Ritto, Luis. (2003) The Convention on Europe and the Enlargement of the European Union. Jean Monnet/Robert Schuman Paper Series, Vol. 2 No.1, February 2003. [Working Paper]
These are exciting and challenging times for the European Union (EU): – Exciting, because in 2004 the enlargement of the Union will take place, with 10 new Member States joining the EU; – Challenging, because in parallel to the enlargement, the Convention on the future of Europe will present its findings in 2003, formulating a strategic operational vision for the EU as a player in the European and international arenas, changing its internal structure and its external profile. In fact, both enlargement and the Convention should be seen together as a joint effort to build a future Europe that is functional, stable, prosperous and democratic. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 followed by the collapse of communism in Central and Eastern Europe became the starting point of a new era in European political co-operation and trade. Shortly after, those countries began a process of democratization and of transition towards market-based economies. For some, this was a daunting task, as they had little tradition of open economies. Others could draw on past experience in recreating market economies that half a century earlier had worked well. Although the transition processes and European integration proved costly and timeconsuming, the fact is that those countries that invested in them have seen in December 2002 a reward to their efforts in the form of access to the European Union in May 2004. In fact, at the Copenhagen Summit of 13 December, 2002, the EU Member States agreed to allow ten European countries 1 to join the Union by 2004, in a historic expansion that (it is hoped) will bring Europe's cold war divisions to an end.
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