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Strengths And Weaknesses Of The European Union

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When the European Union grew in size to encompass twenty-five member countries in the month of May 2004, it was a historic and significant moment in history. It not only symbolized the unification of Europe after more than fifty years of fighting and divisions, but it also succeeded in the establishment of a new political order in the history of the world, that is based on a total set of common values and an intense desire on the part of the leaders to create a sense of security and peace among the people of the world. Also known as the 'Fifth Enlargement', the event is acknowledged as one of the largest events in the European Union, and continues after May 1 2004 to include Bulgarian as well as Roman accessions, that will supposedly take place in the year 2007. The European Council will address the question of whether Turkey will be ready to start negotiations to accession at the end of the year 2004. Croatia was accepted and acknowledged as a 'Candidate Country' on June 18 2004 by the European Council, while it was in March 2004 that the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, also known as FYROM, had already applied for membership to the EU. (Enlargement)

The previous enlargements had occurred in these years: in 1973 with Denmark, Ireland, the United Kingdom, in the year 1981 with Greece, in the year 1986 with Spain and Portugal, and in the year 1995 with Austria, Finland and Sweden. It was after the unification of the whole of Europe after the signing of the European Union statement by mutual consent that the United States and the Western Alliance feels secure and safe in that security threats to the US and the Western Alliance have been reduced. This is because of the simple fact that the internal conflicts that have been raging in Europe have been reduced, and Europe is now unified, and there is now world peace.

One of the advantages of the EU is that both the democratic system of the state and also the peace within the countries would be maintained, and there would be an increase in safety. (Joining European Union, List of Benefits (II)) It also makes sure that the democratic processes that have been started by the enlargement of the EU in Central Europe and Eastern Europe will be irreversible; on account of the simple fact that by emphasizing on political stability and security in the East and the South, the EU not only protects and safeguards its own interests but also those of the USA. When a country negotiates for accession into the EU, one of the necessary prerequisites is that all manner of internal disputes and tensions must be solved beforehand. (Enlargement)

These include border conflicts, ethnic disputes and others that were longstanding security threats to Central and Eastern Europe. When these issues are resolved to adapt more acceptable policies on the treatment of minorities, the strategic interests of North America as well as those of Europe would be served. It will now become easier and more viable for the USA to fight, with the co-operation of Europe, for the betterment of the several regional as well as global issues of mutual concern, such as the stabilization of the Balkans and the Caucasus, and the fight against the instability found in the Middle East and the effective measures to be taken in dealing with the problem of terrorism and of International crimes.

When Europe engages in partnership with the US through the EU; then these fights can be tackled in a better and more efficient manner which would benefit all. Another advantage of the EU is that Trade can now be conducted with the southern neighbors of Europe because of the extension of borders caused by the EU. The new policy put forth by the EU states that 'Wider Europe' would encompass all the countries that have either land or sea borders with the EU 25, and these countries must all pledge to work together in a spirit of harmony in order to create a virtual zone of prosperity and a 'friendly neighborhood' wherein all the countries of the EU enjoy a closeness and a completely peaceful and co-operative sort of relationship with each other. It is hoped that this will be achieved during the upcoming decade, when the EU 25 will become a 'ring of friends'. (Enlargement)

It is even hoped that there will be a certain amount of 'cultural bonding' because of the fact that it is now possible for a person to move around freely from one country to another within the member countries of the EU, and find a job in another country, and trade with the other freely. Transfer of goods will become freer, transfer of capital would become freer, services could be offered freely, and the ultimate result would be that of the unification of the economic laws of the EU countries. When one European market opens up to trade with another European market, the result would be that the competition would become healthier, and eventually, the prices of the products being offered would be lowered. While hyperinflation and instability are common factors of a monetary market anywhere in the world, it is hoped that the Euro form of currency would in fact stabilize the fluctuations and the inflation levels of the money market, and in banks and savings accounts in the EU25.

Not only equipment but also the efficiency of the money market would be greatly improved, and this would mean without doubt that the citizens of these countries would feel more secure and safe, they would enjoy the benefit of healthier job lives, and also in their general health and well being, and in their education and in the very quality of their life. This is because, basically, the higher EU countries would help the lower EU countries. The children of those persons who are employed abroad would be able to continue their schooling regionally, and these children would benefit enormously by learning about the cultures and traditions of the other parts of the world in which they live. (Joining European Union, List of Benefits (II))

As is natural, there have been quite a few criticisms leveled against the European Union. One reason stated is that within the EU, there is the fact to be remembered that each member state has its own financial system and also its



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