Explore Techsciencenews Encyclopedia Alphabetically

 
Techsciencenews Home 

 

Art | Business Studies | Citizenship | Countries | Design and Technology | Everyday life | Geography | History | Information Technology | Inventions Timeline | Language and Literature | Mathematics | Music | People | Portals | Religion | Science | Subjects Index

List of European Union member states by accession

Related subjects European Geography; Recent History

     The European Union as a single entity. (world map)
     The European Union as a single entity. ( world map)

This is a list of European Union member states, their dates of application and accession. It shows the growth of the European Union and its predecessors through enlargement from six members in 1952 to twenty-seven members in 2007; at least eight (possibly even more) are expected to join in its future.

The European Union per se was created on 1 November 1993 when the Treaty on European Union came into effect. Twelve of the current twenty-seven member states joined one of the Union's predecessors, either the European Coal and Steel Community (which came into existence on 23 July 1952 and ceased to exist exactly 50 years later), the European Economic Community (which came into existence on 1 January 1958), or the European Community (which came into existence on 1 July 1967 as a merger of ECSC, EEC and the European Atomic Energy Community, and is one of the three pillars of the European Union today).

Candidate countries

     current members      candidate countries      potential candidate countries      application frozen      application rejected by EC      accession rejected in a referendum (world map)
     current members      candidate countries      potential candidate countries      application frozen      application rejected by EC      accession rejected in a referendum ( world map)
See also: Future enlargement of the European Union, Albania and the European Union, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the European Union, Croatia and the European Union, Kosovo and the European Union, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the European Union, Montenegro and the European Union, Serbia and the European Union, and Turkey and the European Union

In addition to the current twenty-seven member states, a number of other countries are expected to join the European Union in the next two decades. Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey are officially candidate countries; Croatia and Turkey are currently in accession negotiations, while negotiations with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are expected to start soon, but not before 2009. The remaining states in the Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia) are officially "potential candidate countries", which means they have a clear perspective for accession over the course of the next decade.

The European Union's Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn originally stated that the next enlargement after Bulgaria and Romania would only happen after 2010, due to the European Union's need to sort out its institutional problems first, the European Commission's President José Manuel Durão Barroso later stated that the provisions in the Treaty of Nice were clear enough; while he considered institutional reform necessary, it was not intended to be a stumbling block for countries seeking to join the European Union. However, on 25 September 2006 (the day before the accession date of Bulgaria and Romania was officially made public), Barroso stated that a new treaty would be necessary before further enlargement could occur. Since the Treaty of Lisbon was signed on 2007- 12-13 and is planned to come into force on 2009- 01-01, the institutional issues would appear to cease to be a problem before Croatia will have finished its accession negotiations.

Countries that failed to join or left

The flag of the Council of Europe and the European Union.
The flag of the Council of Europe and the European Union.

Not all accession attempts have been successful, though, and on one occasion a territory even left the European Union (then European Community).

  • While Norway had completed European Community/European Union accession negotiations twice already (with the proposed accession dates having been 1 January 1973 and 1 January 1995, respectively), the accession failed both times when the Norwegians rejected membership in referendums (on 25 September 1972 and 28 November 1994).
  • The Danish autonomous territory of Greenland initially joined the European Community together with Denmark, but left on 1 February 1985 after it had acquired home rule and had held a referendum on the issue.
  • Morocco applied to join in 1987, but was rejected by the European Council because it was not considered a European country and therefore not eligible to join. (Interestingly, the Copenhagen criteria had not yet been formally agreed upon at that time.)
  • Although Switzerland applied to join in 1992, it froze its application after accession to the European Economic Area was rejected in a referendum on 6 December 1992.

Future prospects

     member states      membership is declared goal      membership under discussion (world map)
     member states      membership is declared goal      membership under discussion ( world map)
See also: Microstates and the European Union, Armenia and the European Union, Belarus and the European Union, Azerbaijan and the European Union, Cape Verde and the European Union, Georgia and the European Union, Iceland and the European Union, Israel and the European Union, Moldova and the European Union, Netherlands Antilles and the European Union, Russia and the European Union, and Ukraine and the European Union
This section is incomplete. You can help by adding information about the current situation in the European microstates Monaco and Vatican City, as well as in associated territories.

