Enlarging the EU will make Europe more secure, more properous and more effective. Here’s how:
- More prosperity – Independent research suggests that enlargement could increase EU GDP by 11 billion euros a year, UK GDP by £1.75 billion a year and add 1.5% a year to the candidates’ GDP. This means more jobs and prosperity. Other research estimates that enlargement will create over 300,000 new jobs in current EU Member States and around 2 million new jobs in the candidates.
- Opportunities for consumers – Enlargement will mean access to a wider range of goods and services – all meeting EU health and safety standards – and at lower prices. It will also open up new opportunities to travel, live and work anywhere in Europe.
- More trade – European companies will benefit from access to the largest single market for trade and investment in the world. This market contains almost 450 million consumers - around 100 million more before – and be larger than the USA and Japan combined.
- The fight against terrorism – The EU’s latest anti-terrorist measures, such as the European arrest warrant, common definition of terrorism and increased intelligence sharing, will be more effective when they apply to an enlarged EU of 27 rather than just to the current 15 Member States.
- Combating international crime – Enlargement will boost co-operation between present and future Member States on tackling organised crime, drug trafficking and people smuggling. Candidates are bringing their police forces and border controls up to EU standards and will participate in EU anti-crime institutions, such as Europol.
- Enhanced stability and security – The prospect of enlargement has already made a real difference to the political stability and international security in Central and Eastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean.
- A cleaner environment – Candidates are making major improvements in air and water quality to meet EU standards. This should reduce cross-border pollution.
- A louder voice in the world – With a population of 450 million, the EU would be bigger than the USA and Russia combined, thereby increasing its weight in international negotiations.
- Democracy and human rights – New EU members will have to demonstrate respect for human rights and minorities. Being a democratic country is a requirement to join the EU.
- Motor of EU reform – Enlargement prompted the Agenda 2000 package of internal policy reforms agreed at the Berlin European Council in 1999, and the institutional reforms agreed at the Nice European Council in December 2000. It will continue to provide pressure for further reform to improve the effectiveness and transparency of the EU.
- Richard E. Baldwin, Joseph F. Francois and Richard Portes: "The Costs and Benefits of Eastern Enlargement: The Impact on the EU and Central Europe" – Centre for Economic Policy Research,1997
- H. Grabbe: "Profiting from EU Enlargement" – CER Pamphlet, 2001