European Union Enlargement

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Series Details RS21344
Publication Date 2004-2021
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The European Union (EU) is a unique political and economic partnership. The EU is the latest stage in a process of integration begun after World War II, initially by six Western European countries, to promote peace, political stability, and economic prosperity in Europe. The carefully
managed process of enlargement is one of the EU’s most powerful policy tools; over the years, it has helped transform many European states into functioning democracies and more affluent countries.

After the end of the Cold War, the EU worked with the former communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) to reform their political systems and economies in order to meet EU standards. In 2004, EU membership grew from 15 to 25 countries, bringing in most CEE states. Bulgaria and Romania joined in 2007, and Croatia acceded in 2013. Following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the EU in 2020 (known as Brexit), the EU currently consists of 27 member states.

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This Report was first published in 2004 and subsequently updated. The latest update was published in August 2021. All updates can be checked on the Primary Source link provided below.

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