease  the  way  for  further
    negotiations, bearing in mind that those countries which are  the  best
    prepared will continue to be able to progress more quickly, the  summit
    concluded.
    Meanwhile, the summit expressed appreciation for the  efforts  made  by
    the candidates, and requested  them  "to  continue  and  speed  up  the
    necessary reforms to prepare themselves for accession, particularly  as
    regards strengthening their administrative capacity, so as to  be  able
    to  join  the  Union  as  soon  as  possible".  And  it  welcomed   the
    establishment of economic and financial  dialogue  with  the  candidate
    countries.
2003 Ц The Union  has  declared  that  it  will  be  ready  to  welcome  new
    countries from the start of 2003.

The weighting of votes in the future council

The Treaty of Nice signed at the summit decided not only  on  voting  rights
for the current fifteen member states,  but  also  on  the  votes  that  the
candidates will have as they become member  states.  The  full  list  is  as
follows:
Germany, United Kingdom, France and Italy Ц 29
Spain and Poland Ц 27
Romania Ц 14
Netherlands Ц 13
Greece, Czech Republic, Belgium, Hungary, Portugal Ц 12
Sweden, Bulgaria, Austria Ц 10
Slovakia, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Lithuania Ц 7
Latvia, Slovenia, Estonia, Cyprus, Luxembourg Ц 4
Malta Ц 3
Total Ц 342
A qualified majority in the new voting system will be 255 (74.56%).
  The enlargement facing the EU today poses a unique challenge, since it is
without  precedent  in  terms  of  scope  and  diversity:  the   number   of
candidates, the area (increase of  34%)  and  population  (increase  of  105
million), the wealth of different histories and  cultures.  Third  countries
will significantly benefit from an enlarged Union.

The challenges of the future

  After a half century of Community history, Europeans still have a lot  of
soul-searching to do: How far could and should the Union be taken  in  order
to maximise the strength which derives from unity, without at the same  time
eroding identity  and  destroying  the  individual  ethos  which  makes  the
richness of our nations, regions and cultures?  Can  they  move  forward  in
step, thanks to the natural  harmony  which  favours  consensus  between  15
countries,  or  should  they   recognise   divergences   of   approach   and
differentiate their pace of integration? What are the  limits  of  Community
Europe, at a time when so many nations, starting with  the  new  democracies
of central and eastern Europe  and  the  Balkans,  along  with  Turkey,  are
asking to join the process of unification in progress? How  can  the  people
of Europe get everyone involved in the Community undertaking and  give  them
the feeling of  a  European  identity  which  complements  and  goes  beyond
fundamental solidarity?
  All these are questions of principle, fundamental questions  the  answers
to which will  themselves  determine  the  specific  and  technical  matters
addressed daily by  those  who  have  the  task  of  taking  this  Community
undertaking forward.

	

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