The further enlargment of the European Union : threat or opportunity ? Report with evidence.
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HOUSE OF LORDS European Union Committee 53rd Report of Session 200506 The Further Enlargement of the EU: threat or opportunity? Report with Evidence Ordered to be printed 7 November 2006 and published 23 November 2006
Published by the Authority of the House of Lords London: The Stationery Office Limited £price HL Paper 273
The European Union Committee The European Union Committee is appointed by the House of Lords to consider European Union documents and other matters relating to the European Union. The Committee has seven Sub-Committees which are: Economic and Financial Affairs, and International Trade (Sub-Committee A) Internal Market (Sub-Committee B) Foreign Affairs, Defence and Development Policy (Sub-Committee C) Environment and Agriculture (Sub-Committee D) Law and Institutions (Sub-Committee E) Home Affairs (Sub-Committee F) Social and Consumer Affairs (Sub-Committee G)
Our Membership The Members of the European Union Committee are: Lord Blackwell Lord Marlesford Lord Bowness Lord Neill of Bladen Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood Lord Radice Lord Dubs Lord Renton of Mount Harry Lord Geddes Lord Roper Lord Grenfell (Chairman) Baroness Thomas of Walliswood Lord Hannay of Chiswick Lord Tomlinson Lord Harrison Lord Woolmer of Leeds Lord Maclennan of Rogart Lord Wright of Richmond The Committee would like to thank Katinka Barysch, Specialist Adviser for the duration of the inquiry for her input and Professor Anand Menon also appointed as a Specialist Adviser for the inquiry.
Information about the Committee The reports and evidence of the Committee are published by and available from The Stationery Office. For information freely available on the web, our homepage is: y_comm ords_eu_select_committee.cfm ar ittees/l There you will find many of our publications, along with press notices, details of membership and forthcoming meetings, and other information about the ongoing work of the Committee and its Sub-Committees, each of which has its own homepage. Members interests are available at the Register of Interests:
Contacts for the European Union Committee Contact details for individual Sub-Committees are given on the website. General correspondence should be addressed to the Clerk of the European Union Committee, Committee Office, House of Lords, London, SW1A OPW The telephone number for general enquiries is 020 7219 5791.The Committees email address is
Paragraph Page FOREWORDWhat this report is about7 Chapter 1: Setting the scene 19 Box 1: Enlargement in the EU Treaties 9 Structure of this Report 1812 Box 2: Chronology of Enlargement13Box 3: The Accession Process13Chapter 2: Current attitudes towards enlargement 2615 Recent survey evidence 2715 Economic and social consequences are the main concern 3116 Table 1: Percentage of people who agree that enlargement17Preferences for certain candidates 3717 Table 2: Percentage of people in the EU25 who support the accession of18The referendum threat 4019 How engrained are anti-enlargement attitudes? 4620 Table 3: Do you think your country has benefited from EU membership? (Results given as a percentage of those asked who felt EU membership had been positive for their country)22Chapter 3: The impact of the last enlargement 6024 The economic consequences of enlargement 6424 Table 4: Basic indicator for the new Member States 200326Enlargement and globalisation 7927 The movement of labour 8228 Table 5: Resident working age population by nationality, 2005, in per cent of total30The political impact of enlargement 9031 The Council of Ministers 9332 The European Commission 9833 The European Parliament 10133 The quality of decision-making 10334 The impact on EU policies 10634 The balance between small and large countries 11135 Lessons for future enlargements 11436
Chapter 4: Absorption capacity and the borders of EuropeThe Copenhagen accession criteriaBox 4: The Copenhagen criteria for EU Membership The borders of the EUAbsorption capacity
