Enlargement of the European Union

The European Union (EU) has expanded a number of times throughout its history by way of the accession of new member states to the Union. To join the EU, a state needs to fulfil economic and political conditions called the Copenhagen criteria (after the Copenhagen summit in June 1993), which require a stable democratic government that respects the rule of law, and its corresponding freedoms and institutions. According to the Maastricht Treaty, each current member state and the European Parliament must agree to any enlargement. The process of enlargement is sometimes referred to as European integration. This term is also used to refer to the intensification of co-operation between EU member states as national governments allow for the gradual harmonisation of national laws.

The territories of the member states of the European Union (European Communities pre-1993), animated in order of accession. Territories outside Europe and its immediate surroundings are not shown.

The EU's predecessor, the European Economic Community,[1] was founded with the Inner Six member states in 1958, when the Treaty of Rome came into force. Since then, the EU's membership has grown to twenty-seven, with the latest member state being Croatia, which joined in July 2013. The most recent territorial enlargement of the EU was the incorporation of Mayotte in 2014. The most notable territorial reductions of the EU, and its predecessors, have been the exit of Algeria upon independence in 1962, the exit of Greenland in 1985, and the withdrawal of the United Kingdom in 2020.

As of 2020, accession negotiations are under way with Albania (since 2020), Montenegro (since 2012), North Macedonia (since 2020), Serbia (since 2014) and Turkey (since 2005). Serbia and Montenegro have been described by former President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and Enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn as the frontrunner candidates, and projected that they would join by 2025, during the next mandate of the European Commission.[2][3][4] Negotiations with Turkey are ongoing, but the pace has slowed due to objections from the EU to the Turkish government's response to the 2016 coup d'état attempt.[5]


According to the EU treaties, membership of the European Union is open to "any European State which respects the values referred to in Article 2 and is committed to promoting them" (TEU Article 49). Those Article 2 values are "respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities." This is based on the 1993 "Copenhagen criteria" agreed as it became clear many former Eastern Bloc countries would apply to join;

Membership requires that candidate country has achieved stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights, respect for and protection of minorities, the existence of a functioning market economy as well as the capacity to cope with competitive pressure and market forces within the Union. Membership presupposes the candidate's ability to take on the obligations of membership including adherence to the aims of political, economic and monetary union.

— Excerpt from the Copenhagen Presidency conclusions[6]

In December 1995, the Madrid European Council revised the membership criteria to include conditions for member country integration through the appropriate adjustment of its administrative structures: since it is important that European Community legislation be reflected in national legislation, it is critical that the revised national legislation be implemented effectively through appropriate administrative and judicial structures.

Finally, and technically outside the Copenhagen criteria, comes the further requirement that all prospective members must enact legislation to bring their laws into line with the body of European law built up over the history of the Union, known as the acquis communautaire.


The European Commission, which plays a central role in the enlargement process.

Today the accession process follows a series of formal steps, from a pre-accession agreement to the ratification of the final accession treaty. These steps are primarily presided over by the European Commission (Enlargement Commissioner and DG Enlargement), but the actual negotiations are technically conducted between the Union's Member States and the candidate country.

Before a country applies for membership it typically signs an association agreement to help prepare the country for candidacy and eventual membership. Most countries do not meet the criteria to even begin negotiations before they apply, so they need many years to prepare for the process. An association agreement helps prepare for this first step.

In the case of the Western Balkans, a special process, the Stabilisation and Association Process exists to deal with the special circumstances there.

When a country formally applies for membership, the Council asks the commission to prepare an opinion on the country's readiness to begin negotiations. The council can then either accept or reject the commission's opinion (The council has only once rejected the commission's opinion when the latter advised against opening negotiations with Greece).[7]

If the Council agrees to open negotiations the screening process then begins. The commission and candidate country examine its laws and those of the EU and determine what differences exist. The Council then recommends opening negotiations on "chapters" of law that it feels there is sufficient common ground to have constructive negotiations. Negotiations are typically a matter of the candidate country convincing the EU that its laws and administrative capacity are sufficient to execute European law, which can be implemented as seen fit by the member states. Often this will involve time-lines before the Acquis Communautaire (European regulations, directives & standards) has to be fully implemented.

Population and GDP per capita of individual EU member states compared with those of non-member states in Europe.

A chapter is said to be closed when both sides have agreed it has been implemented sufficiently, however it can still be re-opened if the Commission feels that the candidate has fallen out of compliance.

To assess progress achieved by countries in preparing for accession to the European Union, the European Commission submits regular reports (yearly) to the European Council. These serve as a basis for the council to make decisions on negotiations or their extension to other candidates.

Once the negotiations are complete, a Treaty of Accession will be signed, which must then be ratified by all of the member states of the Union, as well as the institutions of the Union, and the candidate country. Once this has been completed it will join the Union on the date specified in the treaty.

The entire process, from application for membership to membership has typically taken about a decade, although some countries, notably Sweden, Finland, and Austria have been faster, taking only a few years. The process from application for association agreement through accession has taken far longer, as much as several decades (Turkey for example first applied for association in the 1950s and has yet to conclude accession negotiations).

On 18 October 2019, France vetoed starting of negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia, citing problems with current enlargement process.[8] In November 2019, France proposed a seven-stage accession plan for membership.[9] The reformed accession strategy proposes participation in different programs, such as Erasmus, Banking Union, Capital Markets Union, Customs Union, etc.[10]


The following is an example of the accession process—Estonia's path to membership from its declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in November 1991 with recognition from the EU the same month to membership in May 2004. Ease of accession depends on the state: how integrated it is with the EU beforehand, the state of its economy and public institutions, any outstanding political issues with the EU and (historically) how much law to date the EU has built up that the acceding state must adopt. This outline also includes integration steps taken by the accession country after it attains membership.

