Enlargement of the European Union

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EU enlargements

195258 – founding members: Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, West Germany*, Netherlands (*in 1990 reunified with former East Germany, Algeria was an integral part of France until 1962)

1973 – First Enlargement: Denmark, Ireland, United Kingdom (*Greenland leaves 1985)

1981 – Second "southern (part I)" Enlargement: Greece

1986 – Third "southern (part II)" Enlargement: Portugal, Spain

1995 – Fourth Enlargement: Austria, "northern (in part)": Finland, Sweden

2004 – Fifth "eastern (part I)" Enlargement: Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia

2007 – Fifth "eastern (part II)" Enlargement: Bulgaria, Romania

Future – Possible Expansion Enlargement: Croatia, FYR Macedonia, Turkey

The European Union (EU) was originally created by six founding states in 1958 (following the earlier establishment by the same six states of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1952), but has grown to its current size of 25 member states. There were five successive enlargements during this period, with the largest occurring on May 1, 2004, when 10 new member states joined.

The EU will have 27 member states when further enlargement takes place in 2007 with the addition of Romania and Bulgaria. Negotiations are also underway with other states. The process of enlargement is sometimes referred to as European integration. However, this term is also used to refer to the intensification of cooperation between EU member states as national governments allow for the gradual centralising of power within European institutions.

In order to join the European Union, a state needs to fulfill the economic and political conditions generally known as the Copenhagen criteria (after the Copenhagen summit in June 1993). That basically requires a secular, democratic government, rule of law and corresponding freedoms and institutions. According to the EU Treaty, each current member state and also the European Parliament have to agree to any enlargement.


[edit] History of European Union enlargements

This contains past and future enlargements to the EU

[edit] Criteria and methods

In 1989, the European Community's Phare program was created. It aimed to provide financial support for potential accession countries so that they could expand and reform their economies. To join the EU an applicant country must meet the following Copenhagen criteria established by the European Council in 1993:

  • 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
  • the ability to take on the obligations of membership including adherence to the aims of political, economic & monetary union
Treaty of Accession of Portugal to European Communities

The heads of State or government and the ministers of foreign affairs of the 25 EU member states following the signature of the Treaty of Accession.

In December, 1995, the Madrid European Council revised the membership criteria to include conditions for member country integration through the appropriate adjustment of its administrative structures: since it is important that European Community legislation be reflected in national legislation, it is critical that the revised national legislation be implemented effectively through appropriate administrative and judicial structures.

In order to assess progress achieved by countries in preparing for accession to the European Union, the European Commission submits 'Regular Reports' to the European Council. These serve as the basis upon which the Council takes decisions on negotiations or their extension to other candidates. Since 1993, the Commission has presented a complete set of Regular Reports on a yearly basis, covering the 10 associated countries in Central and Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia) as well as Cyprus, Malta and Turkey.

External links to the Regular Reports: 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005

[edit] Current enlargement processes

[edit] Acceding countries

Population and GDP per capita of EU member states and candidates.

Bulgaria and Romania comprise the second part of the EU's fifth enlargement<ref name="fifthwave" /> and will be joining the EU on January 1, 2007. This date was firmly set at the Thessaloniki Summit in 2003 and confirmed at Brussels on June 18, 2004. The country reports of October 2004, and in the final report on September 26, 2006 also affirmed the January 1, 2007 date of accession for both Bulgaria and Romania. Bulgaria and Romania signed their Treaty of Accession on April 25, 2005 at Luxembourg's Neumuenster Abbey.

[edit] Bulgaria

Within the framework of integration meetings held between the EU member states and Bulgaria, the latest 'Association Committee' was held on 22 June, 2004. It confirmed overall good progress for the preparation of accession, however, it highlighted the need for further reform of Bulgaria's Judicial structures (particularly in its pre-trial phases), as well as the need for further efforts to fight against corruption and organized crime (including the trafficking of people). There has also been limited progress regarding the integration of the Roma community. The findings are reflected in the 2004 Regular Report.

Bulgaria's objective is EU membership in 2007; the Thessaloniki Summit Conclusions in 2003 as well as the Brussels Summit Conclusions of June 2004 states that the EU supports these objectives. The Brussels European Council of December 17 2004 confirmed the conclusion of accession negotiations with Bulgaria, welcoming it as a member on January 1, 2007.

[edit] Romania

According to the last Commission Regular Report 2004, Romania continues to fulfill the political criteria and it has further consolidated and deepened the stability of its institutions. However, the effectiveness of the reforms of the public administration and the judiciary is dependent on Romania's ability to effectively implement the changes.

The conclusions of the European summit of December 2004 support Romania's accession for 2007. The European Council also considered that Romania will be able to assume all the obligations of membership at the envisaged time of its accession, provided that it continues its efforts to that end and completes all necessary reforms and commitments undertaken, in particular important commitments regarding Justice, 'Competition' and Environment.

The Accession treaty was subsequently signed in Luxembourg on 25 April 2005.

[edit] Candidate countries

██ current members ██ acceding countries ██ official candidate countries ██ potential candidate countries

[edit] Croatia

Croatia applied for EU membership in 2003, and the European Commission recommended making it an official candidate in early 2004. Candidate country status was granted to Croatia by the European Council (the EU's heads of government) in mid-2004 and a date for the beginning of entry negotiations, while originally set for early 2005, was postponed to October of the same year. Following the opening of accession negotiations on October 3 2005, the process of screening 33 acquis chapters with Croatia was completed on October 18 2006.

After Slovenia, Croatia has recovered best from the break-up of the former Yugoslavia and so hopes to become the second former Yugoslav state to become a member. It has a stable market economy and better statistical indicators than some of the states that joined in 2004.

