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  1. Introduction.
  2. The History of the Enlargement process so far.
    1. The first four enlargements: 1956-1995.
    2. The Enlargements of 2004 and 2007 and the accession criteria.
  3. The outcomes of last enlargements for new members, previous members and European Union in general.
    1. What has adhesion to the European Union brought to these new members?
    2. The Consequences of the last enlargements for previous members of the European Union.
    3. The outcome for the 'Enlarged European Union'.
  4. The legitimacy of further enlargements.
    1. Will Turkey ever join the EU?
    2. The others potential members.
  5. Conclusion.
  6. Bibliography.

Since its foundation in the late 1950's, the European Union has seen its membership growing from 6 to 27 countries in 2007, with the accession of Bulgaria and Romania. The process might not stop at this point, as other countries such as West Balkans, Turkey, and eastern countries (former parts of the USSR) are also expecting to join the EU as soon as possible. Six rounds of enlargements have been experienced since the foundation of the EU. While each enlargement has raised its own kind of questions and difficulties, both for the applying members and the existing members, the last two rounds, which allowed 10 Central and Eastern European Countries to join the EU plus Malta and South Cyprus, created a situation in which both elites and the population of the EU start to believe that the enlargement process should have an end. Otherwise, the idea of a well integrated European Union supported by its people would be seriously compromised. The rejection of the Treaty on the European Union by French and Dutch people in 2004, the fact that member states elites avoid referendum on enlargement and the general ?democratic deficit? increasingly felt towards the EU is a clear indication that the European Union needs now to take stock of its past policies before moving forward.

[...] II) The outcomes of last enlargements for new members, previous members and the European Union in general. These new adhesions have not really been welcome enthusiastically among population of previous members of the European Union. Even the new members have shown many signs of dissatisfactions towards previous members' attitude regarding their accessions. Three years after the ?massive? 2004 enlargement and fourth months following Bulgaria and Romania adhesions, at a time when European integration seems to be suspended to political changes in France and Great Britain, the question of the limits of enlargement is more than ever clearly raised. [...]

[...] The European Union had to take decisions quickly, in the end of the 1980's, in order to stabilize the region politically and prevent any returns to dictatorship. Once again, the prospect of joining the EU in a reasonable future was a decisive tool which clearly accelerated the economical and political transition in these countries. In order to reduce the enormous economic and social gap between EU members and CEEC as much and as quickly as possible, the EU implemented in the beginning of the 1990's various tools for economic cooperation. [...]

[...] issue in the major debate about the identity of the European Union, what should be its purposes: essentially economical or also political? How should it be functioning: how to decide on concrete policies with 27 countries? On the contrary to past enlargements, recent and future enlargements are granting membership to the EU to countries in which the GDP per capita, the minimum wages, the social laws are very far away from existing members. The fear of social dumping and immigration inside the EU (from the East to the West) is very concrete, at a time where countries such as France and Germany face more and more social and economical difficulties, with rising unemployment and poverty. [...]

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