Estonia EU membership timeline
Year Date Event Notes
1991 20 August Declaration of independence from USSR Recognition from EU in same month.[11]
1994 18 July Free trade agreement concluded[11]
1995 1 January Free trade agreement in force[11]
12 June Europe Agreement concluded[11]
24 November Applied for Membership[11]
1998 1 January Europe Agreement comes into force[11] Aiding pre-integration
March Membership negotiations open[11] 6 chapters opened[12]
1999 17 chapters opened[12]
2000 6 chapters opened[12]
2002 December All chapters closed[12] and negotiations concluded Final chapter (No. 30) was opened and closed at the same time.
2003 8 April Draft accession treaty approved by Estonian government
16 April Treaty of Accession signed
14 September Referendum on membership approved 66.84% in favour, turnout : 64.02%
2004 1 May Acceded to EU
28 June Joined ERM Requires 2 years in ERM before euro adoption
2007 21 December Entered the Schengen area
2011 1 January Adoption of the euro
1 May Right to limit migration from 2004 countries expired Only Austria and Germany applied this, the rest of EU countries abolished restrictions before 2011

Success and fatigueEdit

Enlargement has been one of the EU's most successful foreign policies,[13] yet has equally suffered from considerable opposition from the start. French President Charles de Gaulle opposed British membership.[14] A later French President, François Mitterrand, opposed Greek, Spanish and Portuguese membership, fearing that the former dictatorships were not ready and that the countries' inclusion would reduce the union to a free-trade area.[15]

The reasons for the first member states to apply, and for them to be accepted, were primarily economic while the second enlargement was more political. The southern Mediterranean countries had just emerged from dictatorships and wanted to secure their democratic systems through the EEC, while the EEC wanted to ensure the same thing and that their southern neighbours were stable and aligned to NATO.[14] These two principal forces, economic gain and political security, have been behind enlargements since. After the large enlargements in 2004, public opinion in Europe turned against further expansion.[15]

It has also been acknowledged that enlargement has its limits; the EU cannot expand endlessly.[13] Former Commission President Romano Prodi favoured granting "everything but institutions" to the EU's neighbour states, allowing them to co-operate deeply while not adding strain on the EU's institutional framework.[13] This has in particular been pushed by France and Germany as a privileged partnership for Turkey, membership for which has faced considerable opposition on cultural and logistical grounds.[16][17]

Historical enlargementsEdit

Interactive map of the enlargement of the European Union, excluding Greenland and Algeria
Applications for accession to the European Union*
Applicant Issued Accession/
failure rationale
  Albania 2009-04-28 Negotiating[18]
  Austria 1989-07-17 1995-01-01
  Belgium N/A 1952-07-23
  Bosnia and Herzegovina 2016-02-15[19] Potential candidate[20]
  Bulgaria 1995-12-14 2007-01-01
  Croatia 2003-02-21 2013-07-01
  Cyprus 1990-07-03 2004-05-01
  Czech Republic 1996-01-17 2004-05-01
  Denmark 1961-08-10
due to veto
of UK application
1967-05-11 1973-01-01
  Estonia 1995-11-24 2004-05-01
  Finland 1992-03-18 1995-01-01
  France N/A 1952-07-23
  West Germany[21] N/A 1952-07-23
  Greece 1975-06-12 1981-01-01
  Hungary 1994-03-31 2004-05-01
  Iceland 2009-07-17
  Ireland 1961-07-31
due to veto
of UK application
1967-05-11 1973-01-01
  Italy N/A 1952-07-23
  Kosovo*[25][26] Potential candidate[20]
  Latvia 1995-09-13 2004-05-01
  Lithuania 1995-12-08 2004-05-01
  Luxembourg N/A 1952-07-23
  Malta 1990-07-16
due to
election of new government
in October 1996.
Resumed following another
election of a new government
in September 1998.[27]
  Montenegro 2008-12-15 Negotiating[20]
  Morocco 1987-07-20
by the
European Council[28]
  Netherlands N/A 1952-07-23
  North Macedonia[29] 2004-03-22 Negotiating[20]
  Norway 1962-04-30
due to veto
of UK application
by Norway
in referendum[30]
by Norway
in referendum[31]
  Poland 1994-04-05 2004-05-01
  Portugal 1977-03-28 1986-01-01
  Romania 1995-06-22 2007-01-01
  Slovakia 1995-06-27 2004-05-01
  Slovenia 1996-06-10 2004-05-01
  Spain 1962-02-09
by the
European Council[32]
1977-06-28 1986-01-01
  Serbia 2009-12-22 Negotiating[20]
  Sweden 1991-07-01 1995-01-01
  Switzerland 1992-05-25
due to
public opinion[33][34][35][36]
  Turkey 1987-04-14 Negotiating[20]
  United Kingdom 1961-08-10
by France
1967-05-10 1973-01-01
Left the EU
following referendum held in 2016
* Applications to the European Coal and Steel Community,
European Communities and European Union depending on date.