In late 2005, the EU officials projected that the accession of Croatia would likely happen between 2008 and 2010. In October 2006, Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn stated: "If Croatia will be able to reform its judiciary and economy with rigour and resolution, then it is likely to be ready around the end of this decade." <ref>Europe's Next Frontiers - Lecture at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs by Olli Rehn, EUROPA - Rapid - Press Releases, 31 October 2006</ref> In any case, the EU needs to consider its internal problems before accommodating any new member after Bulgaria and Romania; under the current Treaty of Nice, the EU cannot have more than 27 members. The EU Constitution provided one solution to this problem, but its democratic rejection means that other solutions are required. The finalisation of all chapters of the acquis communautaire is expected in 2008 or 2009, while signing the accession treaty would happen in the year after. Before starting negotiations with Croatia, the acquis was divided into 35 chapters, 4 more than the usual 31; the new chapters, previously part of the agricultural policy, are areas expected to be troublesome, as they were with the other applicants.

[edit] Republic of Macedonia

The Republic of Macedonia applied to become an official candidate on March 22, 2004. On November 9, 2005 the European Commission recommended that it become a candidate state. EU leaders agreed to this recommendation on December 17, formally naming the country as an official candidate, but no date for starting negotiations has been announced yet.

The country has a dispute with its southern neighbour and current EU member, Greece, over the name Macedonia (see: Foreign relations of the Republic of Macedonia). Because of this, the EU recognises the country as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and this is the only name by which the country may hold negotiations with the EU. Resolution of this issue is not a precondition for membership,<ref>EU Commission Report on FYROM, 2005 (PDF)</ref> but if the dispute is not settled "FYROM" may be the official name of the country in the EU institutions even after eventually achieving full membership.

Peace is maintained with underlying ethnic tensions over Albanians in the west that achieved greater autonomy through the implementation of the Ohrid Accords. Unlike Serbia, it has maintained sovereignty over all its territory. Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski has suggested that the country could join in 2012 or 2013<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>. However, the EU has not come out with any official recognition of this suggested time period.

On December 17th, the European Council welcomed and congratulated the country's achievements in implementing multiple reforms and agreements (Copenhagen criteria, Stabilisation and Association process, Stabilisation and Association Agreement, Ohrid Agreement). It supports the continuation of this process. Further concrete steps in the country's EU membership (i.e. commencing of negotiations) will be possible after the debate on the general Enlargement policy of the EU (the debate is due to finish in the first half of 2006). The Council notes also that the absorption capacity of the EU will be taken into account.<ref>Presidency Conclusions – Brussels, 15/16 December 2005, 15914/05 7, EN: [1]</ref>

[edit] Turkey

The status of Turkey with regard to the EU has become a matter of major significance and considerable controversy in recent years. Turkey has been an Associate Member of the EU and its predecessors since 1964 following the signing of the EEC-Turkey Association Agreement (1963) (Ankara Agreement) in 1963; the country formally applied on April 14, 1987, but 12 years passed before it was recognised as a candidate country in 1999. After a summit on December 17, 2004, the European Council announced that membership negotiations with Turkey were officially opened on October 3, 2005. The screening process which began on October 20, 2005 was completed on October 18 2006.

Turkey is part of the common EU customs territory since the entering into force of the EU-Turkey Customs Union in 1996.

Those opposed to Turkey's accession make diverse arguments. Many opponents argue that Turkey's current and past governments do not respect key principles expected in a liberal democracy because of discrimination against ethnic minorities, particularly Kurds, non-Sunni Muslim religious minorities, political dissidents and critics of the 'Kemalist' nationalism and by preventing freedom of religion through enforced-secularism. The EU has expressed concerns about the rise of nationalism in Turkey and the adverse effect thereof on the accession process. Its large population would also alter the balance of power in the representative European institutions. Also, only a small fraction of Turkish territory lies in the common geographical definition of Europe. Another concern is that Turkey continues to occupy the northern third of the island of Cyprus, with 40,000 Turkish troops stationed on the island, and refuses to officially recognise Cyprus, a current EU member state, until a solution is found to the Cyprus dispute under the auspices of the United Nations. Historically though, the UN Security Council, in its Resolution 541 of 18 November 1983, declared the occupation of north-Cyprus legally invalid and called for withdrawal<ref>http://www.un.int/cyprus/scr541.htm</ref>.

Arguments in favour of Turkey joining include the belief that this would bolster democratic institutions in Turkey, strengthen the EU economy, and reward Turkey for its pro-NATO stance. Proponents also argue that it abides by most conditions for accession. Some maintain that the EU can no longer refuse Turkey, as it has had an open candidacy for over 40 years, and has made major improvements in human rights in order to try to satisfy the entry conditions. Further, admitting Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country, would send a strong signal to the rest of the world that a "clash of civilizations" could be avoided.

[edit] Potential candidate countries

The EU relations with the Western Balkans states (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia) were moved from the "External Relations" to the "Enlargement" policy segment. These states currently are not recognized as candidate countries, but only as "potential candidate countries".<ref>Candidate countries, European Union's official site</ref> This is a consequence of the advancement of the Stabilisation and Association process.

The successor states of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic Of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia) have all adopted EU integration as an aim of foreign policy. Slovenia joined the EU on May 1, 2004. Croatia is currently negotiating its entry. Republic of Macedonia is recognised as an EU candidate country.

Albania, a separate Balkan state, was for a long period under international isolation similar to that of modern day North Korea and very impoverished. It has also adopted EU integration as an aim.

The 2003 European Council summit in Thessaloniki set integration of the Western Balkans as a priority of EU expansion. A further meeting in Mamaia, Romania, concluded that "Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), and Serbia and Montenegro are considered likely to join the EU between 2010 and 2015" depending on their fulfillment of the adhesion criteria. This summit was attended by two EU members, five countries now in the EU, acceding countries Bulgaria and Romania, and the eight EU hopefuls (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic Of Macedonia (FYROM), Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, and Ukraine). However, this summit was not linked to any EU institution, whatsoever, and the target dates and agreements presented there mainly aimed at encouraging the candidate and potential candidate countries on their way to eventual full membership into the EU.

On November 9, 2005, the European Commission has in a new strategy paper suggested that the current enlargement agenda (Romania and Bulgaria in 2007 and Croatia around 2010 followed by Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia by 2015) could block the possibility of a future accession of Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine. Olli Rehn has said on occasion that "the EU should avoid overstreching," adding, "the enlargement agenda is challenging enough."

