Gungor, Gaye (2007) Ever Expanding Union? A Closer Look at the European Union’s Enlargement Agenda. EUMA Papers, Vol. 4 No. 15 June 2007. [Policy Paper]
On January 1, 2007, with the entry of Bulgaria and Romania, the European Union (EU) completed its fifth enlargement. Prior to their entry, the European Commission issued a special report on November 8, 2006 on the EU’s capacity to integrate new members along with its Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2006-07. For the first time, the Commission related the enlargement not only to the progress made by the candidate countries, but to the Union’s own capacity to integrate new members, and function after their entry. Before they continue with another round of enlargement, Member States, “need to show that a Union of 27 can work and take decisions, [and] enlargement is not an obstacle but a success” as President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso stated recently at his Pre-European Council Press Conference on June 19, 2007.1 The major challenge facing the heads of states and governments at the upcoming European Council’s meeting of June 21-22, 2007 is Treaty reform. Mr. Barroso pleaded the Member State governments not to miss this opportunity, and give the Union the capacity to act.2 A further widening cannot be accomplished without further deepening. Enlargement has been “the most powerful policy tool to extend the zone of peace, liberty and prosperity and to project Europe’s values and interests in the world” (Olli Rehn, The Enlargement Commissioner, 2007). In order to keep its promises and continue with its enlargement agenda, the EU needs to reform itself institutionally. A new institutional arrangement is needed “not only for the sake of enlargement but also for the sake of making the current EU to function better, to serve better [European] citizens” (Olli Rehn, the Enlargement Commissioner, 2007).
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