Founding membersEdit

The European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was proposed by Robert Schuman in his declaration on 9 May 1950 and involved the pooling of the coal and steel industries of France and West Germany.[37] Half of the project states, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, had already achieved a great degree of integration amongst themselves with the organs of Benelux and earlier bilateral agreements. These five countries were joined by Italy and they all signed the Treaty of Paris on 23 July 1952. These six members, dubbed the 'inner six' (as opposed to the 'outer seven' who formed the European Free Trade Association who were suspicious of such plans for integration) went on to sign the Treaties of Rome establishing two further communities, together known as the European Communities when they merged their executives in 1967.[38]

In 1962, Spain, ruled by the military dictator Francisco Franco, issued its first attempt to join the European Communities. Spanish Foreign Affairs minister Fernando María Castiella sent the request form to French Prime Minister Maurice Couve de Murville.[39] This request was rejected by all the member countries in 1964; Spain was not a democracy at the time, and thus unable to enter the EEC.[40]

The Community did see some loss of territory due to the decolonialisation occurring in their era. Algeria, which was an integral part of France, had a special relationship with the Community.[41] Algeria gained independence on 5 July 1962 and hence left the Community. There was no enlargement until the 1970s.

First enlargementEdit

The United Kingdom, which had refused to join as a founding member, changed its policy following the Suez crisis and applied to be a member of the Communities. Other EEC members were also inclined to British membership on those grounds. French President Charles de Gaulle vetoed British membership.[14]

Once de Gaulle had left office, the door to enlargement was once again opened. The EEC economy had also slowed down and British membership was seen as a way to revitalise the community.[14] Only after a 12-hour talk between British Prime Minister Edward Heath and French President Georges Pompidou took place did Britain's third application succeed.[42] After Britain was accepted Prime Minister Edward Heath said:

"For my part, I have no doubt at all that the discussions which we have had will prove of real and lasting benefit, not only to Britain and France, but to Europe as a whole."[42]

As part of the deal for British entry, France agreed to allow the EEC its own monetary resources. However France made that concession only as Britain's small agriculture sector would ensure that Britain would be a net contributor to the Common Agricultural Policy dominated EEC budget.[14] Applying together with the UK, as on the previous occasions, were Denmark, Ireland, and Norway.[43] These countries were so economically linked to the UK that they considered it necessary to join the EEC if the UK did.[14] However the Norwegian government lost a national referendum on membership and hence did not accede with the others on 1 January 1973. Gibraltar joined the Community with the United Kingdom at this point, as can be seen in the long title of the UK European Communities Act 1972.

Mediterranean enlargementsEdit

The next enlargement would occur for different reasons. The 1970s also saw Greece, Spain, and Portugal emerge from dictatorship. These countries desired to consolidate their new democratic systems by binding themselves into the EEC. Equally, the EEC was unsure about which way these countries were heading and wanted to ensure stability along its southern borders.[14] However François Mitterrand initially opposed their membership fearing they were not ready and it would water the community down to a free trade area.[15]

Greece joined the EU in 1981 followed by Spain and Portugal in 1986.

The year 1985, however, saw the first time a territory voted to leave the Community, when Greenland was granted home rule by Denmark and the territory used its new powers and voted to withdraw from the Community (See member state territories).

Morocco and Turkey applied for membership in 1987. Morocco's application was turned down as it was not considered European, while Turkey's application was considered eligible on the basis of the 1963 Ankara Association Agreement, but the opinion of the commission on the possible candidate status was by then negative. Turkey received candidate status only in 1999 and began official membership negotiations in 2005, which are still in progress as of 2021.[44]

Post–Cold WarEdit

The Iron Curtain's fall enabled eastward enlargement. (Berlin Wall)

After the 1970s, Europe experienced an economic downturn which led to leaders launching of the Single European Act which set to create a single market by 1992. The effect of this was that EFTA states found it harder to export to the EEC and businesses (including large EFTA corporations such as Volvo) wished to relocate within the new single market making the downturn worse for EFTA. EFTA states began to discuss closer links with the EEC despite its domestic unpopularity.[45]

Austria, Finland, and Sweden were neutral in the Cold War so membership of an organisation developing a common foreign and security policy would be incompatible with that. With the end of the Cold War in 1989, that obstacle was removed, and the desire to pursue membership grew stronger.[45] On 3 October 1990, the reunification of East and West Germany brought East Germany into the Community without increasing the number of member states.

The Community later became the European Union in 1993 by virtue of the Maastricht Treaty, and established standards for new entrants so their suitability could be judged. The Copenhagen criteria stated in 1993 that a country must be a democracy, operate a free market, and be willing to adopt the entire body of EU law already agreed upon. Also in 1993 the European Economic Area was established with the EFTA states except Switzerland. Most of the new EEA states pursued full EU membership as the EEA did not sufficiently satisfy the needs of their export based corporations. The EU has also preferred these states to integrate via the EEA rather than full membership as the EEC wished to pursue monetary integration and did not wish for another round of enlargement to occupy their attention. However, with the EEA's credibility dented following rejection by businesses and Switzerland, the EU agreed with full membership. This was more readily accepted with the prospect of poorer countries wishing to join; contributions from richer countries would help balance the EU budget.[45] On 1 January 1995 Austria, Finland, and Sweden acceded to the EU marking its fourth enlargement. The Norwegian government lost a second national referendum on membership.