[edit] Albania

Albania's accession to the European Union depends on economic improvement and its fight against organized crime. Given its extensive engagement with the NATO, the European Union, and its position as a stability factor in the troubled Balkan region the country hopes to do so within a decade. Its entry, as with the rest of the Western Balkans, has been set as a priority by the European Union officials.

As a mature member of the Partnership for Peace, Albania was the first of the Potential Candidate Countries to start the negotiations of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement in 2003, and it successfully completed and signed it on June 12, 2006. By doing that, the country completed the first major step toward the full membership in the EU, which Albania's citizens would like to happen by January 2012.

[edit] Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina still has many economic as well as political problems. Recently it has been making slow but steady progress, including co-operation with the war crimes tribunal at The Hague, so the outlook is positive.

Negotiations on Stabilisation and Association Agreement started during the year 2005. This is the first step before making an application for candidate status and membership negotiations.

The Union may show some leniency regarding its economy due to the political issues at stake. Former President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, has stated that Bosnia has a chance of joining the EU soon after Croatia, but it is entirely dependent on the country's progress.

[edit] Montenegro

In the independence referendum of May 21, 2006, the Montenegrin people voted for Montenegro to leave the state union of Serbia and Montenegro and become an independent state. It is not yet clear how this will affect Europe's newest independent state but it is believed that negotiations with the EU will allow quick implementation of an SAA agreement and speedier entry to the club of European nations than had it stayed tied to Serbia's EU bid. Montenegro is experiencing ecological, judicial and crime-related problems that may hinder its bid. Montenegro has long used the euro as its currency. SAA negotiations have started in September, 2006.

[edit] Serbia

Serbia has to deal with ethnic tension in the region of Kosovo (which may lead to independence for Kosovo) as well as poverty in the south and widespread corruption. Serbia began the reform process in 2000, back then as part of the state union of Serbia and Montenegro.

The government of Serbia wants to prepare the country for EU accession between 2012 and 2015. However, it seems much more likely that it would happen around 2015 due to many domestic problems and extensive reforms that should be implemented, and the current institutional crisis in the EU. In a report published on April 12, 2005, the European Commission gave a positive recommendation for the start of talks on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement. The recommendation to start SAA talks was accepted on October 3 2005 and negotiations have started in November 2005.

The fact that Radovan Karadžić and Ratko Mladić still haven't been found is an obstruction in these negotiations. On May 3 2006, the European Union suspended aid and trade talks with Serbia over its failure to arrest war crimes fugitive Ratko Mladić. This is likely to severely hinder the pace of EU entry and the reform process in Serbia. In July 2006, an Action plan for arrest of Ratko Mladic has been issued by the government, aimed to locate and bring the former general to justice, which is expected to improve relations with EU.

[edit] Progress of future enlargements

It was previously the norm for enlargements to take place in 'waves' of multiple entrants joining the Union at once. The only previous 'single-state' enlargement was the 1981 admission of Greece.

However, EC members and EU ministers have warned that, following the significant impact of the fifth enlargement in 2004, a more individual approach will be adopted in future, although the entry of pairs or small groups of countries may yet coincide. Croatia may be expected to join first, possibly around 2010, with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey following, either together or in smaller groups.

The timing of smaller-wave enlargements is subject to many variables and the dates given in the table below are the earliest possible ones - procedures do not allow speedier admission in most cases (for example, it takes at least two years to move from a membership application to the start of negotiations).

Countries Candidates Potential candidates Reference states

Turkey Croatia FYR Macedonia Albania Bosnia
Serbia Montenegro Czech
Slovakia Bulgaria
SAA1 negotiations start 1959 (AA) 2000 2000 2003 2005 2005 2006 1990 1990 1990
SAA signature 1963 (AA)
1995 (CU)
2001 2001 2006 (2006) (2006) (2006) 1993 1993 1993
SAA entry into force 1996 (CU) 2005 2004 (2007) (2007) (2007) (2007) 1995 1995 1995
Membership application submitted 1987 2003 2004 (2007) (2007) (2007) (2007) 1996 1995 1995
Candidate status received 1999 2004 2005 (2008) (2008) (2008) (2008) 1998 1999 1999
Membership negotiations start 2005 2005 (2007) (2009) (2009) (2009) (2009) 1998 2000 2000
Expected negotiations end (2012) (2007) (2010) (2012) (2012) (2012) (2012) 2002 2002 2004
Expected EU joining date (2015) (2010) (2012) (2015) (2015) (2015) (2015) 2004 2004 2007
Acquis chapter
1. Free Movement of Goods fs fs -
2. Freedom of Movement for Workers fs fs -
3. Right of Establishment & Freedom to provide Services fs fs -
4. Free Movement of Capital fs fs -
5. Public Procurement fs fs -
6. Company Law fs fs -
7. Intellectual Property Law fs fs -
8. Competition Policy o o -
9. Financial Services fs fs -
10. Information Society & Media fs fs -
11. Agriculture & Rural Development fs fs -
12. Food safety, Veterinary & Phytosanitary Policy fs fs -
13. Fisheries fs fs -
14. Transport Policy fs fs -
15. Energy fs fs -
16. Taxation fs fs -
17. Economic & Monetary Policy fs fs -
18. Statistics fs fs -
19. Social Policy & Employment2 fs o -
20. Enterprise & Industrial Policy fs fs -
21. Trans-European Networks fs fs -
22. Regional Policy & Coordination of Structural Instruments fs fs -
23. Judiciary & Fundamental Rights fs fs -
24. Justice, Freedom & Security fs o -
25. Science & Research x x -
26. Education & Culture fs fs -
27. Environment fs fs -
28. Consumer & Health Protection fs fs -
29. Customs Union fs o -
30. External Relations fs fs -
31. Foreign, Security & Defence Policy fs fs -
32. Financial Control fs fs -
33. Financial & Budgetary Provisions fs fs -
34. Institutions - - -
35. Other Issues - - -

1 Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) for the Western Balkans states, Association Agreement and Customs Union for Turkey, Europe Agreement for the reference states.
2 Including anti-discrimination and equal opportunities for men and women.

