Which countries should join the European Union?Join the EU - it is the less-bad choice. And then help fix the Union.
As I European I like two things about "Europe" - that it has championed Liberal Democracy and that has created a common market that allows countries of all sizes to reap its benefits.
I would love to see countries that appreciate the same values join in - Ukraine, Georgia, the Western Balkans and Turkey. All countries however they should prove that they are committed the values that EU countries are supposed to share. There should be more transparent conditions to joining and it shouldn't require the permission of all previous members to allow a new country in. I would like to have referendums on joining the EU - and the possibility of leaving.
And countries that get more autocratic - like Hungary, which has turned into a Fidesz single-party state, should be sanctioned or even expelled unless they change their ways. Perhaps a constitutional court must be created or the ECJ must start taking the functions of one.
The EU has some huge problems - mainly that the ruling government (the Commission) is not directly elected and that the Euro has been a terrible disaster. I would understand if a relatively well-off country might avoid the EU for a while. If a country is joining it is better that it opts-out of the Euro until it is fixed.
The EU unfortunately seems to be ruled by politicians who don't believe that the people can make the right choices and must be ruled by elites - 'technocrats'. Until there is more direct representation this will continue to be the case.
However it is still a good idea to join the EU for the potential members - the common market can be a boon to more economically isolated countries and the political environment pulls politicians towards the Brussels lobbyists and away from Russian sponsored corruption and populism politics. The Brussels lobby-ism is a much lesser evil.
I'm a fan of all of Europe one day entering the EU, except maybe Russia.† I would also include Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia as options, with Turkey being the strongest contender of the final four.
I'm also of the opinion that all of non-Russia Europe avec Turkey will end up being in the EU one day. It's just too damned attractive.
Does this mean it should happen now? Probably not. The EU has a lot of work ahead of it. But, let's clear the air a little on these issues:
ONE-- the world is not coming to an end right now. Humanity (and the EU) do NOT have an expiration date stamped on their heads. Europe is one of those places that is just "too big to fail". There will be a massive adjustment period, but we aren't living at the end of history.
TWO-- the EU isn't done growing (as in "maturing"), and it isn't done growing (as in "enlarging"). It's too good of an idea, but that idea is hitting a few massive challenges now that need to be resolved.
At the end of the day, the EU is a powerful growth engine and in order to be its strongest, it will figure out that its wealth is dependent upon including some of the (make that, most of the) guys to the east.
†And not for any anti-Russian reasons. Russia is big enough on its own to be its own "united" economy. Though, I don't discount the temptation of entering the EU within the century. It's just that--by the time any salient benefit for joining the EU will have been realized--there will be a more-than-likely unified global economic union of some variety later in the century which would negate such a necessity.
As a supporter of Brexit, I fear some down votes here but I think the EU (as ti exists now) was a bad idea and no country should join. Here are some comments I made or quoted on various threads on the topic:
What the British have realized, after more than 15 years of central planning from unelected, all-knowing bureaucrats, is that the EU vision, when implemented, is cumbersome, inefficient, and insulated from the body politic. Not only is it entirely undemocratic, it is the complete antithesis of democracy. Britain is a sovereign nation that voted to maintain their autonomy, rather than subjugate themselves to an unelected, unaccountable bureaucracy in Brussels. Not only does Brussels not have the best interests of the British people at heart, they had the power to override the British Parliament to align with their own interests, without the consent of the governed.
And: Brexit was for the British "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to free themselves from an ossified, undemocratic power structure. It's a chance for the U.K. to look beyond the continent's economic stagnation and embrace the rest of the world through free trade. It's also a chance to give other EU members a fighting chance at reforming their system."
And finally: "The creation of a non-democratic superstate to be ruled by the technocratic elite is not something I consider an advance in human liberty, freedom nor utility." Economic globalization promotes prosperity but political centralization is oppressive and leads to stagnation.
This is a highly subjective question, so I'll answer it accordingly.