Eastern enlargementEdit

EU enlargements, 2004-2013:
  EU prior to 2004
  Joined the EU on 1 May 2004
  Joined the EU on 1 Jan. 2007
  Joined the EU on 1 July 2013

As with the Mediterranean countries in the 1980s, the countries in Central and Eastern Europe had emerged from dictatorships and wanted to consolidate their democracies. They also wanted to join the project of European integration and ensure they did not fall back into the Russian sphere of influence. The EU and NATO offered a guarantee of this, and the EU was also seen as vital to ensuring the economic success of those countries. However, the EU's desire to accept these countries' membership applications was less than rapid. The collapse of communism came quickly and was not anticipated. The EU struggled to deal with the sudden reunification of Germany with the addition of its poorer 17 million people and, while keeping its monetary union project on track, it was still at that early stage pointing the EFTA countries in the direction of the EEA rather than full membership.[46]

States in Central and Eastern Europe persisted and eventually the above-mentioned issues were cleared. The US also pressured the EU to offer membership as a temporary guarantee; it feared expanding NATO too rapidly for fear of frightening Russia. Although eventually trying to limit the number of members, and after encouragement from the US, the EU pursued talks with ten countries and a change of mind[clarification needed] by Cyprus and Malta helped to offset slightly the influx of large poorer member states from Central and Eastern Europe.[46]

In the end, eight Central and Eastern European countries (the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia), plus two Mediterranean countries (Malta and Cyprus) were able to join on 1 May 2004. This was the largest single enlargement in terms of people, and number of countries, though not in terms of GDP.[47] The less developed nature of these countries was of concern to some of the older member states. Some countries, such as the UK, immediately opened their job market to the accession states, whereas most others placed temporary restrictions on the rights of work of the citizens of these states to their countries. The movement westward of some of the labour force of the newly acceded countries that occurred in the aftermath of the enlargement initially spawned clichés among the public opinion and media of some western countries (such as the "Polish plumber"), despite the generally conceded benefit to the economies concerned.[48] The official EU media (the speeches of the European Commission) frequently referred to the enlargement to the CEE region as "an historical opportunity" and "morally imperative", which reflected the desire of the EU to admit these countries as members, even though they were less developed than the Western European countries.[49] Following this Romania and Bulgaria, though were deemed initially as not fully ready by the commission to join in 2004, acceded nevertheless on 1 January 2007. These, like the countries joining in 2004, faced a series of restrictions as to their citizens not fully enjoying working rights on the territory of some of the older EU members. Bulgaria and Romania are not yet members of the Schengen area; however, their citizens can travel visa-free to the other EU countries.

The socio-economic research on the attitudes towards the integration from both hosting and visiting countries has revealed divergent views. The analysis shows, there are a number of possible factors of the rationalization and understanding of the practices on what the enlargement has been and should be like. Attitudes of even skeptical citizens, do not discard the possibility on future sustainable enlargements. The years subsequent to the EU accession will lead to extensive dialogues between policy-makers, governments, and European citizens about the path for a constructive development.[50]

Western Balkans enlargementsEdit

The 2003 European Council summit in Thessaloniki set integration of the Western Balkans as a priority of EU expansion. The EU's relations with the Western Balkans states were moved from the "External Relations" to the "Enlargement" policy segment in 2005. Those states which have not been recognised as candidate countries are considered "potential candidate countries".[51] The move to Enlargement directorate was a consequence of the advancement of the Stabilisation and Association process.

Croatia joined on 1 July 2013, following ratification of the 2011 Accession Treaty by all other EU countries. Albania and the several successor states of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia have all adopted EU integration as an aim of foreign policy.