(brackets): expected date situation of policy area at the start of membership negotiations, according to [2].

s - screening of the chapter
fs - finished screening
o - open chapter
x - closed chapter

██ non-acquis chapter - nothing to adopt ██ no major difficulties expected ██ further efforts needed

██ considerable efforts needed

██ very hard to adopt ██ current situation totally incompatible with EU acquis

[edit] Future enlargement possibilities

In the Treaty of Maastricht (Article 49), it is stated that any European country that respects the principles of the European Union may apply to join. The Copenhagen European Council set out the conditions for EU membership in June 1993 in the so-called Copenhagen criteria. Whether a country is European or not is a subject to political assessment by the EU institutions, but countries in the Council of Europe that fall onto the border (between Europe and Asia) all have a significant claim for EU membership (as shown with the accession of geographically Asian, but culturally European, Cyprus).

The European Union has tended to enlarge along regional lines, adding groups of nearby nations. (A notable exception was the accession of Greece.) Currently, the EU is very interested in the integration of the Balkan states. Of Eastern Europe, Heather Grabbe of the Centre for European Reform has said, "Belarus is too authoritarian, Moldova too poor, Ukraine too large, and Russia too scary for the EU to contemplate offering membership any time soon." Due to the 2004 "Orange Revolution" in Ukraine, and the "Rose Revolution" in Georgia in 2003, both countries have started and already implemented extensive reform programs, and the perspectives for both countries have become more positive.

The following sections discuss the situation of those states and entities concerning which the issue of EU membership has been discussed in official circles.

[edit] The European Free Trade Association

[edit] Switzerland

Switzerland took part in negotiating the EEA agreement with the EU and signed the agreement on 2 May 1992 and submitted an application for accession to the EU on 20 May 1992. A Swiss referendum held on 6 December 1992 rejected EEA membership. As a consequence, the Swiss Government decided to suspend negotiations for EU accession until further notice, but its application remains open. The popular initiative entitled "Yes to Europe!", calling for the opening of immediate negotiations for EU membership, was rejected in a March 4, 2001 referendum. The Swiss Federal Council (which is in favour of EU membership) had advised the population to vote against this referendum since the preconditions for the opening of negotiations had not been met. It is thought that the fear of a loss of neutrality and independence is the key issue against membership among eurosceptics. EU membership however continues to be the objective of the government and is a "long-term aim" of the Federal Council.

The Swiss federal government policy has recently undergone substantial U-turns in policy, however, concerning specific agreements with the EU on freedom of movement for people, workers and areas concerning tax evasion have been addressed within the Swiss banking system. This was a result of the first Switzerland-EU summit in May 2004 where nine bilateral agreements were signed. Romano Prodi, former President of the European Commission, said the agreements "moved Switzerland closer to Europe." Joseph Deiss of the Swiss Federal Council said, "We might not be at the very centre of Europe but we're definitely at the heart of Europe". He continued, "We're beginning a new era of relations between our two entities." [3].

[edit] Norway

Norway, per capita the second richest country in the world, is like most other Scandinavian states in the fact that it is reluctant to surrender sovereignty to a supranational entity. The Norwegian government also wishes to keep control of oil, gas and fishery resources in their territorial waters. Norway has applied four times for EEC and EU membership. In 1962 and 1967 France vetoed Norway's entry, while the later 1972 referendum and the 1994 referendum were both lost by the government. In late 2004, then Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik suggested that the debate about joining the EU might be restarted in 2007. The 2005 constitution referenda in France and the Netherlands have however made this less likely, and in mid-October 2005, after the elections, the new Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg stated that there wouldn't be a new attempt at EU membership under his government.

A large issue for Norway is its fishing resources, which is a significant part of the economy of Norway and which would come under the Common Fisheries Policy if Norway joins the European Union.

Thorbjørn Jagland, President of the Parliament, has proposed that Norway and Iceland should prepare a common strategy before launching membership negotiations with the EU. His Icelandic counterpart has expressed agreement.

Norway is also a member of the European Economic Area (the EU common market), the Schengen treaty and an associate member of the Western European Union as well as other areas normally considered as under the EU umbrella of treaties and agreements. Norway is also a long term NATO member since 1949.

Further reading: *History of Norway-EU relations from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

[edit] Iceland

Iceland has never applied for EU membership but is already associated with the union through the EEA where it has access to the Single market. Iceland is also a member of the Schengen treaty.

Like in Norway, fear of losing control over the fishery resources in its territorial waters is the single largest issue keeping Iceland reluctant to join the EU. Since these two countries have so much in common it is generally expected that they would join together, as it would not be easy for Iceland to be the only Nordic country to remain outside the EU. The government has established a committee to look into ways to protect fishing privileges in case of an EU accession.

Application for EU membership is not on the current centre-right government's agenda, and none of the political parties have explicitly expressed that Iceland should join the union although the Alliance remains in favor of negotiations. The Left-Green Movement has been firmly opposed to membership and the same goes for the conservative Independence Party, a member of the ruling coalition, although its former chairman Davíð Oddsson indicated in a speech in January 2005 that a policy change was not ruled out depending on how the EU will evolve in coming years.

Former Prime Minister Halldór Ásgrímsson of the Progressive Party has predicted that Iceland will join the EU by 2015, and said that the decisive factor for Iceland would be the future and the size of the Eurozone. He admitted however that the right political situation doesn't exist at the moment to take a decision on the issue.<ref>EUobserver article (subscription only)</ref>

[edit] Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein is, like Norway and Iceland, a member of the European Economic Area. It might consider joining the EU if Switzerland joins. If it attained membership it would be by far the smallest member state of the European Union — this might require a significant rearrangement of voting arrangements in the European Parliament.

