Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Oh, in addition, the "new" EU member states which are not from the former Soviet bloc are UK client states, Malta and Cyprus.

But there is more behind the espansion to the East than just US inducement. There was a very real fear that, if the new democracies in Central and Eastern Europe were not "validated" by achieving EU and NATO membership (and, here, Atlanticists were successful in making people believe the couldn't have one without the other),  involution and a rise of authoritarian and populist politics would result. Whether or not that's true, it's the way it was perceived across Europe, both East and West.

IMHO only Slovenia and the Czech Republic were ready for accession in 2004, politically and economically. But you couldn't have CZ without Slovakia, Poland and Hungary. The Baltic states were probably ok economically but there are serious unsolved human rghts issues surrounding their large Russian populations, and now the EU "owns" the problem. They and Cyprus show that the idea that the EU could more effectively deal with problems in member states than in candidate states is a delusion. And the same delusion has been applied to Romania and Bulgaria with their "conditional" accession this year (supposedly they could be suspended after 1 year, but that's exceedingly unlikely). Finally, Malta is a microstate island nation, more catholic (read: socially backwards) even than Spain, Italy, Ireland or Poland, and smaller than Luxembourg, and I question the wisdom of effectively giving them veto power over key EU developments.

The last 15 years of EU leadership have given us the "growth" of the EU and the constitution fiasco. Not much to be happy about.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 17th, 2007 at 04:17:23 PM EST
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