# Official name Date Community countries and OMR Associated territories Excluded territories
1 ECSC Foundation 1952-07-23 Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Saarland, Italy, West Germany, West Berlin[a] Belgian Congo, Ruanda-Urundi, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, French Tunisia, French Morocco, Adélie Land, Comoro Islands, Chad, Gabon, Middle Congo, Ubangi-Shari, French India, French Oceania,[b] Clipperton Island, French Somaliland, Dahomey, French Guinea, French Sudan, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Upper Volta, French Cameroons, French Togoland, Madagascar, Crozet Islands, Kerguelen Islands, Saint-Paul-and-Amsterdam Islands, New Caledonia, Wallis-et-Futuna, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Réunion, French Algeria, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Scattered Islands in the Indian Ocean, French-administration of the New Hebrides,[c], Italian Somaliland, Netherlands New Guinea, Surinam, Netherlands Antilles
1953–1957 the above, Saarland joined West Germany the above without the newly independent: Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, French Tunisia, French Morocco, French India[d]; and without Adélie Land, Crozet Islands, Kerguelen Islands, Saint-Paul-and-Amsterdam Islands[e]
2 EEC and EURATOM Foundation 1958-01-01 the above, French Algeria, Réunion, French Guiana, Martinique, Guadeloupe French Guinea, French Cameroons, French Togoland,[f] French Sudan,[g][h], Senegal,[h] Madagascar,[i] Belgian Congo, Italian Somaliland, Dahomey, Niger, Upper Volta, Ivory Coast, Chad, Ubangi-Shari, Middle Congo,[j] Gabon, Mauritania, Ruanda-Urundi, Netherlands New Guinea, Comoro Islands, French Somaliland,[k] French-administration of the New Hebrides,[c] St. Pierre and Miquelon, Wallis and Futuna, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, French Southern and Antarctic Lands, Scattered islands in the Indian Ocean the above, West Berlin, without Scattered islands in the Indian Ocean
1958–1962 the above the above, without the newly independent: French Guinea, French Cameroons, Togo, Mali Federation, Malagasy Republic, Belgian Congo, Italian Somaliland, Dahomey, Niger, Upper Volta, Ivory Coast, Chad, Central African Republic, Congo, Gabon, Mauritania, Ruanda-Urundi,[l] Netherlands New Guinea[m] the above
1962-07-03 the above, without the newly independent: Algeria the above the above
1962-09-01 the above the above, with Surinam[54] the above, without Surinam
Netherlands Antilles Association Convention[55] 1964-10-1 the above the above, with the Netherlands Antilles the above, without the Netherlands Antilles
3 First Enlargement 1973-01-01 the above, Ireland, United Kingdom, Gibraltar, Denmark[n] the above, Antigua, Redonda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Brunei, Canton and Enderbury Islands,[o] Bahama Islands, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Honduras,[p] British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, British Western Pacific Territories,[q] Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Falkland Islands Dependencies,[r] Gilbert and Ellice Islands,[s] Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, St. Helena, Ascension Island, Tristan da Cunha, Seychelles, New Hebrides,[c] Turks and Caicos Islands the above, the Faroe Islands, Akrotiri and Dhekelia [t], the Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, Rhodesia[u], Hong Kong
1973–1980 the above the above, Barbuda,[v] Mayotte,[w] without the newly independent Bahama Islands, Grenada, St. Vincent, Seychelles, British Solomon Islands, Surinam, Ellice Island, Dominica, St. Lucia, Gilbert Islands, New Hebrides, Comoro Islands[w] and French Territory of the Afars and the Issas the above without the newly independent Rhodesia
4 Second Enlargement 1981-01-01 the above, Greece the above the above
1981–1984 the above the above, Anguilla,[x] without the newly independent Belize, Antigua, Barbuda, Redonda,[y] St. Christopher and Nevis[x] and Brunei the above
1985-01-01 the above without Greenland the above, Greenland the above
5 Third Enlargement 1986-01-01 the above, Spain, Portugal, Azores, Madeira, Plazas de soberanía, Canary Islands the above, with Aruba, formerly part of the Netherlands Antilles[z][aa] the above, Macau, East Timor[ab]
German reunification 1990-10-03 the above, East Germany and West Berlin join to form Germany the above the above without West Berlin
6 Fourth Enlargement 1995-01-01 the above, Austria, Sweden, Finland the above the above
1997-07-01 the above the above the above, without Hong Kong[ac]
1999-12-20 the above the above the above, without Macau[ac]
2002-05-20 the above the above the above, without the newly independent East Timor
7 Fifth Enlargement[57] 2004-05-01 the above, Malta, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary the above, Akrotiri and Dhekelia[58] the above, without Akrotiri and Dhekelia[58]
8 Sixth Enlargement 2007-01-01 the above, Bulgaria, Romania the above the above
2007-02-22 the above, Saint Martin, Saint Barthélemy[ad] the above, without Scattered islands in the Indian Ocean[ae] the above
2010-10-10 the above the above, without the now-dissolved Netherlands Antilles, with Curaçao, Sint Maarten, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, Saba[aa] the above
2012-01-01[59] the above, without Saint Barthélemy the above, Saint Barthélemy the above
9 Seventh Enlargement
2013-07-01 the above, Croatia the above the above
10 2014-01-01[64] the above, Mayotte the above, without Mayotte the above
11 Withdrawal of the United Kingdom Transitional period: 2020-02-01[65] to 2020-12-31[66] the above, without United Kingdom, Gibraltar the above without Akrotiri and Dhekelia, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Montserrat, Pitcairn, Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, and Turks and Caicos Islands the above without the Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey


Accession of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the European UnionAccession of Serbia to the European UnionAccession of Iceland to the European UnionAccession of Albania to the European UnionAccession of Montenegro to the European UnionAccession of North Macedonia to the European UnionAccession of Croatia to the European Union2003 Slovenian European Union and NATO membership referendum2003 Czech European Union membership referendumBulgaria2003 Lithuanian European Union membership referendum2003 Estonian European Union membership referendum2003 Latvian European Union membership referendum2003 Slovak European Union membership referendumSnagov Declaration2003 Polish European Union membership referendum2003 Hungarian European Union membership referendumSwitzerland – European Union relationsFinland1994 Swedish European Union membership referendum2003 Maltese European Union membership referendumCyprus1994 Austrian European Union membership referendumMorocco – European Union relationsAccession of Turkey to the European UnionAccession of Portugal to the European UnionAccession of Greece to the European UnionNorway – European Union relationsAccession of Spain to the European UnionDenmarkUnited Kingdom – European Union relationsRepublic of IrelandTreaty of Paris (1951)Treaty of Paris (1951)Treaty of Paris (1951)Treaty of Paris (1951)Treaty of Paris (1951)Treaty of Paris (1951)

Current enlargement agendaEdit

  Current members
  Candidate states
  Potential candidates

Article 49 of the Maastricht Treaty (as amended) says that any European state that respects the "principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law", may apply to join the Union. The European Council set out the conditions for EU membership in June 1993 in the so-called Copenhagen criteria (see Criteria above for details). The Western Balkan states had to sign Stabilisation and Association Agreements (SAAs) before applying for membership.

Turkey applied for membership in 1987. The Western Balkans have been prioritised for membership since emerging from war during the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia are all recognized as official candidates and in negotiation; negotiations with Turkey are frozen.[67] Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo*[68] are recognized as potential candidates for membership by the EU.[67] Bosnia has submitted an application for EU membership, while Bosnia and Kosovo have an SAA with the EU.

In July 2014, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker announced that the EU has no plans to expand in the next five years.[69] Juncker has described Serbia and Montenegro as front-runner candidates, and projected that they would join by 2025.[2][3] The European Council endorsed starting negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania on 26 March 2020, and they could join after 2025. Turkey is not expected to join anytime soon.