Chapter 5: The political context for future enlargementsThe future of the EU institutionsVariable geometry and the notion of a core EuropeThe future of the EU budget
Chapter 6: Candidates and potential candidatesThe Western Balkans: The risk of returning instability
131 131 137 144
154 160 169 177
182 182
39 39 4041 42
45 46 48 50
51 51
Table 6: Basic indicators for candidates and potential candidatesCroatia: Fast-track into the EU?Turkey: A special case?Chapter 7: Possible alternatives to enlargement and the cost of non-enlargementPossible future candidatesThe European neighbourhood policyAlternatives to membershipThe costs of non-enlargement
Chapter 8: Conclusions and RecommendationsSetting the sceneCurrent attitudes towards enlargementThe impact of the 2004 enlargementAbsorption capacity and the borders of EuropeThe political context for future enlargementsCandidates and potential candidatesPossible alternatives to enlargement and the cost of non-enlargement
Appendix 1: Call for Evidence
Appendix 2: List of Witnesses
Appendix 3: Recent Reports from the Select Committee
197 205
229 229 235 246 256
270 270 272 275 281 284 288
5454 55
62 62 63 65 67
70 70 70 70 71 71 72
78 80
Oral Evidence Mr John Palmer, Member of the Governing Board of the European Policy Centre Oral Evidence, 6 June 2006 1 Written Evidence 10 Lord Ashdown of Norton-Sub-Hamdon, Member of the House Oral Evidence, 13 June 2006 17 Mr Graham Avery, Oxford University, and Mr Quentin Peel, Financial Times Oral Evidence, 20 June 2006 29 Mr Alan Dashwood, Cambridge University, and Mr Charles Grant, Centre for European Reform Oral Evidence, 27 June 2006 40 Mr Vladimir Drobnjak, Chief Negotiator in Croatias Accession talks with the EU, and His Excellency Mr Josip Paro, Croatian Ambassador to the UK Oral Evidence, 4 July 2006 50 Commissioner Olli Rehn, Member of the European Commission Oral Evidence, 10 July 2006 55
Mr Richard Howitt, Member of the European Parliament Oral Evidence, 10 July 2006 61 Mr Michael Emerson, Ms Julia De Clerck-Sachsse and Ms Gergana Noutcheva, Centre for European Policy Studies Oral Evidence, 10 July 2006 71 Mr Andrew Duff, Member of the European Parliament Written Evidence 80 Oral Evidence, 11 July 2006 81 Dr Charles Tannock, Member of the European Parliament Oral Evidence, 11 July 2006 87 His Excellency Mr Akin Alptuna, the Turkish Ambassador to the UK, Ms Sylvie Goulard, Lecturer, College of Europe, and Ms Kirsty Hughes, Associate Fellow of the European Institute, London School of Economics Oral Evidence, 10 October 2006 98 Dr Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut, Head of EU Bilateral Relations, Kanzleramt Oral Evidence, 17 October 2006 110 Dr Jochen Bethkenhagen, Representative of the State of Brandenburg, Dr Manfred Frühauf, Representative of the State of Bavaria, and Karl-Theodor Freiherr zu Guttenberg, Foreign Affairs Committee Member, Bundestag Oral Evidence, 17 October 2006 116 Dr Canan Atilgan, Political Consultant for European Affairs, Konrad Adenauer Akademie, Ms Barbara Lippert, Deputy Director of the Institute for European Politics, Mr Thomas Schiller, Europe AG of the CDU/CSU Fraktion, Mr Olav Göhs, Advisor of the CDU on European Affairs, and Ms Sabina Wölkner, Desk Officer, (Western Europe/USA) Oral Evidence, 17 October 2006 125 Mr Matthias Wissmann, a Member of the CDU, and Mr Michael Roth, a Member of the SPD, European Committee, Bundestag Written Evidence, Matthias Wissmann 135 Oral Evidence, 17 October 2006 136 Mr Valéry Giscard dEstaing, former President of FranceOral Evidence, 23 October 2006 145 Mr Édouard Balladur, former Prime Minister of France and current Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Assemblee NationaleOral Evidence, 23 October 2006 153 Mr Dominique Moisi, Special Adviser to the French Institute for International Relations, IFRI Oral Evidence, 23 October 2006 161