[edit] Eastern Europe

Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine, which are or have been closely linked to Russia, will probably remain outside the Union, at least for a significant amount of time. They are not currently on any enlargement agenda as the Union is currently focused on the Balkan states and Turkey. A summit in Mamaia, Eastern Romania, in May 2004 has shown enlargement to Eastern Europe to be a definite possibility, though only Ukraine and Moldova were present, as Belarus is currently not concerned with membership.

[edit] Ukraine

Most political factions of Ukraine advocate joining the EU and developing ties with Europe. However, some in the EU are more doubtful concerning Ukraine's prospects. In 2002, EU Expansion Commissioner Günter Verheugen said that "a European perspective" for Ukraine does not necessarily mean membership in 10 or 20 years, however, that does not mean it is not a possibility. A Ukraine-EU Troika meeting in April 2004, on the eve of the newest wave of expansion, dealt a blow to Ukraine's European aspiration when the EU ministers failed to grant market economy status to Ukraine; however, this was before the Orange Revolution in Ukraine.

For the time being, Ukraine will most likely develop intermediate relation with the EU as it is strongly backed by all major political forces in Poland, an EU member with strong historical ties with Ukraine (through the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth).

The Orange Revolution of late 2004 improved Ukraine's European prospects: Opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko hinted that he would press the EU for deeper ties, and described a four-point plan: the acknowledgment of Ukraine as a market economy, entry in the World Trade Organization, associate membership with the European Union, and lastly full membership.<ref>EUobserver article (subscription only)</ref> In a similar way, the Ukrainian government asked Brussels to give Ukraine a clearer prospect for membership, saying that "The approved Action Plan reflects only the level of Ukraine-EU relations that we could have reached before the presidential elections in 2004"<ref>EUobserver article (subscription only)</ref>

On January 13, 2005 the European Parliament almost unanimously (467 votes to 19 in favour) passed a motion stating the wish of the European Parliament to establish closer ties with Ukraine with the possibility of EU membership. Though there is still a long way to go before negotiations about EU membership can start, the European Commission has stated that future EU membership will not be ruled out. Yushchenko has responded to the apathetic mood of the Commission by stating that he intends to send an application for EU membership "in the near future" and that he intends to scrutinise Ukraine's relationship with the CIS in order to assure EU integration is possible and if not to make it possible. Several EU leaders have already stated strong support for closer economic ties with Ukraine but have stopped short of direct support for such a bid. On 21 March 2005, Polish Foreign Minister Adam Daniel Rotfeld noted that Poland will in every way promote Ukraine's desire to be integrated with the EU, get the status of a market-economy country and join the WTO. He also said "At the present moment, we should talk concrete steps in cooperation instead of engaging in empty talk about European integration". Three days later, a poll of the six largest EU nations conducted by a French research company showed that the European public would be more likely to accept Ukraine as a future EU member than any other country that is not currently an official candidate.

In October 2005, Commission president José Manuel Durão Barroso said that the future of Ukraine is in the EU. On November 9, 2005, however, the European Commission has in a new strategy paper suggested that the current enlargement agenda (Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia followed by the other ex-Yugoslav countries and Albania) could block the possibility of a future accession of Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova. Commissioner Olli Rehn said that the EU should avoid overstretch, adding that the current enlargement agenda is already very heavy.<ref>EUobserver article (subscription only)</ref>

[edit] Moldova

Moldova currently has little hope of joining, since it is not only hampered by poverty but also facing political problems in Transnistria and only recently (1995) resolved problems in ethnically separate Gagauzia. Its relationship with Romania, which is set to soon become a EU member, has also been strained, with Moldova publicly accusing Romania in various aspects. The prospect of union with Romania is constantly an issue, even though many people do not expect this to happen, considering the economic burden that it would present to Romania (Moldova has one-quarter the per capita GDP of Romania). However, a further strengthening of the Romanian economy as a result of EU accession could appeal to many Moldovans who would then want their country to unite with Romania. If Romania joins the EU, and Moldova unifies with it later, it could automatically become part of the EU just as East Germany joined the EU when it reunified with West Germany in 1990.

The government has stated that Moldova has European aspirations but there has been little progress. On May 1, 2004 many EU enthusiasts waving the EU flags found their flags confiscated by police and some were arrested under the clause of "anti-nationalism." At present it remains the poorest country in Europe with rampant corruption and a booming trade in people. In 2005 the ruling Communist party reoriented their foreign policy towards Europe to avoid losing power to the opposition.

On October 6, 2005 the EU opened its permanent mission in Chişinău, the capital city of Moldova.

[edit] Belarus

The EU's relations with Belarus are strained as the EU's institution have several times condemned the government of Belarus for authoritarian and anti-democratic practices, and even imposed sanctions on the country.<ref>The EU's external relations with Belarus, European Union's official site</ref> Under its current president, Belarus has instead sought a close confederation with Russia, short of political reunion. Recent accusations of unfair elections in March 2006 (where Lukashenko was re-elected) have further diminished the chances of Belarus joining in the foreseeable future.

[edit] Russia

Among the most vocal supporters of closer ties between Russia and the EU has been former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. In an article published to Italian media on 26 May, 2002 he said that the next step in Russia’s growing integration with the West should be EU membership.<ref>EU membership next step for Russia after NATO, Daily Times, 28 May 2002</ref> More recently on 17 November, 2005, he commented in regards to the prospect of such a membership that he is "convinced that even if it is a dream ... it is not too distant a dream and I think it will happen one day."<ref>Italian PM Berlusconi confident Russia will join EU, EUbusiness, 17 November 2005</ref> Berlusconi has made similar comments on other occasions as well.<ref>Do Not Adjust Your Sets, TIME Europe Magazine, 7 July 2003</ref>

At present, however, the prospect of Russia joining the EU any time in the near future is slim. Analysts have commented that Russia is "decades away" from qualifying for EU membership.<ref> Michael A. McFaul, West or East for Russia?, The Washington Post, 9 June 2001</ref> Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has also said that though Russia must "find its place both in NATO, and, in the longer term, in the European Union, and if conditions are created for this to happen" that such a thing is not economically feasible in the near future.<ref>Schroeder says Russia must find place in Nato, EU</ref>

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Russia joining the EU would not be in the interests of either Russia or the EU, although he advocated close integration in various dimensions including establishment of four common spaces between Russia and the EU, including united economic, educational and scientific spaces as it was declared in the agreement in 2003.<ref>(Russian)"Four spaces" of Russia and European Union, "Special opinion" program on Russian Radio</ref><ref>(Russian)[http://www.rg.ru/2005/11/10/rossia-es.html Four spaces, Rossiyskaya newspaper</ref><ref>(Russian)Interview of official Ambassador of Russian Foreign Ministry on relations with the EU</ref><ref>(Russian)Four spaces, TKS</ref>

The Kaliningrad exclave is still an issue between the EU and Russia as well as the fact that Russia has not yet ratified border treaties with Latvia and Estonia.

