Germany and the enlargement of the EU - An impact analysis

Term Paper 2004 11 Pages

Business economics - Economic Policy


Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Political implications

3. Security implications

4. Environmental implications

5. Economical implications

6. Conclusion


1. Introduction

For many centuries Europe was torn by the antagonism of power. During the world wars a united Europe seemed like an inconceivable illusion. But utopia became reality. Now, 15 years after the fall of the Berliner wall Eastern countries are joining the European Union. The EU enlargement on 1 May could be the beginning of a modern fairy tale.

On this day the European Union opened its doors to another 75 million people from the 10 new member states of southern Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. Never before in its long history has Europe been more united than nowadays. (Warren, 2004) With a total population of approximately 450 million people the EU has created the world`s largest single market which will have a enormous impact on the world market as well as on the markets of the old member states. (MDR, 2004)

The EU enlargement obviously impacts the established political order of the EU, however it is now - despite doubtlessly existent risks – broadly seen as a great chance in a political, economical and also very much in a cultural way. There has been a big discussion involving all different levels of society and politics about where this is going – and where it will all end. (Wallendorf, 2004)

This work will focus on Germany as an old member of the European Union and examine the extent to which the benefits of the 2004 enlargement outweigh the disadvantages. Due to the word limitation the major issues will be mentioned but the attention will focus more on the implication for the German economy, although the issues sometimes interact each other it is not always possible to separate them. The agriculture sector will be left out of consideration. The pictures used in this report are taken from the official homepage of the German Government and the European Commission.

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2. Political implications

It is in the interest of the EU to extend political stability and security on wide parts of Europe and therefore support the young democracies in the new member states, especially those from East Europe. Germany especially, with its former east borders this is a major concern. The new members will do their stint regarding political and economical stability and European integration. Moreover they will assume responsibility for security and peace in Europe. Values like democracy, human rights, protection of minorities and the rule of law are now binding in all 25 EU member states. (MDR, 2004 / European Commission, 2004)

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Expansion to 25 members also highlights the need to restructure the institutions of the EU, which were designed for six. Enlargement was therefore a big reason behind the EU's proposed new constitution. Until now different national interests provides obstacles for an agreement. The German government has (with the French government) supported the proposal from 2014 to reduce the total number of commissioners to 15 or 18. They argue that a commission with 25 members will be too ponderous and ineffective. The reduction of the Commission, which should pass the meeting of the EU heads of government in June 2004, means that not all members from 2014 will have their own commissioner. Although there were some members who favoured the “one commissioner per member”-idea a greater opposition is not expected for the vote. The German government assists the compromise proposal that countries which actually set no commissioners, should instead be able to send a repsentative without right to vote. (Die Bundesregierung, 2004 / Auswärtiges Amt, 2004)

Still more controversial is the so called “double majority” principle which shall replace the so far valid “unanimity” principle for future EU resolutions. Double majority means that for council of minister decisions the necessary majority-of-votes must at least repsent 50% of the member states and 60% of the population. (Die Bundesregierung, 2004)

The German government announced its support for the principle of “double majority” while Poland, for example, wanted to keep the “unanimity” principle which was introduced in the Treaty of Nice. Germany argues that this would mean that then Poland would have with 27 votes nearly as much as the big countries of Germany, France and Italy with 29 although their total population is just half of them. Especially under the viewpoint that it has become more difficult to achieve common goals the Germans consider a new voting principle as being absolutely necessary for the EU. In the German view the outcome of the next meeting must endure substantiality for a long time especially in respect of the enlargement. (Die Bundesregierung, 2004)

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Furthermore it could be argued that the EU now needs to define its final boundaries for the EU to out-fold all its vitality. People’s opinions about the chances and risks of further EU enlargement still differ a lot. So has for example Silvio Berlusconi, head of Italian government and former chairman of the EU council suggested Russia and Israel as well as Turkey to join the EU. The idea of joining the EU has brought a new dynamic into the politics of perspective “joiners”. So has for example Turkey, which is considered to be a serious EU candidate for the next planned EU enlargement in 2007 despite heavily suffering from big confrontations with the conservative government, which have gone through major changes for the last three years. However if Turkey is already meeting the Copenhagen criteria it will not be clear until the end of next year, which was set as a time limit. (The Economist, 2004)

The dimensions of the European Union are fascinating already. The single European market is already equal to the American one; European power of export is even higher.

“It should not be forgotten that the bigger Europe gets, the stronger centrifugal forces will be”, warned Elmar Brok, a member of the German Bundestag and repsentative of the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party and he suggests to carefully consider how much further the EU enlargement should be driven.

3. Security implications

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According to the latest Europol report organised crime has risen to as many as 4000 criminal gangs counting 40.000 members. However since boarders will continue to be controlled for another two years the EU enlargement means more chances than risks. Europol can now easier focus actively on the new entrants. Although there exists the fear of more crime due to open East boarders a more effective cooperation between German police forces and them from the new east member states will strengthen the efforts against organized and cross border crime. When the boarders will be open the ordering states will have fulfilled the criteria of Schengen which is a major point for an effective common fight against terrorism, drug crime and slave trade. (Bundesministerium des Inneren, 2004)



ISBN (eBook)
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522 KB
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Institution / College
Leeds Metropolitan University
2,3 (B)
Germany Policy Business



Title: Germany and the enlargement of the EU - An impact analysis