On 6 February 2018, the European Commission published its expansion plan,[70] which covers the six Western Balkan countries. The plan envisages that all six applicants could achieve accession as members of the European Union after 2025. In May 2018, Bulgaria—holding the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union—hosted a summit on the Western Balkans, which aimed to facilitate accession by the six, including enhanced regional security cooperation and regional connectivity.[71]

It was noteworthy that the Summit referred to 'partners' rather than states: this reflects that Kosovo is partially recognised as a state.[72] As of 2018, Kosovo was not recognized by fellow Western Balkan applicant Serbia, and existing EU members Spain, Slovakia, Cyprus, Romania, and Greece. The European Commission is sensitive to the issue which was addressed in a speech by the EU's High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the European Parliament Plenary Session on the Western Balkan Strategy: "shared, unequivocal, concrete perspective for European Union integration for each and every one of the six partners. Each at its own pace, with its own specificities and under different conditions, but the direction is clear and is one."[73]

Cancelled enlargementsEdit

Not all enlargement negotiations have ended with the accession of a new member state.

Norway completed membership negotiations twice, in 1972 and 1994, but both times membership was rejected in a referendum.

Switzerland applied for membership in May 1992 but subsequently froze its application,[74][75] and formally withdrew it in 2016.[76][77]

Iceland lodged its application following an economic collapse in 2008, but froze accession negotiations in 2013. In 2017, Iceland's newly elected government announced that it may seek to begin talks with the EU on possible future membership once again,[78] but this did not happen as the government survived for only eight months. New elections were called in October 2017, leading to a new left–right coalition government in November 2017. Following the elections, all the parties of the governing coalition oppose EU membership, along with two of the opposition parties, summing up to at least two-thirds of the MPs. Additionally, for more than eight years every single opinion poll published in Iceland has had a solid majority against joining the EU.[79]

See alsoEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ Until the unification of Germany in 1990 the de jure status of West Berlin was that of French, UK and US occupied zones with West German civilian administration. The treaties applied fully during 1952–1990 over the West German and French responsibilities, and during 1973–1990 over the UK responsibilities. From 3 October 1990 West Berlin was fully integrated in the Federal Republic of Germany along with East Germany.[52][53]
  2. ^ Renamed French Polynesia on 1957-07-22
  3. ^ a b c The New Hebrides was a condominium between the United Kingdom and France until its independence in 1980, and was generally considered to be an overseas territory of both countries
  4. ^ Became part of India on 1954-07-21
  5. ^ Adélie Land, Crozet Islands, Kerguelen Islands and Saint-Paul-and-Amsterdam Islands merged to become the French Southern and Antarctic Lands on 1955-08-06. All territories were already outside the ECSC and the merged territory retained the same status
  6. ^ Renamed Togo on 1958-02-22
  7. ^ Renamed Sudanese Republic on 1958-11-24
  8. ^ a b Senegal and the Sudanese Republic merged on 1959-04-04 to create the Mali Federation
  9. ^ Renamed Malagasy Republic on 1958-10-14
  10. ^ Renamed Congo on 1958-11-28
  11. ^ Renamed French Territory of the Afars and the Issas in 1967
  12. ^ Became independent as the Kingdom of Ruanda and the Kingdom of Burundi
  13. ^ Annexed by Indonesia in 1962
  14. ^ Including the County of Greenland, which later gained home rule and left the EC
  15. ^ The UK co-administered the condominium of the Canton and Enderbury Islands with the USA, until the UK merged it with its Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony on 1975-01-01 to create its Gilbert Islands colony. As such it ceased to be a condominium, but the USA continued to claim it until 1979
  16. ^ Renamed Belize on 1973-06-01
  17. ^ Renamed the British Solomon Islands on 1976-01-02
  18. ^ Renamed South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands in 1985
  19. ^ Split into the Gilbert Islands (which was merged with the Canton and Enderbury Islands) and Ellice Island on 1975-01-01
  20. ^ British Sovereign Base Areas on the island of Cyprus
  21. ^ Legally a British colony until independence in 1980
  22. ^ The island of Barbuda became a separate territory from Antigua on 1976-12-23
  23. ^ a b The island of Mayotte became a separate territory in 1974, and chose to remain with France, rather than become independent
  24. ^ a b Anguilla stayed a British colony, while Saint Christopher and Nevis became independent as St. Kitts and Nevis
  25. ^ Antigua, Barbuda and Redonda merged to become independent as Antigua and Barbuda
  26. ^ Although Aruba was only added to the OCT list with the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1999, it was considered an OCT by the European Communities since leaving the Netherlands Antilles: "De eilandgebieden zullen dus de rechten en plichten van de LGO-status van het Land de Nederlandse Antillen overnemen, wanneer dat opgeheven wordt. Hetzelfde gebeurde in 1986 toen Aruba van eilandgebied van de Nederlandse Antillen een apart Land binnen het Koninkrijk werd. Hoewel de LGO-bijlage pas in 1999 aan deze situatie werd aangepast, heeft de Europese Gemeenschap Aruba van het begin af aan als LGO behandeld." in: Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs[56]
  27. ^ a b The Netherlands Antilles dissolved on 10 October 2010 and contained the islands of Aruba (which left the Netherlands Antilles in 1986), Bonaire, Curacao, Sint Maarten, Saba and Sint Eustatius. Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten are autonomous countries in the Kingdom of Netherlands, and remain overseas territories of the European Union. Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba, also known as the BES islands, are special municipalities of the Netherlands, and remained legally overseas territories
  28. ^ De jure a Portuguese colony under Indonesian occupation until 1999
  29. ^ a b Transferred to China
  30. ^ Saint Martin and Saint Barthélemy were part of Guadeloupe and thus already part of the EU. On 2007-02-22, they became separate territories but France retained application of EU law there, and their EU OMR status was confirmed in the Treaty of Lisbon, which entered into force on 2009-01-01.
  31. ^ The Scattered islands in the Indian Ocean became part of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands on 2007-02-22. Both territories were already EU OCTs and the merged territory retained the same status.
  1. ^ Current Article 1 of the Treaty on European Union reads:"The Union shall be founded on the present Treaty and on the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Those two Treaties shall have the same legal value. The Union shall replace and succeed the European Community".
  2. ^ a b "State of the Union: ROADMAP FOR A MORE UNITED, STRONGER AND MORE DEMOCRATIC UNION 2017" (PDF). ec.europa.eu. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Juncker in the 2017 State of the EU: We must maintain a credible enlargement perspective for the Western Balkans". europa.rs. 13 September 2017. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  4. ^ Emmott, Robin (19 January 2018). "Serbia on course for EU by 2025, top EU official says". Reuters. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  5. ^ "'They've pulled up the draw bridge' Juncker RULES OUT Turkey joining the EU". Daily Express. 13 September 2017. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  6. ^ "PRESIDENCY CONCLUSIONS : Copenhagen European Council - 21-22 June 1993" (PDF). Europarl.europa.eu. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  7. ^ Article : A success for Konstantinos Karamanli on CVCE.eu
  8. ^ "EU anger as France blocks move into Balkans". 18 October 2019. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  9. ^ "6 countries write to Juncker to support EU enlargement reform". POLITICO. 19 November 2019. Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  10. ^ "Nov 2019 NP Enlargement EN" (PDF). Retrieved 30 November 2019.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g "European Commission - Enlargement: Archives Country Profiles". Ec.europa.eu. Archived from the original on 3 January 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  12. ^ a b c d Timetable for accession negotiations by chapter and by country (1998–2004) CVCE.eu
  13. ^ a b c Piket, Vincent EU Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy, Institute for Strategic Studies
  14. ^ a b c d e f g Bache, Ian and Stephen George (2006) Politics in the European Union, Oxford University Press. p540–542
  15. ^ a b c Beyond Enlargement Fatigue? The Dutch debate on Turkish accession, European Security Initiative 2006
  16. ^ Kardas, Saban (13 May 2009) Merkel and Sarkozy Call for Privileged Partnership Angers Turkey, Jamestown Foundation
  17. ^ Schauble, Wolfgang (2004) Talking Turkey, Foreign Affairs
  18. ^ "EU candidate status for Albania". European Commission. 24 June 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  19. ^ "Bosnia and Herzegovina applied for EU membership today". The Netherlands EU Presidency 2016. 15 February 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  20. ^ a b c d e f Anonymous (6 December 2016). "Check current status". European Neighbourhood Policy And Enlargement Negotiations - European Commission. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  21. ^ On 3 October 1990, East Germany joined West Germany through the process of German reunification; since then, the reunited Germany has been a single member state.
  22. ^ RÚV, Application not formally withdrawn
  23. ^ "Iceland withdraws EU accession bid". Deutsche Welle. 12 March 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  24. ^ Iceland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (13 June 2013). "Minister Sveinsson meets with Stefan Füle". Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  25. ^ Referred to as "Kosovo*" by the EU
  26. ^ "European Commission- Enlargement- Kosovo*". European Commission. 28 June 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  27. ^ "Chronology". European Commission. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  28. ^ Staff writer (22 March 2006). "EU Mulls Deeper Policy Cooperation with Morocco". Defense News. Retrieved 4 July 2006.