Written Evidence Dr David Bakradze, Chairman of the Committee On European Integration, Parliament of Georgia Ian Barnes, Jean Monnet Professor of European Economic Integration, University of Lincoln European Policy Forum Paul Luif, Austrian Institute of International Affairs Ms Liz Lynne MEP Mr Vladimír Müller, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic for European Union Affairs Ms Tina Nelson Fordham, Director, Economic Political Strategies, Citigroup Global Banking Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne MEP, Vice President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament Mr Erik F Nielsen, Chief European Economist, Goldman Sachs Ms Anne Palmer, Member of the Public Mr Michel Rocard, Member of the European Parliament Professor Rose FBA, Centre for the Study of Public Policy, University of Aberdeen Ms Karen E Smith, Reader in International Relations, London School of Economics Stockholm Network Mr Hannes Swoboda MEP Teleki László Institute and Corvinus University, Hungary Mr Paul Tighe, University College Dublin (UCD) NOTE: References in the text of the report are as follows: (Q) refers to a question in oral evidence (p) refers to a page of written evidence
172 175 179 181
185 186 188 190
194 196 198 200 204
FOREWORDWhat this Report is about ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Successive rounds of enlargement have increased the number of countries in the European Union from an original six to 25 (and 27 once Bulgaria and Romania have joined in January 2007). On balance, evidence shows that the Union has coped well with its growing membership. The 2004 enlargement in particular has brought benefits to all members; the prospect and process of accession helped to transform the Central and Eastern European countries into liberal economies and pluralist democracies. Many countries would like to follow the newest Member States into the EU. Croatia and Turkey started accession negotiations in 2005, Macedonia was given formal candidate status, and the EU has agreed to give an accession perspective to Albania, Bosnia, Macedonia and Serbia / Kosovo. Some States, formerly part of the Soviet Union, such as Moldova and Ukraine, have also expressed an interest in one day joining the EU. In this report the Committee evaluates the impact of previous enlargements; looks at current attitudes towards further enlargement; considers the concept of absorption capacity and the debate concerning the borders of Europe; takes a detailed look at candidates and potential candidates for membership and considers possible alternatives to enlargement and the probable costs of not enlarging. We conclude that that there is a sharp contrast between public perceptions about the impact of the last round of enlargement and the assessment of it by most experts. The enlargement has not led to institutional gridlock and the economic impact of enlargement on both the EU-15 and the new Member States has been positive. We consider the debate about absorption capacity to be unhelpful, and indeed harmful, since the term is inherently vague and is interpreted by many in the candidate countries as an excuse for closing the Unions doors. Similarly, we believe that it would be politically undesirable for the EU to attempt to define its final boundaries and also that it would be a mistake for the EU to impose an artificial pause on enlargement. Whilst we believe that the idea of a core Europe of a fixed group of countries is unlikely to receive much support, we think that the increasing use of variable geometry and enhanced co-operation in a further enlarged Union is both inevitable and desirable. We conclude that a larger EU will need institutional change and more efficient decision-making procedures. Importantly, it will also require a rebalancing of the respective representation of large and small countries. We urge Member States to keep their commitment to offer full membership to both Turkey and the countries of the Western Balkans if and when they are ready to assume the obligations of membership. We do not find the alternatives that have been canvassed, such as privileged partnership, either viable or desirable. We further recommend that the EU needs to develop an attractive and strengthened neighbourhood policy for those countries that do not have the immediate, or, in some cases, even longer term, prospect of full membership.
Further Enlargement of the European Union: threat or opportunity?
