The Enlargement of the European Union

2114 WordsJun 17, 20189 Pages
The enlargement of the European Union (EU) in 2004 and 2007 has been termed as the largest single expansion of the EU with a total of 12 new member states – bringing the number of members to 27 – and more than 77 million citizens joining the Commission (Murphy 2006, Neueder 2003, Ross 2011). A majority of the new member states in this enlargement are from the eastern part of the continent and were countries that had just emerged from communist economies (EC 2009, Ross 2011), although overall, the enlargement also saw new member states from very different economic, social and political compared to that of the old member states (EC 2009, Ross 2011). This enlargement was also a historical significance in European history, for it saw the…show more content…
Apart from the new member states reaping benefits from the newly integrated economy, incumbent members also benefited from access to a bigger internal market, a great potential supply of labour and more foreign direct investment and trade with the new members (EC 2007, EC 2009, Neueder 2003). While it has been documented that old state members also gained considerably from the enlargements, some member states reaped more benefits from others, raising concerns amongst skeptics of multi-speed economic progress that may threaten to affect the future of the EU’s economy (EC 2009, Neueder 2003). Not long after the fifth enlargement took place, the EU experienced a recession in 2009 (Mulle et al. 2013, Ross 2011) – however, instead of further worsening the economy, the entry of new members has been proven to be of a stabilizing factor in helping the EU deal with the economic downfall (EC 2007, Mulle et al. 2013). This goes to show that the accession of new states to the Commission has generally proven beneficial to the EU’s economy by presenting new economic opportunities and stabilizing it despite economic turmoil in 2009 (Mulle et al. 2013), which thus increases the prospects of a more prosperous and competitive EU in the future. Whether or not future enlargements will sustain this optimism remains to be seen. Politically, the accession of 12 new member states into the EU was seen as a great triumph
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