Europe comprises twenty-seven countries, which are:
• Founders countries (1952): Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and Netherlands
• 1973: Ireland, Denmark and the UK.
• 1981: Greece.
• 1986: Spain and Portugal.
• 1995: Austria, Finland and Sweden.
• 2004: Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.
• 2007: Bulgaria and Romania.
• Other countries: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus.
• Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Monaco, Norway, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland, Ukraine and the State of Vatican City.
• Candidate Countries to join the EU: Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Montenegro, Turkey.
Any European country that respects liberty, democracy, law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, can apply to join the EU. Those requirements were set out in the Treaty on European Union (Article 6, Article 49)
According to the so-called “Copenhagen criteria”, introduced in December 1993 in Copenhagen by the European Council, all candidate must have:
– Stable institutions that can guarantee democracy, the performance of law, human rights and respect of minorities.
– A stable market economy that can cope with competitive pressure and market forces within the Union.
– The ability to assume the obligations imposed by the Union and, the capability to subscribe to the political, economical and monetary union objectives.
Madrid’s European Council sets that any candidate must be able to enforce the rules and procedures of theUnion. They also must create accurate conditions for their integration through the adjustment of their administrative structures.
accessed on: 20 – 12 – 2011
Written by Carolina Aznar