Eastern Enlargement of the EU: A Topsy-Turvy Endgame or Permanent Disillusionment
Journal of Economic Integration, Vol. 19, No. 4, pp. 830-868, December 2004
39 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2005
The Treaty of Nice (2001) strongly protects the interests of the 'old' 15 EU member countries. The new voting structure in the enlarged EU preserves the existing members' blocking influence over new policies. In addition, there is a cap on the Union's total expenditure. It is on these terms that the EU was ready to enlarge eastwards. Eight countries with economies in transition (the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia) and two market economies (Cyprus and Malta) joined the EU in 2004. Bulgaria and Romania may follow, but not before 2007. The final operational entry conditions set by the European Councils in Brussels and in Copenhagen (2002) are such that this enlargement may be relatively cheap for the EU in financial terms, but much costlier and slower for the accession countries than expected by politicians, both in the EU and in the accession countries. The reasons for this include the self-imposed limits on EU expenditure and the increasingly stringent standards that come from the ever-growing acquis communautaire that are costly to introduce, implement and enforce, but enlargement took place for political reasons.
The issue of Turkish aspirations for full membership of the EU is highly sensitive and controversial both politically and economically. Apart from the usual Copenhagen criteria for membership, Turkey will be asked to fulfill several others. Turkey is a special, indeed a very special Euro-Oriental country. If Turkey joins the EU in the distant future, this country would enter a totally different EU from what we know today.
Keywords: Accession countries, enlargement, acquis communautaire, funds, competition, European Council, Turkey
JEL Classification: F15
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation