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The integration of the European Union

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  1. Introduction
  2. EU's quest for the optimal institutional structure
  3. The issue of the future of the Union
  4. The issue of the Union's presidency
  5. Different economic structures and needs
  6. The quarrel between 'the cicadas and the ants'
  7. The entry of ten new members in the European Union: Stress on political demands
  8. Conclusion
  9. Bibliography

On the 16th April, 2003, ten new members were signing the adhesion treaty to the European Union, in front of the Parthenon in Athens. The adhesion of these ten new countries, among which eight were ex-communist countries, represented a historic moment : the European unification eastwards, so much hoped since 1989, was occurring at last. Nevertheless, the celebration of the "European reunification" was also felt as a moment of division and uncertainty towards the future of the Union : the Iraqi crisis was indeed revealing the underlying split inside the Europe of 25, and was creating confusion about the cohesion and the role of the future enlarged Union. The Europe of 25 is a factor of chances but also of risks. The enlarged European Union will not be the same at a bigger scale. The sphere of action of the European institutions is changing and it has to be adapted to a brand new structure.

[...] The European Union has always sought the optimal institutional structure, combining two logics of construction : on the one hand the federal logic represented by the Commission and the European Parliament elected by direct universal suffrage ; on the other hand, the intergovernmental logic expressed by the balance of votes at the Council of Ministers, relying on a perpetual compromise between the member states. The European Constitution is the fruit of this double identity which leaves many questions unsolved and subject to the interpretation of the member states. [...]

[...] But in a Union of 25, the new repartition of costs will obviously provoke clashes of interests between the current member states, reluctant to pay more, and the new member states willing to benefit from the European money like their predecessors. Between 1990 and 2006 (date on which the budgetary perspectives will be revised) Billion euros have been allocated to the ten candidates to the enlargement of 2004[5]. If the EU has chosen to transfer money to the new member states, the GDP of which represents of the European average[6], it is to favour the development of their infrastructures and their economic modernisation, as well as to enable the management of a territorial space and an agriculture marked by increased inequalities. [...]

[...] This question is certainly crucial in a Union of 25 members, where many East European countries are very attached to the American alliance within NATO and are quite likely to oppose the Franco- German foreign policies as we have seen during the war in Iraq. The question of the Common foreign policy will be harder to solve in a Union of 25 members, with many more divergences between countries of the old Europe as Donald Rumsfeld named it and those of the newly enlarged Europe. [...]

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