The 2004 and 2007 enlargements

Click the image above to view the video

Click the image above to view the video

One of the biggest challenges that the EU has had to face in the last decade was the accession of 13 new member states, sending the number of EU member states from 15 in 2003 to 27 by 2007 and 28 today, although the number might go back at 27 following the highly likely exit of the UK (however, until that process is officially complete, we still consider the EU to have 28 member states).

The states of the 2004 enlargement: Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Cyprus and Malta.  In 2007, Bulgaria and Romania also joined, and so did Croatia in 2014.

Read an article written just before the 2004 enlargement discussing its significance and some of the issues raised.

  • What do you think are the biggest challenges surrounding the most recent rounds of EU enlargement?
  • Why were they so historically significant?

Now read this article describing the situation in Europe five years after the 2004 enlargement.

  • What has happened to Europe’s decision making ability?
  • Have ‘new’ Europe and ‘old’ Europe blocs emerged?
  • According to the article, what has happened to the European ‘centre of gravity’?
  • Do you think the EU should enlarge further? Why?
  • Notice what is said about ‘multiplied levels of governance’ – do you think enlargement will have increased the trend towards multi-level governance?