The European Union (EU) has been confronted to the enlargement issue since its very creation. It constitutes now one of the main questions to be discussed at the Inter Governmental Conference (IGC). This negociation, started in March 1996, enabled the European Union to face the new demands of accession from the neighbor countries after the end of Cold War. Due to traditional problems (from neighbor countries) the possibility of a further enlargement of EU does not seem on the positive side. The countries (in the European region) that are keen to become members of the EU are faced with economic uncertainties internally. Naturally the prospect of increasing the number of member states from 20 to 27 becomes a topic of debate.
[...] - in the 1980s, with the Single European Act the opening of a social dimension, the growth of the Qualified Majority Voting (QMV) in the Council and the enlargement of EP powers. - in the 1990s, with the Treaty of the European Union the two pilars of the JHA and the CFSP, the social dimension, EMU and EPU, the IGCs, the further enhancement of EP powers and the empowering of the European Court of Justice. Now, as it was said, enlargement constitutes the major challenge for EU institutions and policy making. A conflict has raised between the tenants of: 1. [...]
[...] These risks have however been reappraised in the past two years, as Russia's real power of influence over the Eastern Europe region seemed to fade The other Eastern and Central European countries, namely Bulgaria, Rumania, Slovenia, Albania and the Three Baltic Republics also applied in the past two or three years. Their economic developments are still worse and more serious problems arise concerning Russian opposition (cf. the 1991 Russian military intervention in the Baltic Republics). The scale of adaptative problems would be much bigger. [...]
[...] - 1995: Austria, Finland and Sweden enter the European Union. Two set of factors stimulated their membership: - The end of the Cold War diminished the Austrian and Swede attachment to neutrality and made the Finland special position in relation to the Soviet Union wither away. - Their relationships to the EC evolved: with the creation of the European Economic Area in 1994, they adopted in practice all the legislation of the EC without benefiting from the possibilty to be part of its decision- making. [...]
[...] - Security: diplomatic burdens would quite automatically result from any concerned country: Russia's opposition to the CEECs' accessions, Greece's refusal of Turkey and expressing conditions concerning Cyprus The underlying issue: the future shape of the EU The enlargement raises many fundamental debates at a stage when the existing European Union tries to implement integrative policies such as the European Monetary Union, the European Political Union (with the Common Foreign and Security Policy or the preparation for the harmonizing of Justice and Home Affairs) . after the achievement of economic integration. The institutional implications of further enlargement. The present IGC has set the parameters for the future shape of an enlarged Community. It is undeniable that an increasing number of countries involved in decision-making will inevitably complicate and prolong the procedure. [...]
[...] Anyway, no particular demands came from these countries. Russia is not and will probably never be a candidate: its size and its identity, not to mention its economic, political, military and social uncertainties, bar any access to the Union. This issue touches the problem of the definition of Europe: what are the limits of 'Europe'? Nonetheless, the EU intends to develop a 'special relationship' with this massive country, in regards with the extraordinary potentialities of this latter and because of the stakes that Russia represents in terms of stability at the Community's future Eastern border. [...]
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