[edit] Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan, which has a portion of its territory in Europe is considered a European nation by the Council of Europe, as expressed in an official CoE statement in 1999 and therefore qualifies for full membership in the CoE.<ref>Council of Europe and Kazakhstan: Yes or no?, Rashid Nugmanov, 11 October 2001 </ref><ref>Kazakhstan may become full member of PACE, Ivinsky, Kazinform, 26 May 2006</ref> Despite this, the subject of joining the EU has not yet been even remotely discussed. This may be strongly related to Russia's membership [citation needed].

The Kazakh Foreign Ministry has also expressed interest in the European Neighbourhood Policy.<ref>EU's external relations with Kazakhstan, European Union's official site</ref> Some MEPs have also discussed Kazakhstan's inclusion in the ENP.<ref>Speech by Charles Tannock, MEP, 16 March 2005</ref>

[edit] South Caucasus

The three south Caucasus states of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan have been the site of much instability in the 1990s. Currently, there seems to be a feeling of hope in the region's future. Their EU membership would be conditional on the political assessment by the European Council about whether or not they are considered European. Azerbaijan and Georgia are located partially in Europe whereas Armenia is located entirely in Asia. Nevertheless all three states are admitted as full members into the Council of Europe (like Cyprus) after similar assessment process. They have contributed to European culture[citation needed] and the EU has been said to express interest in their integration and the hope to end war in Europe and increase prosperity. Before the first official visit of external relations commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner to the three Caucasus states, it was stated that if she were asked about enlargement, she would not rule it out. [4]

The Caucasus states are, however, closely linked with Russia and would need to concentrate more on other European partners to attain candidate membership. It is unclear as to when they may join but they are part of the European Neighbourhood Policy and are often referred to as part of "a wider Europe". Since their only land contact with existing EU states is through either Russia or Turkey, it is possible that they could only join after Turkey did so. Greece, a member since 1981, has no land links with the rest of the EU, and will not until both Romania and Bulgaria have joined, though Greece is considerably closer to the rest of the union and unencumbered by powerful neighbours like Russia in between.

[edit] Armenia

Armenia is located wholly in Western Asia, beyond the most commonly understood geographical borders of Europe. Several Armenian officials have expressed the desire for their country to eventually become an EU member state,<ref>[5]</ref> some predicting that it will make an official bid for membership in a few years.<ref>[6]</ref> However, the current president, Robert Kocharyan, has said he will keep Armenia tied to Russia and the CSTO, becoming partners, not members of the EU and NATO.<ref>[7]</ref>

Public opinion in Armenia suggests the move for membership would be welcomed, with 64% out of a sample of 2000 being in favour and only 11.8% being against.<ref>RFE/RL Caucasus Report, Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 7 January 2005</ref>

Armenia is still in conflict over the disputed area Nagorno-Karabakh with neighbouring Azerbaijan. A ten year ceasefire has been in place, but tensions remain very high. Although the country's economy has had one of the world's fastest growth rates in the past few years, this comes off a low base and many years of near-continuous recession [8] . The Metsamor nuclear power plant, which is situated some 40km west of the Armenian capital Yerevan, is built on top of an active seismic zone and is a matter of negotiation between Armenia and the EU.

[edit] Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan, a majority-Muslim but staunchly secularist country with Turkic population, would need to resolve the conflict over the secessionist region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Its vast military spending is becoming somewhat of an alarm to the EU, which wishes to ease tensions in the area. The oil-rich country has made improvements to its infrastructure but much of the money from its very high GDP growth still does not seem to find its way into the lower echelons of society, despite being larger and more technologically modernized than its neighbors Armenia and Georgia. The recent presidential elections in Azerbaijan were disputed by the opposition and have been criticised for being not entirely free, fair or democratic by international observers. This is one of the main obstacles ahead of a possible EU application from Azerbaijan. The country itself has not expressed a desire to join the EU but it is not unreasonable to assume that integration could be delayed, with Azerbaijan likely facing difficulties similar to Turkey's. Azerbaijan's chances of membership perhaps would be increased if Georgia were to join first.

[edit] Georgia

Georgia has recently undergone substantial reforms. Under Georgia's new president Mikhail Saakashvili, the wish to join the EU has been explicitly expressed on several occasions and the links to the EU and the USA are being strengthened, while attempts are being made to move away from the Russian sphere of influence. Disputes continue over South Ossetia and Abkhazia. In Ajaria, a significant hurdle in protecting the territorial integrity of the country was overcome when the authoritarian leader Aslan Abashidze was forced to resign in May 2004.

Georgia is considered the most favoured Caucasus country to join the EU, especially after the Rose Revolution, but territorial disputes and corruption are still an issue. It has not, as yet, applied for EU membership, but the President has said the country would be ready in three years' time—however, it is uncertain if the EU would be. It is debatable whether any estimate on a membership date can be made at this stage.

[edit] Microstates

There are three very small European microstates that are wholly surrounded by the European Union — San Marino, Vatican City and Monaco — and use and mint their own Euro coins. Andorra uses the euro but does not mint coins. Their economies have always been tightly related with their neighbours. However, their existence as sovereign nations is tightly bound up with their special economic laws which are not compatible with EU standards.

