The European Union, which was previously known as the European Community is an institutional framework that began in 1951 between six countries with the intention of constructing a unified Europe. The European Union was created after World War II to economically and politically unite Europe so that another war among the European nations would not occur. The enlargement of the European Union is a historic opportunity to foster peace after generations of division and conflict. After fifty plus years and four waves of accessions there are now fifteen member countries. As a result, three hundred and seventy million people share common institutions and policies that have brought an unprecedented era of stability and prosperity to Western Europe.
The objective of the European Union is to promote economic and social progress; assert the European identity internationally; introduce European citizenship; develop an area of freedom, security and justice; and with continual emphasis on community that will add to the Union's strength, cohesion and influence in the world.
There are five institutions involved that manage the European Union: the European Parliament, elected by the people of the member states; the Council representing the governments of the member states; the Commission made up of the executive and the body who has the right to initiate legislation; the Court of Justice and the Court of Auditors who is responsible for auditing the accounts.
At the Luxembourg summit in 1997, the European Union announced a two-tier proposal for the enlargement of the European Union where it could potentially allow thirteen new eastern European countries to enter the European Union. The enlargement of the "European Union is an excellent opportunity to extend stability and prosperity to new members through peaceful measures" (http://europa.eu.int/comm/enlargement/). This growth is advantageous to its members given the number of potential candidates, the geographical...