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Analysis of the EU Enlargement Process

Info: 3616 words (14 pages) Dissertation
Published: 12th Dec 2019

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Tagged: EconomicsEuropean Studies

The aim of the group is to gain a first class mark. We want this report to represent our ability to work efficiently together in a group. We endeavoured to produce an end product, which is concise and thorough, highlighting the enlargement aspects of the EU. Our objective is therefore to fully research all areas of the EU enlargement, as our question is ‘Enlargement rationale; How much bigger should the EU expand and why?’ Upon completion of this report the goal is to have gained a broader knowledge on the European Union (EU) as a whole and have a good understanding of current major issues.


The EU enlargement process is very rigorous. In the past the European Union has undergone many rounds of enlargement (see fig 1). But to what conditions and guidelines must candidate nations comply by? The main guideline is the ‘Copenhagen Criteria’ which was signed on 21st/22nd June, 1993. This states that by the time candidates join, they must according to the Folketing EU Information centre:

‘[Have] achieved stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities, the existence of a functioning market economy as well as the capacity to cope with competitive pressure and market forces within the union’ (Folketing, conclusions of the presidency).

These criterion were laid down by the heads of state and government of the member states at the European council meeting in Copenhagen in 1993 (ibid).

In outline the Copenhagen Criteria can be divided into three conditions, which form the minimum entry requirements, before a country is considered for EU membership. These are:

The political criterion i.e. democracy, rule of law, human rights and respect and protection for minorities.

The economic criterion i.e. a functioning market economy and must be capable of withstanding the pressure of competition and market forces in the European Union.

The criterion presupposing the ability to incorporate one entire body of laws and regulations of the EU – the ‘aquis communautairé’

(Source – Folketing EU Information centre)

The country must be able to assume all the obligations flowing from membership, including the aim of political, economic and monetary union (ibid). After all of these requirements, the country is ‘screened’ and if approved, the Council of the European Union and its country draft a ‘Treaty of Accession’. This then goes to the European Commission and European Parliament ratifications and approval. If successful after this process, the nation is able to become a member of the EU (About.com).

‘Screening’ is the first step in the negotiations stage, when considering a country for membership (EU Commission). It’s an in depth analysis of the EU laws with which the candidate country must abide by (known as the ‘aquis’). A screening report is then drawn up for each country (ibid). Negotiations take place at ministerial level between permanent representatives for EU countries, and ambassadors or chief negotiators for candidate countries.

But why do countries want to join the EU in the first place? This question is asked by Clive Lindley of the Central Europe express (Charles Jenkins, 2000). This author quotes an American journalist as writing ‘What does Europe want to be when it grows up?’

Julie Smith, Head of the European programme at the Royal institute for international affairs, also begins to explore the boundaries at which the expansion of the will be no longer feasible. She states that ‘How [will] the EU be able to function with thirty or more member states…’ (Charles Jenkins, 2000). According to her, it is a ‘problem that clearly exercised many of Europe’s leading politicians in 2000.


When the ‘European Coal and Steel Community’ was created in 1957 it was with an aspiration to form a trading block of peace and economic prosperity. For more than half a century, the current European Union has exerted its soft power, attracting almost every country in Europe and completed six successful enlargement rounds (fig 1).

(fig 1 – source:…)

After the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, Central Eastern European Countries (CEEC’s) started to show interest in applying for EU membership (EU27 on enlargement). As a result of this, the ‘Copenhagen Criteria’ was set out in December 1993 declaring the requirements that any potential country wishing to join the EU, would need to meet. This was the first time the EU had made a clear commitment to enlargement, and provided Europe with evidence of their engagement in becoming a bigger and more influential trading block (Lippert et all 2001). Since then, as shown in the timeline, the EU has expanded substantially, and includes today a total of 27 member states. This leaves only 14 European countries (excluding Russia) as non members, four of which are candidate countries, five potential candidates, two who have been declined membership, two with an ENP Action Plan and one with not many EU relations.

