Evaluate the likely changes to the structure of the principle EU institutions due to enlargement"

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Rachel Sloan

HNC Social Science

EU Institutions


“Evaluate the likely changes to the structure of the principle EU institutions due to enlargement”

The Treaty of Nice was adopted by the European Council in order to adjust the two founding treaties of the European Union, the Maastricht treaty, which introduced the three pillar structure setting the European Union and the Treaty of Rome, which established the European Economic Community. The treaty’s main purpose was to try and fix the institutional problems, resulting from enlargement, this was supposed to be addressed at the Amsterdam Inter-Governmental Conference (IGC), but the Treaty of Amsterdam did not solve the Enlargement difficulties. The treaty allowed the European Parliament to increase the amount of seats, as the Amsterdam treaty only allowed 732 and due to enlargement more were required. Also due to Enlargement the number of Commissioners in countries, were being reduced as they had to be spread out in order to cover all countries, this was another part of the Nice Treaty.

However the treaty of Nice was considered inadequate as id failed to deal with the problem of Enlargement, this lead to the development of the European Convention, which led to a new Inter-Governmental Conference in 2004. The commission and the European Parliament were disappointed by the IGC and did not take on many of the proposals. The European Parliament was against the Treaty and therefore many member states did not offer their support, the Italian Parliament said they would not “ratify” without the Parliaments support, however in the end the treaty was passed by the Parliament.

At the development of the European Union in 1952 it only had 6 member states, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Germany and the Netherlands. It was always a likelihood that membership would grow and it did, today there are twenty-five member states, enlargement is an important part of the European union as there are two characteristics that make the European Union unique. One is that it has an open membership and second that it has a continuously changing border, these would show that the European Union is in fact “an experiment in motion” as it is unusual that states hold an enlargement clause in their constitution. Enlargement is held in the EU treaties and therefore is welcomed by the EU. The Amsterdam treaty for example clearly welcomes others to join and also leaves the future borders or the EU unspecified.

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The first enlargement occurred in 1973 when Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom joined, by 1995 an additional 6 countries had joined the original 6 taking the EU member countries to 15. The enlargement in 2004 was the largest to date with another 10 countries joining bringing the total up to 25 member states. Another two countries, Romania and Bulgaria are to join in 2007 taking the EU up to its highest yet 27 member states. Although the membership is climbing there are different reasons as to why they join it was not under one cause, as some chose to ...

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