Introduction to European Union law
Introduction to European Union law

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Introduction to European Union law

6.1 Joining the EU

The EU still looks set to expand. Some Soviet bloc countries believed that by joining the EU they were helping to consolidate the rise of democracy following the collapse of the Iron Curtain. Other former Soviet bloc countries, such as Ukraine, see membership of the EU, or at least close association with it, as a bulwark against emerging Russian expansionism. There are negotiations going on with the Balkan countries following the disintegration of Yugoslavia and the civil wars of the 1990s. The immigration crisis is revitalising negotiations with Turkey whose relationship with the EU is shifting constantly.

Activity 7 Growth of the EU 1957–2016

Timing: You should allow yourself 10 minutes to do this activity.

Use your knowledge of EU history to match each country with its date of accession or relevant statement.

Using the following two lists, match each numbered item with the correct letter.

  1. Accession: 1973

  2. Original member state

  3. Accession: 1995

  4. Accession: 2004

  5. Voted not to join

  6. Candidate country

  • a.Norway

  • b.Hungary

  • c.Sweden

  • d.Denmark

  • e.The Netherlands

  • f.Serbia

The correct answers are:
  • 1 = d
  • 2 = e
  • 3 = c
  • 4 = b
  • 5 = a
  • 6 = f

Comment

Norway has twice signed an Accession Treaty with a view to joining, first in 1973 and then in 1995. However, on both occasions the Norwegian people voted against joining in a referendum. Norway is a member of the EEA and so takes part in the single market.

Croatia, the most recent EU member state, joined on 1 July 2013.

Figure 8 Countries of the EU

Candidate countries are those that are currently in accession negotiations with the EU. Potential candidate countries are those which have applied but are still working towards satisfying the accession conditions. Once the conditions have been satisfied, accession negotiations may be opened, at which point they will become candidate countries.

Activity 8 Accession terms

Timing: You should allow yourself 5 minutes to do this activity.

Using the EU website [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] , summarise what the following statement means:

  • An acceding state must adopt the acquis communautaire.
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Comment

Put simply, it means that once an applicant country meets the conditions for membership, it must implement EU rules and Regulations in all areas.

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