The size of any further EU enlargement is therefore confined by the borders of Europe and the enlargement rationale, is determined by the economic opportunities and the promotion of security in these 12 remaining countries (Nugent 2004).


In this part of the report we are going to discuss the economic side of the EU enlargement. Firstly we will be taking a more statistical approach in evaluating the economy. We will then take some candidate countries, and discuss what will happen if they join the EU.

Since 1994, when the 10+2 candidate countries was selected they have had significant progress in their economy, they have gained an average growth of 1.3/2.1% GDP per year in between 1994-2004 (European Commission, 2001) but more importantly their GDP would have reduce by 0.1% if they was not chosen as candidate countries( Maliszewska 2003). This showed that the economy was developing quickly, many factors contributed to this including Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), imports and exports.

Intra trading plays an important part in EU enlargement allowing companies to take advantage of comparative advantages in new Member States and candidate countries. Intra trading has increase from only accounting for a third of EU’s trading in 1960, EU-6, to over 70% of EU’s trade in 2007, EU-25. Intra trading encourages competition, and enhances productivity and efficiency within the EU. With additional new Member States the EU is now the largest trading bloc importing and exporting 16.7% and 18.8% respectively, where as the US is only exporting 11.1% and importing 17.4% (IMF, EUROSTAT 2009). This gives the EU more power when discussing trade policies at the WTO and more influence on the global economy.

FDI plays an important part of EU enlargement and the new Member States GDP growth because an increase of FDI would increase the level of investment, employment and productivity. Breuss (2009) estimated that FDI inflows gave the new States and Member extra growth of 1.75 % GDP on average from period 2000-2008, moreover Bulgaria and Romania could gain an additional 0.5% GDP up to 2020. But other research has shown even though the candidate countries can attract high level of FDI they might not necessarily be able to maintain it, for example in years 2001 and 2002 Cyprus’s FDI inflow rate actually fell by over half and in Malta FDI was actually reversed.

Using Bosnia and Herzegovina as an example if they were to become a member of the EU, the old Member States might have more confident to invest in them, thus rising their FDI rate and unemployment rate, which are the two main underlying issues relating to the economy factors although some issues has to be resolved first like distorted wages setting and low labour mobility which are both halting job creations and the labour market.

Also in Albania unemployment rate is high due to the lack of health and safety regulations which could drive foreign investors away, even though they have currently approved for a strategy for health and safety it will be awhile before it will fully take effect.

From these 2 examples it shows that even though candidate countries have the economy benefits of an EU member such as free trade, but with different underlying issues in each country preventing them from further economic growth it will be a long time before any candidate countries are near the level of expansion. Therefore in conclusion from the economic overview and evidence I think that it is too early for talks about enlarging the EU further and with the 2008 global recession still in effect I think that even if the EU was to expand it would not be in short future and they will have to be extremely careful with the next enlargement.


This part of the report is going to be discussing the possible benefits, conflicts and problems that enlargement may cause to the citizens of the EU, the existing member states of the EU and the EU at a global level.

In the past, the citizens of the EU didn’t have as much freedom or possibilities to travel freely as they do now. But since the events of ‘the fall of the iron curtain’ or in any of the EU enlargement rounds, more citizens have agreed that the living standards in the Central and Eastern Europe has improved and that the changes from these events have brought more freedom to everybody within Europe (View on European Enlargement – Analytical Report). However some citizens have voted that they feel more insecure after enlargement and believes that it has contributed to redundancies and job loss in their country (View on European Enlargement – Analytical Report). For instance, in Britain, over the past 2 years 139, 000 immigrants have found jobs where as the number of British workers have dropped by 654, 000 (The Daily Mail) also critics say that the pressure from high levels of immigration on housing, public transport, water and energy is highly damaging (The Daily Mail). So it seems that enlarging would mainly benefit the citizens of the CEEC’s more than the original EU15’s citizens as they are able to freely move within the EU and are able to find work elsewhere.

