European Union, Union Européenne, enlargement, élargissement, widening, deepening, approfondissement, difficulties, difficultés, european integration, intégration européenne, Turkey, Turquie, accession negotiations, economy, economie, security, securité, politique, politics
‘EU enlargement generally means increasing the size of the Union by incorporating additional members. This is a process that can take a number of years, as the candidate states attempt to align their economy and regulatory structures to those agreed to by the existing members. The decision to apply means that the candidate state has to agree to accept EU values and pool sovereignty with other members' , i.e., accept ‘vertical' EU integration: the development of the ever intense nature of the integration that exists between member states.' Brigid Laffan distinguishes three components of European Integration: the economic, political and security integration.
There have been 5 waves of enlargement since the ECSC in 1951: the United Kingdom, Denmark and Ireland joined the EC in 1973, followed by Greece in 1981 and Spain and Portugal in 1986. In 1995, Austria, Finland and Sweden joined the EU, while in 2004, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Malta and Cyprus concluded their accession. Bulgaria and Romania which joined in 2007 completed the fifth wave of enlargement.
Hence, the enlargement process (‘horizontal' European Integration) stands for the ‘widening' of the European Union, while the ‘vertical' European Integration could refer to ‘deepening'. As a matter of fact, the outline for this essay would be: ‘Will the widening process of enlargement threaten further deepening within the EU?'
On the one hand, we see that the EU enlargement process has been a real achievement for the integration project, each time using the three components of European Integration propounded by Brigid Laffan. On the other hand, we will analyze the several (potential and real) limitations of another EU enlargement.
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