Research Handbooks in Law and Economics series
Edited by Thomas Eger and Hans-Bernd Schäfer
Chapter 14: Eastern Enlargement of the European Union
Hans-Jürgen Wagener 1 INTRODUCTION The European Union (EU) is a club with open access, as were its predecessors. Art. 98 of the Treaty establishing the European Community for Coal and Steel of 1951 states: ‘Any European State may request to accede to the present Treaty.’ All following treaties contain a similar sentence. Since Amsterdam 1997 there is, however, a clause linked to it; in the formulation of the Lisbon Treaty: ‘Any European State which respects the values referred to in Article 2 and is committed to promoting them may apply to become a member of the Union’ (Art. 49 current TEU). This Article 2 proclaims: The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail. What is a European state has never been specified. But the fact that Cyprus has been accepted as a member and Turkey as a candidate shows that the term may be interpreted rather broadly. This built-in provision for enlargement by admission of new states respecting basic human rights has one predecessor in the Northwest Ordinance passed by the US Congress in 1787, which envisaged the enlargement of the United States not by extension of the incumbent members but by accession of new states. Enlargement was a strategic...