It is generally assumed that even with the accession of the states of southeastern Europe, the process of enlargement will not be finished.

European countries

Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, San Marino and Ukraine have stated they would like to join the European Union; however, the European Union's response was mostly lukewarm. European Union membership is also the subject of political debate in Andorra, Azerbaijan, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, and Liechtenstein, and the debates in Norway and Switzerland are also still ongoing. While Belarus and Russia are also seen as eligible to join, and while accession to the European Union enjoys public support in Belarus, the lack of democratic structures makes these countries' accession impossible in the short term, especially as the European Union is supporting the Belarusian opposition and civil society in peacefully overthrowing Alexander Lukashenko's regime, which it regards as dictatorial, going so far as to offer concrete benefits for democratic reforms. Furthermore, the European Union is trying to bind Russia more strongly to its own policies and goals through partnership and cooperation agreements.

Non-European countries

Although the Treaty of Maastricht states that only European countries may apply, a number of countries not generally considered European have also considered membership bids.

The island nation of Cape Verde, part of the island region Macaronesia (which is comprised of Cape Verde, the Portuguese islands of the Azores and Madeira and the Spanish Canary Islands) has stated it wishes to join the European Union. Israel has considered applying for membership; while the European Union and Israel share a common culture, history and society, the ongoing Arab-Israeli and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts and Israel's location in one of the most conflict-ridden regions of the world would be major arguments against its accession. Finally, even Canada's accession has occasionally been proposed, though often rather in a tongue-in-cheek manner; the main arguments used are the very similar cultural standards and viewpoints on matters of international law, especially when juxtaposed with those of the United States. None of the three countries is a member of the Council of Europe, which is a de facto prerequisite for membership under the Copenhagen criteria and the Treaty of Maastricht.

Likely next enlargement

It is generally expected that the states of southeastern Europe will be the next states to join the European Union, and that neither the developed countries which are not members of the Union (Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and the microstates) nor the three countries in eastern Europe (Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine) will join in the foreseeable future. Although Olli Rehn said on 19 May 2006 that he expected Iceland to join the European Union before Croatia would, he went back on his statement when he stated on 1 December 2006 that Croatia would likely become the European Union's 28th member state; he repeated this statement on 11 October 2007, with the comment that "[t]he only surprise could be Iceland, if they soon apply for membership".

Listed by accession date

# State Accession Special territories
1–6 Flag of Belgium Belgium 23 July 1952 ( ECSC)
1 January 1958 ( EEC)
Flag of France France
incl. Flag of French Guiana French Guiana, Flag of Guadeloupe Guadeloupe, Flag of Martinique Martinique, Flag of Réunion Réunion
incl. Flag of Saint Barthélemy  Saint Barthélemy, Flag of Saint Martin (France)  Saint Martin

excl. Flag of French Polynesia French Polynesia, Flag of New Caledonia New Caledonia, Flag of Wallis and Futuna Wallis and Futuna
excl. Flag of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands French Southern and Antarctic Lands, Flag of Mayotte  Mayotte, Flag of Saint Pierre and Miquelon  Saint Pierre and Miquelon
Flag of Italy Italy
Flag of Luxembourg Luxembourg
Flag of the Netherlands Netherlands
Flag of West Germany  West Germany
7–9 Flag of Denmark Denmark 1 January 1973 ( EC)
excl. the Flag of the Faroe Islands Faroe Islands, Flag of Greenland Greenland (see above)
Flag of Ireland Ireland
Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom
incl. Flag of Gibraltar Gibraltar

10 Flag of Greece Greece 1 January 1981 (EC)
11–12 Flag of Portugal Portugal 1 January 1986 (EC)
Flag of Spain Spain
13–15 Flag of Austria Austria 1 January 1995
Flag of Finland Finland
Flag of Sweden Sweden
16–25 Flag of Cyprus Cyprus 1 May 2004
excl. Flag of the United Kingdom Akrotiri and Dhekelia ( de iure and de facto)
excl. Flag of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Northern Cyprus, the Flag of the United Nations UN Buffer Zone (de facto)
Flag of the Czech Republic Czech Republic
Flag of Estonia Estonia
Flag of Hungary Hungary
Flag of Latvia Latvia
Flag of Lithuania Lithuania
Flag of Malta Malta
Flag of Poland Poland
Flag of Slovakia Slovakia
Flag of Slovenia Slovenia
26–27 Flag of Bulgaria Bulgaria 1 January 2007
Flag of Romania Romania
TBD Flag of Croatia Croatia in accession negotiations
Flag of Turkey Turkey
Flag of the Republic of Macedonia Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia candidate country
Flag of Albania Albania potential candidate country
Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina
Flag of Kosovo Kosovo
Flag of Montenegro Montenegro
Flag of Serbia Serbia

