Enlargement of the European Union


When the EEC was founded as a six member club in the 1950s nobody knew that it would grow into a 27 member union that we see today. Since the beginnings, the community has been constantly growing and today new countries are waiting to get in.

The biggest enlargement in history took place in 2004. One and a half decades after the collapse of communist eastern Europe eight of the former states joined the EU. In 2007 Bulgaria and Romania became the youngest members and Croatia and Macedonia are in line to become members as well.

Opinion polls say that Europeans are feeling sceptical about letting new countries into the EU. Some say there are many reasons against a bigger union:

  • It could lead to more immigration of people from eastern to western European countries.
  • Workers from poorer countries will take over the badly paid jobs in richer countries, making more citizens there unemployed.
  • Organized crime may increase.
  • Companies may move to countries where labour costs are much lower.
  • The richer states of the EU will have to pay more money to the poorer ones to get their economy running
  • If the EU gets too big it will be impossible to achieve integration.
  • With so many new members the EU will not be able to agree on anything.


Supporters of enlargement say that it is important to bring Europe back together after 50 years of Cold War.

  • Immigration may help to speed up growth.
  • Cheaper labour is good for economies of the richer countries.
  • As time goes on eastern European countries will become as rich as the ones in the west.


Candidate countries of the European Union



The European Union- Table of Contents


The European Union- Exercises


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Related Topics


  • achieve = to do what you want to
  • agree = to have the same opinion as someone else
  • citizen = a person who lives in a country and has rights there
  • collapse = if something breaks down or stops existing
  • community = here: group of countries that have the same interests
  • constantly = always
  • decade = ten years
  • economy = the buying and selling of products in a country
  • enlargement = if something becomes bigger
  • former = earlier
  • found - founded = to start something new
  • growth = expansion, how something gets bigger
  • in line = here : waiting
  • increase = to go up
  • labour = work
  • opinion polls = to ask many people what they think about something
  • sceptical = you are not sure if you should believe what other people tell you
  • speed up = to make something faster
  • supporter = a person who is for something
  • unemployed = without a job