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France and Germany push for EU enlargement

Why is it in the news?

  • Recently, the France and Germany have proposed a policy paper for EU enlargement and reform, prepared by a group of 12 experts commissioned by the Europe ministers of both countries.
    • The proposals for EU enlargement come in response to calls for expansion, partly due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

More about the news

  • The paper suggests a flexible approach to EU enlargement and reform, acknowledging that the EU is not currently institutionally or policy-wise ready to introduce new members.
  • It highlights frontrunner countries for membership, including Ukraine, the Western Balkans, and Moldova, along with ten countries in the process of aligning their laws with EU standards.
  • The report explores ways to make the EU function more effectively with over 30 members, including capping the number of EU legislators, changing voting mechanisms, and enhancing the EU’s budget.
  • In the absence of unanimous support for changing the EU Treaty, the paper proposes a supplementary treaty among willing member states to allow for differentiation within the EU.
    • Differentiation could result in four tiers of membership: an inner circle with Eurozone and Schengen Area membership, the EU itself, Associate Members participating in the single market, and the European Political Community cooperating with the EU but not bound by its laws.
  • These proposals are expected to be formally discussed at an upcoming meeting of EU heads of state in Spain.
European Union (EU)
  • The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 27 member states primarily located in Europe.
  • The EU was established through the Maastricht Treaty, which came into effect on November 1, 1993.
  • The primary objective of the EU is to foster cooperation and integration among its member states to promote economic and political stability in Europe.
  • The EU has its own currency, the Euro, which is utilized by 19 of its member states.
  • It operates a single market, allowing for the free movement of goods, services, and capital among member states.
  • The EU has various institutions and bodies, including the European Commission, European Parliament, and Council of the European Union, responsible for making decisions and policies.
  • The EU’s policies cover a wide range of areas, including trade, competition, agriculture, environment, and more.
  • It plays a significant role in international diplomacy and negotiations, representing its member states in various international forums.
  • The EU has a common foreign and security policy and cooperates on issues like climate change, migration, and security.
  • The EU is committed to the principles of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

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