According to the article 43 of the European Community treaty, 'any European State may apply to become a member of the Union[...]the conditions of admission and the adjustments to the Treaties on which the Union is founded which such admission entails shall be the subject of an agreement between the member states and the applicant states'. Geographically, Europe can be defined as 'the western peninsula of the Eurasian landmass, stretching from Iceland in the west to the Urals in the east, and from Pitzbergen or Novya Zemlaya in the north to Gibraltar in the south' . Therefore, the will of Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic and Slovenia to be part of the European Union was legitimate. If the old continent demonstrates some unity, the gap between the west and the east shows that diversity remains the main feature of Europe. On the 5th of March 1946, Churchill, in a speech pronounced in Fulton, talked for the first time about the iron curtain that fell on Europe. This metaphor was meant to describe the bipolarisation of the world, with the opposition of the communist bloc and the capitalist bloc. At the end of the Cold War and
the fall of communism, the metaphor should have become obsolete. Yet the inequalities and the antagonisms between Western and Central and Eastern Europe are still in 1991 very strong and the separation between the capitalist European states and the former communist states remains clear. Nevertheless, 13 years later, countries which had been under Moscow's sphere of influence become part of the European Union.
What are the factors that led to the 2004 EU enlargement? As all waves of integration, the process is not simple and never certain. Which were the main stages and the debate in this enlargement? How
and why has the EU enlargement 'progressed from a utopian vision to a practical, and vastly ambitious, project' ?
[...] Germany, aware of the difficulties of the central and eastern countries due to its history and its reunification was in favour of a quick integration. Germany also wanted to stabilise its frontiers. Great Britain agreed with Germany but with different motivations: the enlargement was seen by London as a way to balance the strong political integration of the EEC . At the end Paris won the debate. If the French idea of a European Confederation was strongly refused by Vaclav Havel, who represented the Central and Eastern European countries, Paris managed to bloc any formal engagement in a future enlargement. [...]
[...] The EU has always pursued these two objectives in parallel, and never was the one an obstacle for the other' The enlargement was therefore proposed in 1993 during the meeting of the EU Council Copenhagen to all the countries that would fulfil criterions such as establishment of democracy, respect of Human rights and the integration to a market economy. Yet at this meeting no timetable was established. In December 1997, the process of adherence started. It was decided that in March 1998, the five countries the most advanced in the integration of the acquis communutaires (Estonia, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovenia) could start to negotiate their adherence. [...]
[...] What are the factors that led to the 2004 EU enlargement? As all waves of integration, the process is not simple and never certain. Which were the main stages and the debate in this enlargement? How and why has the EU enlargement 'progressed from a utopian vision to a practical, and vastly ambitious, project' ? At the end of the Cold War, the Eastern European countries that have long been under the control of an external power were finally autonomous. [...]
[...] As a consequence of this will to return to Europe, the Central and Eastern European Countries 1 entered in a phase of complete transition following the western model. On the political level, alongside with the democratization, the decade that followed the 1989 revolutions was dominated by the will to create a Constitutional State. This presupposes the creation of a constitution that would 'limit the state power by subjecting it to legal rules which stand above the state itself. These rules organise sovereign power so that individual rights and freedoms are guarded against the arbitrary rule of the state' . [...]
[...] Secondly, 'the EU itself has evolved from customs union with a common external tariff 3 at the time of its first enlargement in 1973 to a single market and will have undergone a further substantial deepening economic integration' by the time the new members will be accepted. Thirdly the enlargement might create mew economic and institutional inequalities within the EU. Finally in the case of the previous enlargement, the countries that have integrated Europe were already based on market economy . [...]
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