CHAPTER 1: SETTING THE SCENE On May 1stthe European Union, bringing the number2004, ten countries joined of Member States to 25. Bulgaria and Romania will follow suit on January 1st20071. Although in terms of the number of countries joining, this was the Unions biggest ever wave of accession, the east and southward enlargement has to be put into perspective. Successive previous rounds of enlargement had already led to changes in the nature of the European Community and, since 1992, the Union. The accession of Denmark, Ireland and the UK in 1973 increased the number of people in the EU more in proportion to the existing population than the 2004 enlargement.2accessions of the 1980s (Greece 1981, PortugalThe Mediterranean and Spain 1986) for the first time brought countries with much lower income levels and fragile democracies into what had hitherto been a relatively homogenous club. By comparison, the accession of Austria, Finland and Sweden in 1995 was relatively straightforward, not least since these countries economies were already integrated with the Union through the European Economic Area (EEA). The history of the EU, as well as the legal texts on which the EU is based, show that the process of enlargement has been an integral part of its development over the last 50 years. Progress towards political and economic integration within the Union has always made the Union more attractive for those countries outside. Successive rounds of enlargement, in turn, were accompanied by further steps towards policy co-operation and integration. In other words, widening and deepening have always proceeded in parallel. BOX 1 Enlargement in the EU Treaties The Treaty of Rome (Article 237) stated that any European State may apply to become a member of the Community. Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union (hereafter the EU Treaty) now provides: Any European State which respects the principles set out in Article 6(1) may apply to become a member of the Union. It shall address its application to the Council, which shall act unanimously after consulting the Commission and after receiving the assent of the European Parliament, which shall act by an absolute majority of its component members. The conditions of admission and the adjustments to the Treaties on which the Union is founded, which such admission entails, shall be the subject of an agreement between the Member States and the applicant State. This agreement shall be submitted for ratification by all the contracting States in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements.
1 more on the accession process of Bulgaria and Romania see 2006 Monitoring Report on the state of For preparedness for EU membership of Bulgaria and Romania (COM [2006] 549 final). 2 1973 enlargement added a total of 64 million people to the EECs 167 million people, an increase of The 33 per cent. By comparison, the 2004 enlargement brought 74 million people into the EU, which translates into a 20 per cent increase of the EU-15 (with 381 million people).
4. After the 2004 enlargement, both widening and deepening have been called into question. In mid-2005, French and Dutch voters rejected the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (hereafter the Constitutional Treaty) in national referendums, thus throwing into doubt the EUs ability to work effectively and drive integration forward. At the same time, public scepticism about future enlargements began to mount and this opposition was indeed one of the reasons cited by Dutch and French opponents of the Constitutional Treaty. 5. Many people in the old EU Member States think that the EU has not yet successfully digested the 2004 enlargement.3 They feel that the addition of the Central and Eastern European countries has changed the nature of the Union. There are fears amongst West European workers that the consequences of adding 4050 million low-cost workers to the EUs single market will be to lower wages in the EU-15. 6. Concerns about the future functioning of the Union and the impact of low-cost competition on labour markets are legitimate, and they matter greatly for the future of enlargement, not only because they set the tone of current enlargement debates, but also because France and Austria have promised to hold referendums on future accessions. 7.There is a sharp contrast between public perceptions (and some political rhetoric) about the impact of the last enlargement and the assessment of it by most experts. The policy-makers, commentators, economists and academics from whom we took evidence for this report almost unanimously agree that the 2004 enlargement has been a great success. 8. Enlargement is one of the EUs greatest achievements, both in terms of underpinning democracy and stability across the European continent and increasing the prosperity of all its citizens. However, the future of enlargement is increasingly in doubt. Politicians from some EU countries, as well as EU officials, insist that future enlargements will have to wait until the EU has regained its ability to consolidate internally and work more effectively.4 demands are often subsumed under the heading of Such absorption capacity. 9. Public opposition to further enlargement and the EUs burgeoning internal problems are being monitored with a degree of apprehension by those countries that are still hoping to join. Bulgaria and Romania have already signed their accession treaties and are on course to join the EU on January 1st2007. However, some experts warned that these two countries are not as well prepared for EU membership as previous candidates. The case of Bulgaria and Romania harbours lessons for future enlargements. 10. Croatia and Turkey started their accession negotiations in October 2005. Both countries have already made swift progress in screening their legal framework for EU compatibility and adopting parts of the EUs accumulated
3 Despite this, there are still more people in the EU who favour further enlargement than who oppose it, according to Eurobarometer polls. 4 example, on September 25 Forth Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said in Brussels: 2006 There is no formal decision but.. I think it would be unwise to bring in other member states apart from Bulgaria and Romania, which will be joining us soon, before we have sorted out the institutional question. Germanys Chancellor Angela Merkel said during a visit to Turkey on 5th 6 andth 2006: We October currently have adhesion discussions with Croatia and with Turkey, but we also know that, in the foreseeable future, we cant accept any other member states.
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