Topic: Analyse the main advantages and disadvantages of European Union enlargement for a) existing members and b) for applicant countries.
In 2004 we will see the biggest enlargement in the history of the EU. All previous enlargements have significantly impacted on the regional focus of the EU's external policies. The countries joining the EU in 2004 are Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia and will expand the European Union from currently 15 members to 25.
The question is, whether this enlargement will be beneficial or not. Let us analyse what the main advantages and disadvantages of the EU enlargement could be.
Supporters of enlargement say the process represents a historic opportunity to unite Europe peacefully after generations of division and conflict. They say it will extend the stability and prosperity of current member states to a wider group of countries, and will consolidate the political and economic transition that has been taking place in Central and Eastern Europe since 1989.
It is also argued that enlargement will create the biggest single market in the world, boosting investment and job creation, while increasing the influence of the EU in the wider world.
Accession countries see membership to the EU as a significant economic benefit, because they will be part of a European single market. Being a member of the single market means free trade among all members and therefore the accession countries will get products from EU countries cheaper than before (P instead of P-EU), as they do not have to pay the tariff anymore and are also able to increase their exports to other EU countries. (Graph below)
Furthermore there is the advantage of free movement of capital. This brings potential of huge inflow of foreign direct investments, as the accession countries have significantly...