Enlarging the EU may abolish arguments and disputes between conflicting countries, and could mean that they will have stronger relationships in the future i.e. Charles de Gaulle, who was French President at the time opposed the UK’s application in both 1961 and 1967 because he believed that the UK was going to attempt to thwart his desire to place France at the centre of the European stage (European Union Enlargement). When France changed their President in 1969 to Georges Pompidou, the UK was finally accepted into the EU for full membership (BOOK). Now in 2010 with France electing a new President, he and the Prime Minister of the UK have joined forces and have both signed a Defence Co-Operation Treaty (MoD), this shows positive progress of enlargement and that it could build a stronger EU.

At the core of the EU is the ‘single market’, the aim of it is to allow all member states to be able to trade fairly and communicate with each other with ease (Business Link), and if trades are successful it will build trust and reliability between countries – which would build stronger relationships within the EU. Enlarging would mean more members to trade with, more communication across the globe and in past events and has effectively shown an increase in the EU’s weight in world politics – also making it a stronger world power (PDF).

Sometimes in the EU, there will be problems that can’t be resolved, this may make some members want to leave the EU and propose a referendum. For example, each member state is allocated a certain number of seats within the European Parliament (EP), which effectively means how much influence they have within the EU. In 2004 Denmark had 16 seats before the EU became the EU25, after they enlarged Denmark’s seat allocation had decreased to only 14 (book), enlarging again could mean that they would lose even more seats in the EP and more influence within the EU altogether, they may not be very happy about this and could propose a referendum as they may feel that they are being treated unfairly.

In conclusion, even if one country decides to leave due to enlargement, the EU wouldn’t suffer that much as they would have new members coming in and would still have the other existing member states to run the EU. So this report supports the act of enlargement as it will give the EU citizens more freedom and possibilities to travel, may produce stronger relationships between countries and would make the EU a stronger world power.


This section looks at the security of the EU by analysing the major security threat to the EU today, terrorism. It aggregates the findings of past reports to make sure the safety of the EU citizens is not over looked when deciding whether the EU should expand. It will look at the following in this order- European defence and security policy (EDSP),-Organised crime (OC) and its links to terrorism,-Candidate countries progress. Due to the nature of the topics the information used is mostly of official report base as independent reports have lacked technology and resources to reference and back up their findings especially within the rarely traceable OC and terrorism domains.

European defence and security policy pushes for increases in EU military cooperation and joint missions. There have been joint missions to Afghanistan to the terrorism war zones and 3200 EU personnel are currently deployed on joint missions (C.Ashton EDA bulliten 2009). Increasing cooperation at external borders are also main policies, whilst increasing links with EU police forces is also part of policies to help combat terrorism. (EU presidency report 2009) (EDA head report to council 2010)

OC and links to terrorism is a major issue. Organised crime is large inside the EU and also externally, trying to enter the EU. Drug trafficking, the exploitation of human beings and illegal migration, fraud, Euro counterfeiting, commodity counterfeiting and money laundering, are all the major OC areas. (Europol OCTA report 2009). A country which the EU allows in must be able to tackle these problems because undoubtedly the Schengen Area, the abolition of the filter border control to the movement of goods, services, capital and people, facilitates criminals, because once in the territory of one member state, they can move freely to the destination of the criminal markets. (A.SACCONE 2006). (Europol OCTA2009) points out the links between OC and Terrorism. It explains that terrorism uses it for funding. A recent (SkyNews) documentary shows Middle Eastern terrorist explaining that they create funds through OC. Any expansion of the EU to a country which can’t handle a possible increase in organised crime could increase funding of terrorism, which at the moment the EU is part of fighting a war against. There needs to be emphasis on improving links between military and police forces to tackle this problem. (A.SACCONE 2006) (Europol OCTA2009)

Candidate Countries progress reports analyse their current situation. In the following reports it is chapter 24 of the EU rationale which analyses Security. Croatia has set up very good training and systems to regulate borders and has started cooperating with Bosnia and Herzegovina. But Croatia lacks officer numbers to tackle OC. (Croatia progress report 2009-10). (The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s progress report 2009-10) finds that, police and military officer’s skill and ability levels are high and they are capable to tackle organised crime and terrorism. They can also handle borders very well, although bad internal cooperation between institutions, decreases success dramatically. In Turkey there haven’t been improvements in border control, tackling organised crime or investigating and tackling terrorism. There are no steps expected in the future to change this at the moment. (Turkey progress report 2009-10) Croatia and The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, have good links with Europol and EU militaries whilst Turkey has failed to do this because of its lack of data protection laws. (Candidate progress reports 2009-10)