  29. ^ Referred to as "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" by the EU before 2019
  30. ^ European Commission (10 November 2005). "1972". The History of the European Union. Retrieved 18 January 2006.
  31. ^ European Commission (10 November 2005). "1994". The History of the European Union. Retrieved 18 January 2006.
  32. ^ The European Offensive. - Government of Castile and Leon. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
  33. ^ "EU membership application not to be withdrawn". swissinfo. 26 October 2005. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  34. ^ British Embassy, Bern (4 July 2006). "EU and Switzerland". The UK & Switzerland. Retrieved 4 July 2006.
  35. ^ "Retirer la demande d'adhésion à l'UE et dire les choses telles qu'elles sont". Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  36. ^ "Retrait de la demande d'adhesion de la Suisse a l'UE" (PDF). Swiss Federal Council. 27 July 2016. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  37. ^ European Commission (12 January 2015). "The Schuman Declaration – 9 May 1950". Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  38. ^ Janse, Ronald (2018). "The evolution of the political criteria for accession to the European Community, 1957-1973". European Law Journal. 24: 57–76. doi:10.1111/eulj.12253.
  39. ^ ARTEHISTORIA. "La ofensiva europea". ARTEHISTORIA. Archived from the original on 11 January 2014.
  40. ^ Spain towards the European Integration Archived 3 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine, Heidy Cristina Senante Berendes, page 456 - University of Alicante (Spanish)
  41. ^ European Economic Community Treaty, Art"7
  42. ^ a b "1971 Year in Review Archived 12 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine, UPI.com"
  43. ^ For more on Ireland's attempts at membership see Michael J. Geary, An Inconvenient Wait: Ireland's Quest for Membership of the EEC, 1957–73 (Institute of Public Administration, 2009) (ISBN 9781904541837)
  44. ^ "Turkey Secretariat General for EU affairs – Current situation in accession negotiations". Abgs.gov.tr. Archived from the original on 16 June 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  45. ^ a b c Bache, Ian and Stephen George (2006) Politics in the European Union, Oxford University Press. p543–547
  46. ^ a b Bache, Ian and Stephen George (2006) Politics in the European Union, Oxford University Press. p549–550
  47. ^ Giuseppe D'Amato, Viaggio nell'Hansa baltica. L'Unione europea e l'allargamento ad Est Travel to the Baltic Hansa. Greco&Greco, Milano, 2004 ISBN 88-7980-355-7
  48. ^ Giuseppe D'Amato, L'EuroSogno ed i nuovi Muri ad Est. L'Unione europea e la dimensione orientale The EuroDream and the New Walls to the East. Greco&Greco, Milano, 2008 ISBN 978-88-7980-456-1
  49. ^ THE NEXT ENLARGEMENT: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIESSPEECH BY SIR LEON BRITTAN QC TO EUROPAPOLITISCHER KONGRESS ORGANISED BY THE CDU/CSU GROUP IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT – BERLIN 11 September 1995 and Günter Verheugen Member of the Commission responsible for Enlargement « Enlargement is irreversible » Debate on Enlargement in the European Parliament Strasbourg, 3 October 2000
  50. ^ Schimmelfennig, F., Börzel, T. A., Kortenska, E., Langbein, J., & Toshkov, D. Enlargement and the Integration Capacity of the EU Interim Scientific Results.
  51. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 October 2011. Retrieved 28 October 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  52. ^ "Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (Paris, 18 April 1951) - CVCE Website". Cvce.eu. 18 April 1951. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  53. ^ "EUR-Lex - 11972B/AFI/DCL/06 - EN - EUR-Lex". Eur-lex.europa.eu. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  54. ^ "The provisions of Part Four of the Treaty were applied to Surinam, by virtue of a Supplementary Act of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to complete its instrument of ratification, from 1 September 1962 to 16 July 1976.", in: eur-lex.europa.eu – Treaty establishing the European Community (consolidated version) – Text of the Treaty
  55. ^ "CONVENTION portant révision du traité instituant la Communauté économique européenne en vue de rendre applicable aux Antilles néerlandaises le régime spécial d' association défini dans la quatrième partie de se traité". Euro-lex.europa.eu. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  56. ^ Grondwettelijke aspecten: Territoriale werking / Antillen[permanent dead link]
  57. ^ "361 - An evaluation of the EU's Fifth Enlargement With special focus on Bulgaria & Romania". Fritz Breuss, Research Institute for European Affairs (Europainstitut)and Vienna University of Economics & Business Administration - European Commission. Ec.europa.eu. 3 June 2009. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  58. ^ a b "PROTOCOL No 1 : ON AMENDMENTS TO THE STATUTE OF THE EUROPEAN INVESTMENT BANK" (DOC). Europarl.europa.eu. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  59. ^ "EUROPEAN COUNCIL DECISION of 29 October 2010 amending the status with regard to the European Union of the island of Saint-Barthélemy". Eur-lex.europa.eu. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  60. ^ "Home". Oami.europa.eu. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  61. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 September 2013. Retrieved 23 August 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  63. ^ "EU welcomes Croatia's 'historic moment' on eve of entry". Eubusiness.com. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  64. ^ "EUROPEAN COUNCIL DECISION of 11 July 2012 amending the status of Mayotte with regard to the European Union". Eur-lex.europa.eu. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  65. ^ [1]
  66. ^ "AGREEMENT on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community". Eur-lex.europa.eu. 12 November 2019. Retrieved 31 January 2020.
  67. ^ a b "Enlargement - Check current status". European Commission. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  68. ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008. Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the 2013 Brussels Agreement. Kosovo is currently recognized as an independent state by 97 out of the 193 United Nations member states. In total, 112 UN member states have recognized Kosovo at some point, of which 15 later withdrew their recognition.
  69. ^ "Better Together accused in Juncker row". Herald Scotland.
  70. ^ "Strategy for the Western Balkans". Europa: European Commission. 6 February 2018. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  71. ^ "EU-Western Balkans summit in Sofia". Council of Europe. 17 May 2018. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  72. ^ Martin, Dimitrov (23 April 2018). "Balkans Labeled 'Partners' Instead of 'States' for Sofia Summit". Balkan Insight. Retrieved 18 May 2013.
  73. ^ "Speech by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the European Parliament Plenary Session on the Western Balkan Strategy". European Union External Action Service. 6 February 2018. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  74. ^ "EU membership application not to be withdrawn". swissinfo. 26 October 2005. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  75. ^ British Embassy, Bern (4 July 2006). "EU and Switzerland". The UK & Switzerland. Archived from the original on 28 April 2006. Retrieved 4 July 2006.
  76. ^ "Retirer la demande d'adhésion à l'UE et dire les choses telles qu'elles sont". Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  77. ^ "Retrait de la demande d'adhesion de la Suisse a l'UE" (PDF). Swiss Federal Council. 27 July 2016. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  78. ^ Lawless, Jill (11 January 2017). "Iceland gets new govt, could restart talks on entering EU". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 12 January 2017. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  79. ^ Gudmundsson, Hjortur J. (11 December 2017). "Iceland: further from EU membership than ever". EUobserver. Retrieved 8 June 2018.

External linksEdit