The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union of 27 member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC), formed by six countries in 1958. In 1967 they merged into European Community. The Maastricht Treaty established the EU under its current name in 1993. The EU has grown its size by the accession of new member states. For example, on May 1st 2004, 10 new members joined the EU and EU-15 became EU-25. In 2007 it became EU-27 when Romania and Bulgaria joined. It seems that the enlargement will continue and many people begin to consider whether the EU should admit more members.
Countries should obey the accession rules if they want to join the EU. According to the ‘Copenhagen Criteria’, a member state must be a stable democracy, respect human rights and have the rules of law and the protection of minority. In terms of the economic aspect, it should have a functioning market economy. In addition, the country needs to adopt the common rules, standards and policies that make up the body of EU law.
Commission: regarded enlargement as the “Union’s most successful foreign policy instrument.”
Following the enlargements of 2004 and 2007, the EU is now the largest integrated economic area in the world, accounting for more than 30% of world GDP and more than 17% of world trade.
New members can benefit more from enlargement than existing member states (Neuder, 2003) * Benefit of new members
* Strong economic growth:
* Benefit from the EU budget and access to EU funds * The 10 new members can expect to receive up to 4% per annum of their GDP from the EU’s structural and cohesion funds for projects aimed at improving their economic structures. * e.g. net inflow of structural funds to help finance infrastructure projects and environmental projects. * Increase in GDP from 3.7%...