[edit] San Marino

The left-wing opposition Popular Alliance has been reported to be in favour of joining the EU, which the ruling San Marinese Christian Democratic Party opposes. <ref>'Oldest republic' torn by poll-rig claims, The Australian, 2006-06-06 </ref>

[edit] Andorra

The government has said that "for the time being" there is no need to join the EU;<ref>[9]</ref> however, the opposition Social Democratic Party are in favour.<ref>http://www.euronews.net/create_html.php?page=europeans&article=357617</ref> A major disadvantage of membership would be the cost and the EU was not designed with microstates in mind.

[edit] Vatican

The Vatican City has a unique status in the European continent as a theocracy, which would be inconsistent with EU membership.

[edit] Monaco

Monaco currently applies certain policies of the European Union through its special relationship with France, a member state.<ref> The EU's relations with Monaco, European Commission, December 2005 </ref> Monaco is a full part of the EU's customs territory, and applies most EU measures relating to VAT and Excise duties. Monaco is a full member of the Schengen area and the Euro currency zone and has implemented the EU Directive on the taxation of savings interest. Monaco joined the Council of Europe in 2004,<ref> Background Note: Monaco, Department of State, March 2006 </ref> a move that required it to renegotiate its relations with France, which previously had the right to nominate various ministers.<ref> BAM news (page 4), British Association of Monaco, October 2004 </ref> This was seen as part of a general move toward Europe<ref> Monaco admis au sein du Conseil de l'Europe, European Navigator (originally published in Tageblatt), 2004-10-06 </ref>

[edit] Dependencies of EU member states

There are multiple Special member state territories, some of them are not fully covered by the EU treaties and apply EU law only partially, if at all. See also the territories not covered by the Schengen treaty. It is possible for a dependency to change its status regarding the EU and/or some particular treaty or law provision. The territory may change its status from participation to leaving or from being outside to joining.

[edit] Greenland

Denmark's Greenland is a well-known example for a member state special territory that changed its status in regard to coverage of EU treaties and laws. After the establishment of Greenland's home rule in 1979 (effective from 1980), a second referendum on membership was held, where the people decided to leave the community. On February 1, 1985, Greenland left the EEC and EURATOM. Danish nationals residing in Greenland (i.e. all native population) are nonetheless fully European citizens; they are not, however, entitled to vote in European elections.

[edit] Faroe Islands

Denmark's Faroe Islands are not part of the EU, as explicitly asserted by both Rome treaties. The relations with the EU are governed by a Fisheries Agreement (1977) and a Free Trade Agreement (1991, revised 1998). The main reason for remaining outside the EU is disagreements about the Common Fisheries Policy.<ref>[10]</ref>

[edit] UK Sovereign Base Areas

The UK Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus did not join the European Union when the United Kingdom joined. Cyprus' Accession Treaty specifically stated that this would not change with the accession of Cyprus to the European Union. However, currently, some provisions of the EU Law are applicable there - mainly border management, food safety and free movement of people and goods.

[edit] Guadeloupe

The territory of Guadeloupe (as well as three other territories) is an overseas department of France and at the same time mono-departmental overseas region. According to the EC treaty (article 299 2), overseas departments are outermost regions (OMR) - hence provisions of the EC treaty apply there while derogations are allowed.

Some smaller islands of Guadeloupe (the communes of Saint-Barthélemy and Saint-Martin) decided in a referendum held on 7 December 2003 to become separate overseas collectivities. This change will be implemented in early 2007; it is currently unknown whether they will remain part of the European Union or become associated territories like Mayotte.<ref>Arrondissements of Guadeloupe at Statoids</ref>

[edit] New Caledonia

New Caledonia has a unique status inside France and is even not a collectivité terrioriale, unlike all other French subdivisions. Currently, in regard to the EU, it is one of the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) and thus the EU Law does not apply there.

As a result of the 1998 Nouméa Accord, New Caledonians will vote on an independence referendum scheduled between 2014 and 2019. This referendum will determine whether the territory remains a part of the French Republic as a "sui generis collectivity", or whether it will become an independent nation. The accords also specify a gradual devolution of powers to the local New Caledonian assembly.

[edit] Netherlands Antilles and Aruba

The Netherlands Antilles are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (as is Aruba) and they are Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) entity, listed under Annex II of the EC treaty. Hence EC law does not apply there.

The Netherlands Antilles will be restructured on 1 July 2007. Curaçao and Saint Martin will become countries inside the Kingdom of the Netherlands (together with Aruba and the Netherlands per se). Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius will become part of the Netherlands as the Kingdom Islands, and will thereby also become part of the European Union.<ref>Netherlands Antilles, Statoids</ref>

The Netherlands also has proposed that the new EU constitution allows Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles (the parts of it that remain outside the Kingdom Islands as of 1 July 2007 - see above) to change their status to Outermost Region (OMR), also called Ultra Peripheral Region (UPR), (like French Guiana, Azores and others) - so that the EU Law will apply there (with derogations) - if and when they choose so.

[edit] Cyprus

Officially, the whole island is part of the European Union, under the de jure sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus, Turkish Cypriots are citizens of the European Union and were entitled to vote at European Parliament election 2004 (though only a few hundred registered). The Greek Cypriot side rejected the Annan Plan for the reunification of the island in a referendum on 24 April 2004 and as a result, European Union law currently can only be applied in the areas that are controlled by the Republic, i.e. the southern part. Had the referendum been in favour on both sides of the island (or if a future solution is supported by both sides), the island, as a whole (north, south, and U.N. Buffer Zone, excluding the British Sovereign Base Areas), would have joined the European Union together as the United Cyprus Republic.

Currently relations of the EU with the Turkish Cypriot Community are done by the European Commission's Directorate Generale for Enlargement [11].

[edit] Non-European states

In the Treaty of Maastricht (Article 49), it is stated that any European country (as defined by the EU political assessment) that respects the principles of the European Union may apply to join. No mention is made of enlarging the EU to include non-European countries, but the precedents of turning down Morocco's application and speaking about Israel's closest integration, "just short of full membership" suggests that currently it is impossible for non-European states to get full EU membership.