Listed by application date

# State Application Result/status
Flag of Belgium Belgium founding members
Flag of France France
Flag of Italy Italy
Flag of Luxembourg Luxembourg
Flag of the Netherlands Netherlands
Flag of West Germany  West Germany
1 Flag of Ireland Ireland 1st: 31 July 1961
2nd: 11 May 1967
1st: withdrawn after Charles de Gaulle vetoed the United Kingdom's application
2nd: joined 1 January 1973
2–3 Flag of Denmark Denmark 1st: 10 August 1961
2nd: 11 May 1967
Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom 1st: 10 August 1961
2nd: 10 May 1967
1st: vetoed by Charles de Gaulle on 14 January 1963
2nd: joined 1 January 1973
4 Flag of Norway Norway 1st: 30 April 1962
2nd: 21 July 1967
3rd: 25 November 1992
1st: withdrawn after Charles de Gaulle vetoed the United Kingdom's application
2nd: withdrawn after a referendum on 25 September 1972
3rd: withdrawn after a referendum on 28 November 1994
5 Flag of Greece Greece 12 June 1975 joined 1 January 1981
6 Flag of Portugal Portugal 28 March 1977 joined 1 January 1986
7 Flag of Spain Spain 28 July 1977
8 Flag of Turkey Turkey 14 April 1987 candidate country, in accession negotiations
9 Flag of Morocco Morocco 20 July 1987 rejected by the European Council (see geographic criteria)
10 Flag of Austria Austria 17 July 1989 joined 1 January 1995
11–12 Flag of Cyprus Cyprus 3 July 1990 joined 1 May 2004
Flag of Malta Malta
13 Flag of Sweden Sweden 1 July 1991 joined 1 January 1995
14 Flag of Finland Finland 18 March 1992
15 Flag of Switzerland Switzerland 25 May 1992 frozen after EEA membership was rejected in a referendum on 6 December 1992
16 Flag of Hungary Hungary 31 March 1994 joined 1 May 2004
17 Flag of Poland Poland 5 April 1994
18 Flag of Romania Romania 22 June 1995 joined 1 January 2007
19 Flag of Slovakia Slovakia 27 June 1995 joined 1 May 2004
20 Flag of Latvia Latvia 13 October 1995
21 Flag of Estonia Estonia 24 November 1995
22 Flag of Lithuania Lithuania 8 December 1995
23 Flag of Bulgaria Bulgaria 14 December 1995 joined 1 January 2007
24 Flag of the Czech Republic Czech Republic 17 January 1996 joined 1 May 2004
25 Flag of Slovenia Slovenia 10 June 1996
26 Flag of Croatia Croatia 21 February 2003 candidate country, in accession negotiations, Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) in force since 1 February 2005
27 Flag of the Republic of Macedonia Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 24 March 2004 candidate country, SAA in force since 1 May 2004
TBD Flag of Albania Albania not yet potential candidate country, SAA signed on 12 June 2006; yet to be ratified by three EU member states (France, Germany and Greece) and the European Union (compare this for ratification progress)
Flag of Montenegro Montenegro potential candidate country, SAA signed on 15 October 2007; yet to be ratified by twenty-one EU member states (all but Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Hungary and Slovenia) and the European Union (compare this for ratification progress)
Flag of Serbia Serbia potential candidate country, SAA signed on 29 April 2008, but ratification will not begin until full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has been established
Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina potential candidate country, SAA signed on 16 June 2008; prove that the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska can work together yet to be ratified by all twenty-seven EU member states and the European Union (compare this for ratification progress)
Flag of Kosovo Kosovo potential candidate country, SAA negotiations not yet opened

Timeline

Retrieved from " http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_European_Union_member_states_by_accession"