- Countries which are always welcome to the EU:
- UK is welcome back
- Norway, Iceland
- Countries which are small enough to be important:
- Andorra, Lichtenstein, San Marino, Monaco
- Countries which are next in the line:
- Albania and Montenegro
- Serbia and Kosovo
- Countries in Eastern Europe whose EU-membership is improbable but still possible:
- Countries in the Caucausus region whose EU-membership is improbable but still possible:
- Georgia and Armenia
- Countries to be EU-members according to the strategic interests of the USA:
- Syria and Lebanon
- Israel and Palestine
- Egypt, Lybia, Tunisia, Algeria, Morroco
This would be a survival of the Roman Empire. Thus, the main conflict of the modern times, that in Palestine, would become an internal issue for the new Roman Empire. The USA would no more be responsible for that conflict - Germany and Turkey will be. And it would be more appropriate Constantinople to replace Brussels as capital city in that final state. The pendulum of history should return to its most natural position.
All countries that happen to be located ( part or totality) on the european continent are eligible.
Morrocco tried it's luck in the eighties, reminding the historical ties it had with France and Spain, and raising the issue of Ceuta and Melilla spanish enclaves.
But Turkey is a candidate, with less than 15% of it's territory in Europe.
Russia could therefore technically be a member, but i doubt that this will happen anyday soon, for political and cultural reasons.
General de Gaulle did express his desire to see a Europe "from the atlantic to the ural".
Concerning former eastern block countries, i believe integration should have been slower, because their aim was more to shelter themselves from Russia and benefit of Brussels' money shower,rather than forming a union of the peoples.
Concerning the Balkan states, most of them have internal and neighbouring issues to care about firsthand.
Iceland should NEVER be allowed to get in.
As long as the USA were in Keflavik, defending them, the snobed the union, saying they were the 51st state.
Then came the crisis, with their Icesave and landspankki almost-ponzi type funds, having brought millions of british and dutch pensioners to ruin.
The icelandic people decided not to pay for their bankers' mistakes.
Until you remember that Iceland has less than half a million inhabitants, and that they ALL benefitted from the money.
In the meantime they frantically asked for ultrafast integration in the EU.
Now that their economic situation is growing again ( which is easy when you don't pay your debts), they're reversing back to name calling Brussels.
So no, no way i'd let them join.
We already have the UK, thank you.
This is a highly subjective question, so I'll answer it accordingly.
I've thought for a long time, even through several additions to the union, that there are five countries that should definitely be in the EU; They are Andorra, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Norway and Iceland. In addition I'd love it for Ukraine, Albania and all of former Yugoslavia to join.
If they sort out their political situations I'd also like Turkey, and perhaps Belarus and even Russia to join.
If you now look at a map, you can quite clearly see that I'm basically just a completionist: essentially all of Europe is included. That makes sense, however, because it's the European Union, after all.
Some other questions arise however: Why does it have to be European in the first place; why not Western Europe or the entire world, or whatever? What good does the EU actually do? Does it hinder development on a more local scale within it's member countries? Is the goal to eventually transition the EU into a single federation in the form of a country?
The answers will depend on who you ask. Personally I'd love some some more change and cooperation in Europe and elsewhere in the world. In my opinion countries like Andorra, San Marino, Belgium, Austria and Switzerland are antiquated anyway because they arose through coincidences and circumstances that haven't had relevance for centuries. A single-country Europe would probably serve to ease progress in Europe, at least if it was ruled well.
A larger geographical area and population and practical, not just legal, movement of people and goods across the continent would grant people with more choice and equality and would provide a more stable economy because it won't be dependent on one particular thing, such as oil, fish, wine or tourism.
If a fair, just, democratic government without corruption was to be established based best practice learnt from thousands of years of European and world history, that would be amazing from my point of view. Of course it would be equally sad if it fell to mafia, terrorism, economic misfortune or terrible leadership. But the higher the risk the more resources would be put into ensuring this wouldn't happen, both nationally and internationally. And, regardless, we would still benefit from a simpler political structure even if not everything went to plan.
This would also be a golden opportunity to fix some of the archaic subdivisions of the union as described above. French-, Catalan-, Italian-, Scandinavian-, Yugoslavian-, Dutch- and German-speaking Europe could be consolidated into larger, more logical and "historically correct" groupings. Perhaps this would also lessen internal tensions, such as those in former Yugoslavia, through uniting within a federal union together with the rest of the continent. This societal restructuring would also help prevent some countries, cultures and languages from becoming isolated and irrelevant on the world stage and would be more suited for the rapid changes in society that we have today.
One last topic is if, at this point, non-European countries should be allowed to join if both parties want to and balance can be achieved (e.g. having New Zealand join, but not Australia would be strange), as touched on above. A name change and inclusion of the countries of the Americas and Oceania sound to me like a long shot, but still definitely a valid suggestion.