(Smartness; 04-03; p.2)
The European Union of Twenty-five
On 16 April the heads of states and governments
signed the so called "accession treaty" between the
EU and ten potentially new members. Provided, the treaty will
be ratified by each of the latter - usually by plebiscite - the
Baltics, Eastcentral Europe, Malta and Slovenia become full members
of the EU on 1 May 2004. The treaty has already been ratified
in both of the smaller states and in Hungary.
The conclusion of the treaty is the
preliminary milestone of a process already begun in the 1990s.
The EU defined economic, political and juridical criteria that
had to be fulfilled by new members. Thus, the by no means benign
transformation of the former Eastern Bloc eventually meets its
end: the mutual formation of a zone of prosperity to the long-term
advantage of all members.
That there had very hard questions to be solved
in regard to proportional representation on the one hand and in
regard to the ability of decision-making in due time on the other,
showed the need for reforms in "Old-EU", also - they
had been solved e.g. by creating possibilities for majority instead
of unanimous decisions.
Beside these big questions some very special had to be tackled
as well; notice for example that the accession treaty regulates
the hunt for brown bears in Estonia as well as the fate of the
Carniolan bee in Slovenia and the VAT in Malta.
Although it might be a bit early for opening
the champagne, one may state: Europe is indeed not a fortressed
island of prosperity that is forced to project power militarily.
(read on here)