For the first time ever, the EU is shrinking. Since the 1957 Treaty of Rome, “ever closer union” has gone hand-in-hand with ever larger union. From an initial club of six members, the ranks of the European community have swelled to include 28 states. The prospective loss of the UK, however, will see that number fall for the first time.
The irony is that the UK has traditionally been among the Member States pushing hardest for EU enlargement. With the UK gone, will the EU’s appetite for expansion abate? The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has declared that “no further enlargement will take place” until at least 2020… but could the moratorium on new members extend even past that date?
Enlargement is certainly politically controversial, but hostility is not uniform across the bloc. In general, older Member States are much more opposed to seeing enlargement continue, whereas newer Member States are more open to expansion. In Germany and Austria, for example, roughly 70% of people say they are opposed to enlargement, whereas in Romania and Poland that number is less than 30%.
What do our readers think? We had a comment sent in from Neofytos on our ‘Suggest a Debate’ page, asking whether neighbouring countries in the Western Balkans should join the European Union. And, if they do join, is that where enlargement should end?
Does EU enlargement still make sense? We asked Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from all sides of the political spectrum to stake out their positions on this question, and it’s up to YOU to vote for the policies you favour. See what the different MEPs have to say, then vote at the bottom of this debate for the one you most agree with! Take part in the vote below and tell us who you support in the European Parliament!
Ignazio Corrao (EFDD), Member of the European Parliament:
Curious to know more about EU enlargement? We’ve put together some facts and figures in the infographic below (click for a bigger version).
IMAGE CREDIT: CC / Flickr – neptunauta
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