For what reasons did countries of the fifth enlargement want to join the European Union?
As the European Commission proclaims in its Understanding Enlargement (2007, p.4) the European Union has been an historic success, which has made it into a magnet. It has brought huge advantages to all Europeans as stability, prosperity, democracy, human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law.
The new applicants often point European regulations as one of the main reasons of joining the EU. They like the idea of rules imposed form the EU to make them to have open governments and a competitive environment. They also fear that without those rules they could still be vulnerable to Russian’s long shadow. (The Economist, 2001)
Furthermore it is interesting to mention what Peter Mandelson (2008, p.3), former European Commissioner for Trade has to say:
“The European Union allows different European countries to work together for our shared interests. It gives us the weight as individual European countries to influence the global debates that really matter. When we sit down opposite the United States, China or Russia to discuss trade, foreign affairs or climate change we are strongest when we speak with a single voice”
All these European values, strength and prosperity plus the need and willingness of leaving Russia’s influence and the communist legacy behind are the main reasons why the countries of the fifth enlargement wanted to join the EU. And are the reasons why still many others want.
Identify the criteria which the new members had to satisfy to join the EU. Why are these criteria important?
To become part of the EU, the ten candidate countries had first and foremost to be recognised as European States (Article 49 of the EU Treaty ) and secondly to comply with the principles of freedom, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law (Article 6 of the EU Treaty). They also had to fulfil the economic and political...