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Essay: The concept of European Enlargement

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  • Published: 21 September 2015*
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Since the establishment of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1952, economic, social, and political integration between the nation states has commenced and the European Union has expanded extensively. The merging of the institutions of the ECSC, the European Economic Community (EEC), and the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC) in 1967 was the primary EU reform. At the beginning, there were six members in EEC, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Italy, and the Netherlands. Enlargement and integration have been the EU`s successful policy and now the EU has 27 member states. However, countries have to conform the Copenhagen criteria which drawn up in 1993 in order to become a member of the EU. According to the criteria, members have to meet a certain socioeconomic criteria, respect human rights, preserve liberty, and democracy, (Massai, 2011). In the case of Turkey, stated official criteria do not provide a lucid explanation for the accession.
‘The Union reaffirms its commitment that if the European Council decides in December 2004, on the basis of a report and recommendation from the Commission, that Turkey fulfills the Copenhagen political criteria, the EU will open accession negotiations with Turkey without delay.’ http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/archives/pdf/key_documents/2004/issues_paper_en.pdf
Analysis of EU-Turkey Relations in historical perspective
Turkey’s accession negotiations have been continuing for a long time. Relations between Turkey and the EU began in 1959 with Turkey`s application for association to the EU. The application resulted in the Ankara Association Agreement in1963, in the progressive establishment of a customs union between the EU and Turkey by 1995 at the latest. According to customs union, Turkey had to decrease import tariffs on European imports. The customs union was regarded as a key step for the full membership of the EU, but the date was not specified. The EU granted Turkey protective tariffs and financial assistance at the first stage, however, mutual reductions in tariffs were postponed in 1970 due to political and economic conditions of Turkey. In 1987, Turkey applied for the full membership of the EU and gained status as a candidate at the 1999 Helsinki Council submit. Then, the EU adopted Accession Partnership with Turkey, which means they are working together to enable Turkey to meet the criteria of acquis communautaire, the legal rules and regulations for the EU. Nevertheless, in contrast to other candidate countries, there is no accession timetable for Turkey, (Togan, 2009).
The possible consequences of the accession of Turkey to the EU
Turkey’s accession to the EU would be challenging for both the EU and Turkey. Turkey’s accession will provide good opportunities for both, if it is well managed. It may be clearly stated that the geopolitical dimension of Turkey is crucial for Europe as it has strategic importance. With regard to the accession of Turkey, the European Union would take a chance to control its external borders as well as acting beyond them, (Emerson, Tocci 2004) and this is undoubtfully one of the most important challenges of the accession. However, the accession of Turkey would be much more different from the previous enlargements with regard to its population, size, economy, security, military, cultural and religious aspects, (Commission of the European Communities, 2004)
When the President of the European Commission, Jos?? Manuel Dur??o Barroso visited Turkey in April 2008, he emphasized the importance of Turkey by saying:
Forty years ago, the French President General de Gaulle said:”Here is Turkey, master of the Straits’guardian of several of the doors through which, in this region of the world, goes peace, through which can go war, and, as a consequence, holder of great and fruitful opportunities, but also exposed to the worst possibilities”
http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=SPEECH/08/188&format=HTML&aged=1&lang
uage=EN&guiLanguage=en
In his statement, Barosso indicates that Turkey’s value for Europe has significantly increased, especially in aspects of military, economic, and political.
Foreign Policy Dimension: Considering Turkey’s relations with its neighbors, it can be concluded that Turkey’s accession would bring positive contributions to the foreign policy of the EU. It is stated that the geographic position of the Balkans is important for both Turkey and the EU. In terms of opportunities, membership of Turkey provides a chance for the EU to improve its policies towards the Balkans, the Mediterranean regions, the Middle East, and the Caucasus. The membership would potentially enhance cooperation south-eastern periphery such as Iran, Iraq, and Syria as well as South-Caucaus. Moreover, the EU’s Mediterranean population would be 40% with the accession of Turkey and this increase the possibility of greater EU involvement in the south. Secondly,

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