The Challenge of Enlargement and Cohesion in the Ten New Member States

  • Robert Leonardi


Since the 1st of May 2004 the European Union incorporates over half a billion people and extends to the historical limits of the European continent. The enlargement towards the East and South has transformed the Union from the assembly of fifteen nation-states to a union of almost all of the countries that consider themselves to be part of Europe.1 The difference is not just quantitative but it represents a qualitative change in the nature of the EU. The increase of the membership in the European Union to twenty-five member states represents the realization of the vision of a single market for all of Europe and the creation of one political organization that encompasses almost all of the countries found between the Atlantic and the borders of Russia and the Ukraine.2 Enlargement implies not only the prospect of an economically stronger but also a more politically united Europe after a half century of divisions and conflict imposed by the logic of the “cold war”. Enlargement also favours the prospect of increased relations between Europe and its neighbours to the East and to the southern Mediterranean countries. With the further incorporation of Romania and Bulgaria expected to take place in 2007 and the opening up of negotiations for membership with Turkey, the European Union will expand into the most western part of Asia and extend its horizon into the frontiers of the Islamic world.


Member State Institutional Capacity Candidate State Administrative Structure Candidate Country 
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  1. 1.
    The most recent accession has brought the total number of member states to twenty-five. The incorporation of all of the candidate countries (including Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and Croatia) would bring the total to twenty-nine. For a discussion of the enlargement process and views from different perspectives, see Jackie Gowerand and John Redmond (eds), Enlarging the European Union, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000 and the special issue of Regional and Tederal Studies, Vol. 12, No. 2, Summer 2002.Google Scholar
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© Robert Leonardi 2005

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  • Robert Leonardi

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