The expansion of Europe :

The 20th century has been really shaken by the war which ruined the European continent. This  disaster compelled  the nations to gather in order to prevent  new conflicts  from starting again. Since its creation, the European Community has  led a policy of enlargement. The number of members has grown from 6 to 28.

History :

– The Western nations of  Europe created the Council of Europe in 1949

– The Schuman declaration on May 9th, 1950 is considered as the beginning of the European construction.

– March 25, 1957, the founding states (Belgium, France, Italia, Luxembourg, West Germany and Netherlands) signed the treaty of Rome. This treaty established the European Economic Community (EEC) whose first goal was the free circulation of people, of goods and services between Member States.

–  January  1st 1973,

3 new countries joined the EU (which is not called like this yet) Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

     Jens Otto Krag, the Danish State Minister

  Jack Lynch, the Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach)

 Edward Heath, the British Prime Minister.

– January 1 1981: 

Greece entered the European Union.  It became eligible since its military regime fell and since its democracy returned. The European Union  has then 10 members.

– January 1, 1986: 

Spain and Portugal entered  the Union.

Membership in the union of these two countries was possible after  the overthrow of the Salazar regime in Portugal in 1974 and the death of General Franco of Spain in 1975 which brought an end the last dictatorship in Europe as countries engaged to restore democracy.

– February 7, 1992

Treaty of Maastricht: European community changed its name into to the European Union.

– In 1993, the treaty of Maastricht is applied. It give birth the European union and a new step in the construction of a political community at the continent scale.

–  January 1 1995

Austria, Finland and Sweden joined  the EU.

With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Germany was reunified. Former Germany is therefore also entering in the European Union.

– 1997:

The first negotiations with the Union begins with various eastern countries: Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia and with Mediterranean islands such as Cyprus.

Adoption of a series of three criteria that countries will be obliged to fulfil to join the EU: the existence of democratic institutions, the presence of a functioning market economy, and capacity to resume “acquis communautaire”.

– 1 May 2004

After several years of negotiations and reforms 10 new countries joined the European Union: Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia, as well as two islands Cyprus and Malta.

There were 25 Member Countries.

Planned accession for Bulgaria and for Romania under way

Croatia and Turkey are also candidates

– January 1, 2007

Romania and Bulgaria joined EU

Signature of the Treaty in 2005 by Salomon Passy, the Bulgarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Meglena Kuneva, the Bulgarian Minister of European Affairs.

Signature of the Treaty in 2005 by the Roumanian President Traian Basescu and Calin Popescu, his Prime Minister.

– July 1st, 2013

Croatia became the 28th member state of the European Union

  Croatian president Ivo Josipovic (left)

Nowadays , eight countries are negotiating to enter the European Union: turkey, the ancient republic of Yugoslavia, Montenegro, Iceland and Serbia. To enter in the European Union, there are different criteria to fullfil:

  •      Political criteria: the state must have a policy based on human rights and with a democracy.
  •      Economic criteria: a great economy and the ability to cope with competition inside the European union.
  •     The ability to apply the policy of the European Union.