In Conclusion of this section EDSP aims to increase EU military cooperation, and links between military and police. EDSP is trying to create a more secured coordinated EU and it is presenting very possible positive steps. With increased joint military missions there may be potential increases in terrorist threats to EU members and also future EU members. OC needs to be a number one target so we can fight terror at its root. Current candidates to join the EU must be prepared to tackle OC and an increase in OC before we accept them. An increase in depth to chapter 24 before we allow them to join is needed. Turkey poses major risk without data protection laws because of the demand on links between police and military. External borders need to be regulated more to stop threats getting i whilst internal borders need better regulation to stop facilitation of OC which links to terrorism. This highlights a need for a review of the Schengen area. From a security analyses I would not expand the EU, because the major threats have new dimensions and candidates to join are not prepared for them.


Since the negations for Turkey’s accession into the EU began in 2005, rather than seeing a speeding up of the process there has been a slowing down.

‘To date only 13 of 33 chapters of negotiations for Turkey’s accession have been opened, and only one, on science and research, completed. Nineteen have been frozen, over the issue of Cyprus, or due to other objections by EU members.’ (Head, 2010)

Since Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was elected in 2003, he identified Turkey’s EU entry as a top priority, pledging reforms to make Turkey more democratic and pluralist and bring it in line with the Union’s membership criteria (www.setimes.com) However, the biggest challenge now; from those working on Turkeys EU bid is having no certainty of membership in the end. This has all but killed public enthusiasm for Turkey to join the EU. (Euro-Dialogue, 2009.)

Figure . Turkish Prime minister: Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Further supporting this statement was the response of Hulya Kars Lamb a 2nd year Criminology and Forensic Science student at Manchester Metropolitan University and native Turk. When asked how she felt about Turkey joining the EU, she commented;

‘The public who are already poor will become poorer and the rich become richer. The public does not want to join the EU because everything will become more expensive, foreign people will come to Turkey, buy properties easily and this will increase house prices and lead to even more homeless people.

Turkish people will move to different countries as they may feel, they will have a better life and security for themselves; this would be considered by poor and rich. Are EU members ready to open their doors for Turkish immigrants?’

So we can then ask will Turkey ever join the EU?


Turkey has many obstacles that they need to overcome before they can gain accession to the EU. The 2010/11 European Commission (EC) strategy report examines Turkey’s application amongst other potential and candidate countries. Two of the main stumbling blocks it identifies are the unresolved issues between Turkey and Cyprus (Ugar, 1995) and secondly, the view of Member countries such as France and Germany towards Turkey joining the EU.

‘Turkey still has not complied with its obligations as outlined in the declaration of the European Community and its member states of 21 states of 21 September 2005 and the December 2009 conclusions it does not meet the obligation of full non-discriminatory implementation of the Additional Protocol to the Association Agreement and has not removed all obstacles to the free movement of goods, including restrictions on direct transport links with Cyprus’

(EC, 2010)

France and Germany are somewhat opposed to Turkey’s application. With Turkey being a ‘secular Islamic state’ (Arikan, 2006) it raises concerns for two of the major powers in the EU. Turkey would become the first Muslim country in the EU and in their minds conflicts with the rationale highlighted in Section 3.0 in that ‘it doesn’t promote security within the EU. (Nugent, 2004).

In conclusion, Turkey has a long way to go before they are accepted into the EU. They need to make drastic changes in areas such as Human Rights for example. Even if they do make the major changes and meet the criteria to join the EU. Opposition may still come from the current member states and prevent them gaining full membership to the Union. We can probably conclude that Turkey’s application will not be concluded in the near future. So who will be the one to bend first, Turkey or the EU?


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