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Enlargement of the European Union

The European Union originally consisted of 6 member states. It has since grown to 15 member states, and several more states plan to join: 10 new members in 2004, 2 new members in 2007, and possibly more after that. In order to join the Union, a state needs to fulfil the economic and political conditions generally known as the Copenhagen criteria.

Table of contents
1 Summary of past enlargements
2 The 2004 enlargement
3 The 2007 enlargement
4 Further enlargement
5 External links

Summary of past enlargements

For details see History of the European Union.

The 2004 enlargement

The European Commission's Strategic Report of October 9, 2002 recommended 10 candidate members for inclusion in the EU in 2004: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Malta and Cyprus. Their combined population is roughly 75 million, their combined Gross Domestic Product is about 840 billion US dollars (purchasing power parity; CIA World Factbook 2003), similar in size to that of Spain.

After negotiations between the candidates and the member states, the final decision to invite these nations to join was announced on December 13, 2002 in Copenhagen, with the European Parliament voting in favour of this on April 9, 2003.

On April 16, 2003 the Treaty of Accession was signed by the 10 new members and the 15 old ones in Athens [1].

(The Treaty's full name is: Treaty between the Kingdom of Belgium, the Kingdom of Denmark, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Hellenic Republic, the Kingdom of Spain, the French Republic, Ireland, the Italian Republic, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Republic of Austria, the Portuguese Republic, the Republic of Finland, the Kingdom of Sweden, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Member States of the European Union) and the Czech Republic, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Cyprus, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Malta, the Republic of Poland, the Republic of Slovenia, the Slovak Republic, concerning the accession of the Czech Republic, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Cyprus, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Malta, the Republic of Poland, the Republic of Slovenia and the Slovak Republic to the European Union)

The final remaining step is the ratification of the treaty by the current member states and by each of the candidate nations. Ratification in the former is to be done by the parliaments of the member states alone, whereas in the latter the ratification is first subject to a referendum, except for Cyprus where the parliament will be solely responsible. The 2003 referenda dates (in many countries a two-day ballot is held) and the outcome in each of the candidate countries are as follows:

In the event that one of the referenda did not return an affirmative result, provision had been made for the enlargement to carry on without that country. Now the referenda have turned out in favour of joining, ratification is expected to proceed without further problems and the candidate countries will become full members of the EU on May 1, 2004.

2004 enlargement
country Pop Area GDP GDP per cap

1.4 45226 15.5 11000
Latvia 2.3 64589 21.0 8900
Lithuania 3.6 65200 30 8400
38.6 312685 373.2 9700
Czech Republic 10.2 78866
157.1 15300

10.0 93030
134 13300
5.4 48845 67.3 12400
Slovenia 1.9 20253 37.1 19200
Malta 0.4 316 6.8 17200
Cyprus 0.8 9250 9.415000
74.6 738260
851.4 11413

Notes (for this and later tables):

The 2007 enlargement

Bulgaria and Romania have been recommended to join the EU on January 1, 2007, and these dates have been firmly set at the Thessaloniki Summit in 2003.

2007 enlargement
country Pop Area GDP GDP per cap

7.5 110910 49.2 6500
Romania 22.3 238391 169.3 7600
Subtotal 29.8 349301 218.5 7332
Incl.2004 104.4 1087561
1069.6 10245

Further enlargement

Croatia applied for EU membership in 2003 and is in the process of becoming an official candidate.

Turkey has officially been recognised as a candidate for enlargement after having been an Associate Member since 1963, but it has not yet been permitted to start negotiations due to concerns about its human rights record and about the involvement of the military in Turkish politics. It is however encouraged to continue its reform process. Critics of Turkish membership oppose several reasons, including that most of Turkey's territory is not European, but Asian. A prevalent point of view in Turkey is that some in the EU are reluctant to accept a Muslim state, albeit a strongly secular one, into what is seen by some as a Christian club.

possible enlargement past 2007
country Pop Area GDP GDP per cap

68.1 780580 489.7 7300
Croatia 4.4 56542 43.1 9800
Subtotal 72.5 837122 532.8 7349
TOTAL 176.9 1924683
1602.4 9058

Source: CIA World Factbook 2003

External links