What Are The Requirements For EU Membership?
I see the European Union is taking on new members.
Had a discussion about this somewhere else, so I thought I would ask clarification here: ultimately, do all the present EU members have to approve for a new member to be admitted? Can just one or two nations prevent a new member from becoming admitted? Or is a majority, 2/3, or 3/4 approval?
Also, is there a stated requirement that all EU members must be actually located in Europe? Is it at least conceivable they could admit a nation that does not have part of it lying in Europe or a nearby island, (not that they have expressed interest in doing so)?
Re: What Are The Requirements For EU Membership?
the EU, like approving new members, currently has to be ratified
by the governments of all EU countries. That is, in practice, any
country can stop such decisions. Such things has happened on
several occasions. Since the number of members will now grow
even more, it has been suggested to change the rules so a
single country can no longer stop decsicions, but there is no
decision taken on this yet. I understand that some kind of
EU constitution is planned to be decided on during this year,
and that it is intended to include new rules for voting, but
that requires that a concencus on this new constitution can
be reached under the current rules, of course. Something
which not everybody believes will happen.
about this at all. Turkey wants to become a member and the
US is pressing EU to to allow them in. However, from a
purely geographical point of view, only a small part of Turkey
is usually considered to belong to Europe. What would happen
if Russia would eventually want to become a member? A large
part of Russia is usually considered to belong to Europe. I suppose
the main problem is that nobody really has a very clear idea of
what EU is supposed to be. The purpose of the union is unclear
and changes over time. Some countries, or at least politicians,
want it to eventually be a federation, while most seem to prefer
it to be a looser union of sovereign states.
1.) They must have stable institutions that can guarantee democracy, the rule of law, human rights and protection of minorities.
2.) They must be functioning market economies with the capacity to cope with competitive pressure and market forces within the EU.
3.) They must be equipped to take on the obligations of membership and to adhere to the aims of political union and economic and monetary union.
Thanks, Christer and Bas.
I had a discussion elsewhere where an individual maintained that Turkey had no chance to join the EU because "geography is geography".
Your anwers have now made clear that if Turkey does not get into the EU, it will not be because it fails any geography requirement, but merely because the other EU states decide not to let it in. That is a big difference.
Thanks for the clarification, guys. :)
If I wanted to be cynical I would say that Turkey is a Muslim country...and the EU is a Christian club. No way the Christians will accept a muslim member.
But I won't be cynical. The human rights issue is far far more important than the Geography of Europe.
I keep reading in the Dutch papers about how they're going to limit the number of Eastern Europeans who can get work permits in the Netherlands. Is that true? Can they really do that? Or is it just a lot of political noise? I guess all EU countries are equal, but some are more equal than others. By the time Turkey gets in, they might find it's not worth the trouble.
Inequalities, but only at first...
When borders are opened, there is a possibility of large movement of both working and welfare dependant population from poorer to richer countries. It would be unrealistic to expect unlimited access straight away. Imagine the USA opening it's border with Mexico.
John and Rob,
America and Mexico are both part of NAFTA...But very much 2 different countries.
But the European Union is about more than just a trade agreement....taking away borders not putting them up.
The dutch protection of workers is nothing else but Apartheid.
Well I don't know the details of the Dutch policy, but we in the UK are led to believe that all the old members including us, are putting limits on Work permits and Welfare benefits.
Surely the only other way for it to work is to delay their membership until their economy is on a level to yours. I do believe that earlier membership will get them to that point quicker.
Now whether the larger Union will work at all, that's another matter....
Regarding the special rules for new member states. When
the conditions for the enlargement were taken only two of
the current member states requested an exception that
imposed restrictions on immigration from the new member states.
I think one of these was Eire, but I don't remember which the
other one was. However, although everybody else said they
would not impose any such restriction, there was a backdoor
in the treaty, saying that any member country was allowed
to introduce such excpetions later on. As time went by, more
and more member states has signalled that they want to make
use of this backdoor and impose restrictions. Note howverr that
such restrictions cannot be permanent, but only be operational
for a period of a few years. I think Germany was (one of) the
first countries to send out such signals. Then many others have
followed, inlcuding my own country, Sweden. The worries here
are that we have by tradition a very generous welfare system
and according to current law you are only required to be
employed 10 hours a week to get access to these benefits.
There is a fear amongst some politicians that some people
from the poorer of the new member countries will move here just
to make use of this. Nobody knows if this fear is jsutified or not,
of course. It seems now that the government is not getting
enough support for introducing such exceptions, but nothing
is settled yet. Anyway, the reasoning behind the suggested
exceptions is that since a large share of the EU budget will
be directed towards the new members, their economies are
expected to grow quickly and withing a few years even out
the really big differences in living standard.
Regarding Turkey, the impression one gets from media here
in Sweden, at least, is that most "experts" seem to question
if there is actually any of the current member countries who
really wants Turkey as a member but that no politician dares
to say that outright, so instead they just keep telling Turkey
that they are still not living up to the requirements for a
membership application. Interestingly, it seems noone has
tried to disqualify them for geographical reasons, which seem
to be the simplest way if they really wanted to say no. However,
this is all just media speculations. Obviously, the geography is
not considered a problem. However, as Bas said, there are still
serious issues regarding the human rights situation in Turkey.
It seems though that things have improved somewhat in that
respect since Turkey seem to really want to be eligible for
membership. I understand that although people can still be
sentenced to death in Turkey, the courts has stopped making
use of this as a first step towards harmonizing with the EU
However, since nobody seems to have tried disqualifying Turkey
for geographical reasons, we do have the interesting question
of what countries are eligible in theory. At least a part of Turkey
is located in Europe, but so ia a large part of Russia. Although
this has no direct connections with EU, Israel has since
many many years back been allowed to participate in, and
has also on several occasions won, the Eurovision song contest
which is run by the European Broadcasting Union. Does that
mean Israel could eventually be considered a European
country??? BTW, since a few years back also Russia participates,
but at least they are partially European. So if Russia would
be eligible for having some part of its soil in Europe, would
that mean that all other former Soviet republics are also
eligible for once being part of the partially european Soviet
Union?? i seriously doubt there is any clear and coherent
view on these matters.
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