However, some non-European states have different degrees of integration with the EU stipulated by agreements, always short of membership. The current frameworks for development of such agreements are the Barcelona process and the European Neighbourhood Policy.

[edit] Morocco

Morocco submitted an application to join the EU (then EEC) in July 1987, but it was turned down by the Council later in the year. The application was rejected on the grounds that it did not consider Morocco a European country. Although there are factors such as the developing economy or unresolved border issues with several of its neighbours and the occupation of Western Sahara, an European Union Association Agreement similar to that applied to Tunisia and Algeria is implemented between Morocco and the EU.

[edit] Cape Verde

Cape Verde is an island nation of the Atlantic Ocean and former Portuguese colony. In March 2005, former Portuguese president Mário Soares launched a petition urging the European Union to start membership talks with it, saying that Cape Verde could act as a bridge between Africa, Latin America and the EU <ref> [12] </ref>

Cape Verde has a culture based on Christian values where about 97% of the population is Christian, and its background is a harmonious fusion between European and African backgrounds, where most of the population (about 70%) <ref> [13] </ref> is of mixed Portuguese and African descent. Less than 30% is African <ref> [14] </ref>, while about 1% is of (unmixed) European descent. Because of this, Cape Verdeans find it hard to define themselves as either Europeans or Africans. They regard themselves as either both or as unique (i.e. they regard themselves as Cape Verdeans and not as Africans or Europeans).

Cape Verde's per capita GDP is lower than any of the current member states, accession countries or candidate countries. It is, however, higher than that of all of the EU-designated "potential candidate countries" of the Western Balkans (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Albania). Freedom of speech is at the same level as in any EU country. Democracy is very well implemented and there is alternation of parties in the government. Illiteracy is low compared with the rest of Africa (about 20%). Most of the imports and exports of Cape Verde are for and from the European Union, and it has a service-based economy. Its currency, the escudo, is pegged to the euro.

Although the Cape Verde archipelago is geographically in Africa, there have been similar situations before: Cyprus is an island nation which, despite being geographically in Asia, has already joined both the Council of Europe and the EU. Furthermore, the Cape Verde islands are part of the same island group as the Canary Islands (part of Spain) and Madeira Islands (part of Portugal), known as Macaronesia. Despite all this, there is currently no political recognition by the EU of Cape Verde as a European state (but unlike in the case of Morocco, there is no formal rejection either).

Cape Verde is currently a member of ECOWAS (albeit not yet participating in all of its activities) — an African regional bloc with aims for internal integration similar to those of the EU, so that membership in both organizations at the same time is impossible. It is also a member of the African Union, a federation aiming for a common currency, a single defense force for the African continent and an African Union Head of State.

Recently Cape Verde has been distancing itself from its regional African partners and forging closer ties with the EU. In a move signaling it's preparation to loosen ties with the West African regional bloc, the government of Cape Verde in September 2006 declared its intentions on suspending the ECOWAS free movement of goods and trade. Prime Minister José Maria Neves announced that his country will start imposing restrictions on the entrance of citizens from all ECOWAS member states. This is also an effort to limit the recent rise of illegal immigration of other West African nationals using Cape Verde and its proximity to the Canary Islands as a springboard towards Europe.

Complementing Cape Verde's efforts to join the EU, the Macaronesian group of islands (The Acores, Madeira, and the Canary Islands) are throwing their support for their regional brethren. The Atlantic group of Islands are pushing for an entrance of Cape Verde into the EU under a special status. <ref> EU, Cape Verde display different interests in integration, Afrol News, 2006-03-30 </ref>

[edit] Israel

The principle of Israel joining the European Union has been supported by politicians in both Israel and Europe, including the former Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom <ref> Analysis: Israel Weighing EU Membership, United Press International, 2003-05-21 </ref> and the former Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi <ref> Jewish communities split over Berlusconi, BBC, 2003-09-26 </ref> Two Italian MEPs are currently campaigning in favour of Israeli membership. <ref>Two Italians in European Parliament campaign for Israel to enter EU, Haaretz, 2006-11-10 </ref> An opinion poll in 2004 showed that 85% of Israelis would support an application for membership. <ref> [http://www.hildegardmueller-mdb.de/image/inhalte/EU_Israel_280604.pdf The case for a privileged partnership between the EU and Israel], Hildegard Müller, 2006-06-28 </ref>

The Israeli government has hinted several times that an EU membership bid is a possibility, but the EU itself proposes instead the closest possible integration "just short of full membership." Faster advancement of such plans is somewhat hampered by the current instability in the Middle East. Much international criticism of the occupation of the Palestinian territories also comes from European capitals and the occupation would certainly not pass European human rights standards; general public opinion of Israel is also particularly poor within the EU.

The European Council has not been asked to take a stance regarding whether or not Israel is an European state, but similar circumstances to Morocco (being geographically outside Europe and without exceptional features such as CoE membership) will most likely preclude its inclusion as a full member into the EU as well. However, it can obtain a large degree of integration through the current and future EU Neighbourhood Policies — the Spanish foreign minister Moratinos spoke out for a "privileged partnership, offering all the benefits of EU membership, without participation in the institutions". On 11 January 2005, industry commissioner and vice president of the commission Günter Verheugen even suggested the possibility of a monetary union and common market with Israel.

An argument [15] for the inclusion of Israel into the EU as a full member is that it has a mostly European (or perhaps Europeanised) culture and thus forms an exclave in a huge Arab area. Israel also has a GDP per capita similar to many European countries. Allowing Israel into the EU would, however, create a precedent for other non-European countries to apply for membership, which most Europeans find rather undesirable. How Israel's Law of Return would interact with the free migration of citizens within Europe is also an unresolved issue, though EU countries like Germany, Finland and Greece have similar immigration laws. The form of free migration within the EU would be compatible with Israel as it does not mean a right to citizenship in any EU member state, it simply allows EU citizens to traverse the borders freely, and to live and work in them. Nevertheless, Europe may not wish to open its borders to the entire Jewish diaspora and the Palestinian refugees, and Israel may not wish to open its borders to European Muslim immigrants.

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes


[edit] External links

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