"The future of Europe never appeared so dubious. Neither did some of its possible futures appear so promising" affirms Jean-Paul Fitoussi in his book devoted to the problems of the conflict between the national interests and the requirements of convergence in Europe1. In fact, for the eastern countries including France, Germany and the other countries in the historical European Union, EU-enlargement represents the result of a political and economic transition that started in the beginning of the Nineties. But the integration of the eastern countries, achieved in May 2004, caused (and till today continues to cause) new prospects and strong concerns among the populations and the politicians to rise. And that is why so many people stress today this question: what has the eastern enlargement really brought to the European Union? Thus we will make an assessment of what this enlargement brought to the EU and support finally the idea of a future positive role of these countries in spite of all the current critics.
[...] The new empowerment of the eastern countries The new empowerment of the Eastern European countries can also be to consider as a good thing insofar as the political transition can now take a larger importance. Indeed, the economic transition is now old and almost completed but it is always the political transition which is hardest to realize7. And this integration with the European Union will help them to make this project in a context much more favorable. The end of the enlargement process? [...]
[...] Thus, Europe became a support for these developing countries and either simply a large market, thanks to the EU- enlargement. But this enlargement brought new issues and fears too A complete questioning of the European Union But when changes and upheavals appear, interrogations and fears are born also at once. In fact, the European Union has to face today a deep questioning of the meaning and the role of the EU due to this wide enlargement. The best example of the phenomenon of this questioning is the rejection (in France especially) of the European Constitution. [...]
[...] The EU-enlargement has brought a modernization of the EU A new political organization of the European Union First of all, the EU-enlargement brought new issues. This situation forced Europe to call into question its running and its institutions. Indeed, the waves of adhesion started in May 2004 are the broadest that the European Union knew, they are also the most complex. On one hand, the running of the future European Union made up of more than 25 Member States required a major reform of the European institutions started with the treaty of Nice and whose preparation was the specific convention object since the council of Laeken of December 2001. [...]
[...] This is why Poland can legitimately claim a role much more important within the European Union6. The fear of a redistribution of the roles in Europe Then, the entrance of ten new members has also brought a singular redistribution of the roles in Europe. And it is the French president, Jacques Chirac, who summarized this situation best. It has effect to throw faintness very deep among the countries entering while affirming about the crisis resulting from the conflict in Iraq which they "had lost a good reason to keep silent". [...]
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