After the accession of Bulgaria and Romania: ending the contradiction between widening and deepening

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

This Fondation Robert Schuman policy paper argues that enlargement contributes to further integration by allowing the EU to play a greater role on the international scene.

The authors, Thierry Chopin and Lukas Macek, state that with the accession of Bulgaria and Romania on 1 January 2007, the EU has completed its controversial fifth round of enlargement, which is partly held responsible for the present EU situation. 

However, it is argued that the enlarged spectrum of national interests that comes with the latest round of enlargement does not stop the EU from achieving some important compromises. The contradiction between widening and deepening needs to be ended, no matter what the institutional, socio-economic and strategic challenges of enlargement. 

Moreover, the authors suggest that enlarging the EU to 27 countries requires a clear definition of the Union’s geographical limits and a clarification of the European project itself, as well as its geopolitical role on the international scene.

This leads to the conclusion that the gradual reunification of the continent helps to further integration as it allows the EU to play a greater role on the global stage.

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