EU Expansion

EU Expansion in Europe

European Union Relations with the Rest of the World: EU Expansion

Introduction to EU Expansion

By 1995 all the former Communist countries of Eastern Europe had applied for EU membership. The countries of Eastern Europe had less-developed economies than those of Western Europe, raising questions about their ability to cope with the competitive pressures of the EU’s internal market. In addition, the EU was concerned about the stability of democratic institutions in these countries and their commitment to human rights and the protection of minorities. Expansion would require a significant reevaluation of EU programs-especially the CAP-and distribution of EU resources. The richer member states worried that they would have to pay more into EU funds, while poorer member states feared that their share of EU funding for agriculture and regional development would be drastically reduced. Equally, it was argued that enlargement without significant institutional reform would reduce the effectiveness of the EU.

Despite these worries, trade between Eastern and Western Europe substantially increased after 1990. Western nations began to make commercial investments in Eastern Europe; at the same time, the EU provided economic aid, formed joint ventures, and signed formal agreements of political and cultural cooperation. In 1997 the EU agreed to open membership talks with Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, and Slovenia, with EU membership coming sometime after 2000. Then, in 2000, the EU opened accession negotiations with Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Romania, and Slovakia. (At the same time the EU declined to pursue in detail the long-standing application of membership from Turkey, noting concerns about the country’s human rights record.) In May 2004 the EU formally admitted ten of these European nations-all except Bulgaria and Romania-as member states. Bulgaria and Romania became EU member states in 2007.” (1)


Notes and References

  • Information about EU Expansion in the Encarta Online Encyclopedia
  • Guide to EU Expansion

    More Topics about the European Union

    European Economic Area, European Union, European Union History (including European Union Early Cooperation, Benelux Customs Union, European Coal and Steel Community, European Economic Community, European Community, Expansion of the EC, Single European Act, Creation of the European Union, Treaty on European Union, Amsterdam Treaty, Treaty of Nice, Treaty of Lisbon, Monetary Union and EU Growing Accountability), EU Pillar System, EU Major Bodies Structure, European Commission, Council of the European Union, European Parliament, European Court of Justice, Court of Auditors, European Central Bank, Economic and Social Committee, Committee of the Regions, European Union Policies, Common Agricultural Policy, Common Fisheries Policy,

    EU Economic Differences, European Regional Development Fund, European Social Fund, Cohesion Fund, European Investment Bank, European Monetary System, Economic and Monetary Union, EU International Relations, EU Expansion,

    EU and Non-European Nations and European Union Future.

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