Peer response #1
Question #3: Why are many countries in Eastern Europe (and other bordering regions) enthusiastic about joining the EU? Take a look at the EU website and list a few countries that have begun the EU ascension process. Do you think that this is wise for the original EU members to accept them?
The EU is a union made up of twenty-seven European states whose purpose is to promote peace, maintain well-being of constituents, establish and protect freedom, security, and justice. It is an organization that was established November 1, 1993 as a direct response to many of the conflicts Europe constantly faced. It was designed as a building rester for three important ‘pillars’. The first pillar was the original EC, which was European Community, and was an entity with political institutions, each one having specific powers and responsibilities to see through. The next pillar was intergovernmental co-operation on foreign and security policy, and the third pillar was co-operation on judicial and home affairs. These three were the foundation for the European Unions founding and establishment.
One thing to note about the EU is its ever-changing nature; it is an organization that is constantly moving alongside time progression. Many states have become apart of the union since the early 2000’s such as Bulgaria and Romania in 2007, and Iceland in 2009. While this continued integration and enlargement of the union has its benefits, it is understood that “the wider the range of countries and cultural traditions that are brought within the Union, the harder it will be to create a shared identity” (Gallagher, Laver, & Mair, 2011, p.152). Many countries are enthusiastic about joining the EU because of its many advantages. These include limited membership in an organization that is stable, secure, and democratic, improved GDP, more jobs along with higher wages/pensions, and a growing domestic demand and internal market. Other advantages include free movement of labour, goods, and services, as well as access to a plethora of consumers. The EU improves the economy, quality of life, and more to countries that are a part of it.
Countries that have begun the ascension process are Albania, the Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. These countries are currently candidates in which 35 chapters are being negotiated one at a time. I do think that it is wise for the original EU members to accept them. It would lead to better economical standing for the whole of Europe as opposed to just a few select countries. It would invoke a stronger sense of unity and peace within Europe that results in less conflict and more efficiency. All countries in the union see membership as a good thing, most of which agreeing the country had benefited. I believe that with this in mind, it is wise for the original EU members to continue accepting others in order to promote more unanimity.
Gallagher, Michael, Laver, Michael, and Mair, Peter. 2011. Representative Government in Modern Europe (5th Edition). New York: McGraw Hill.
Peer response #2
Question #3- Why are many countries in Eastern Europe (and other bordering regions) enthusiastic about joining the EU? Take a look at the EU website and list a few countries that have begun the EU ascension process. Do you think that this is wise for the original EU members to accept them?
Following World War II and after the inception of the European Union (EU), many Eastern European countries were eager to join the EU. Many nations in Central and Eastern Europe had recently separated themselves from dictatorships and wished to strengthen their democratic institutions. This included the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland among many others. They believed that by becoming part of the European integration process they would avoid falling back into Russian power. Although for many prior years, the continent of Europe has been dealing with war between neighboring states or countries. Following WWII, allies felt it was important to try to instill a sense of cooperation within neighboring European countries in an attempt to diffuse dangerous rivalries and dampen bitter resentments. Moreover, allies feared that fascist and communist regimes would again take hold of Europe.The formation of the EU was in direct response to these issues.
There are many valid reasons why Eastern European nations wanted to ally themselves with the countries that have joined the EU. First, they wanted to share a feeling of security knowing that they will not have to deal with more war or invasion on their home soil. Even if it isn’t explicitly stated in any of the treaties, the EU’s goal is to achieve equality of civil and social rights, living and working circumstances, opportunities, and income throughout the Union. Many of the European people recognize this goal as building a “Social Europe” or a “People’s Europe.” This was another incentive for countries to want to join the EU. Additionally, the EU’s decision-making process was viewed as having a stabilizing effect on their member’s states since the party leadership would typically become stronger. Another incentive to join the EU was The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The CAP was created to provide both agricultural income and a sufficient supply of food in Europe, which by the 1970s, had earned a reputation for producing large surpluses. Eastern European countries who had been plagued by food shortages were eager to be part of a union which practically eradicated starvation.
It is difficult to know if accepting new incoming countries into the EU is beneficial to them. One would argue that ensuring cooperation throughout European countries is advantageous to all. Although this may appear to be a benefit, the higher the number of members, the more difficult it is to move forward with deeper integration. It is common knowledge that bigger is not always better. More countries coming into the EU often means more problems. The original members of the UE were able to effectively communicate with only two languages, French and German, and now with the addition of more countries they now have to become more familiar with other languages. So basically there is no universal language in the EU, or a collective mass media, both of which would significantly aid the creation of a shared identity. Shared identity is something theEU has always strived for but has never been able to attain. Another drawback to continuing to enlarge the EU is that many of the current members do not want to expand the EU. If the Eu continues to accept more countries it may anger its citizens, thereby creating more tensions and further driving a wedge among its members. At the end of the day, when it comes to governing enlargement and integration are not the most simple things to do especially when you are trying to integrate an entire continent since the two concepts seem to be at odds with one another. Therefore, I believe it would be wiser if the EU members declined entry to some of the countries seeking admission to the EU.