EU enlargement

A worry some present EU Members have when enlargement happens is the possible influx of East European immigrants, and organised crime originating from such areas and such fears among other things probably led to Britain and Ireland opting out on the Schengen Aquis and may affect future policies in the area of free movement of persons. Differentiated integration has now been formally recognised in the ToA. A new title 'VII' on closer co-operation' was added into the Treaty concerning the legitimisation of differentiated integration.

Differentiated integration is now no longer seen as deviation or as a temporary solution to gradually easing all Member States into a uniform system. Along with the Nice Treaty amendments, provisions have been made to allow for different levels of integration between different groups of States including flexibility clauses and opt-outs which appear to becoming more the norm rather than the exception. The new flexibility clause will allow smaller subgroups of Members to integrate further and faster using Community institutions, and leaving others to catch up at their own pace if they are ready and willing.

The Treaty of Nice like ToA focused on institutional reforms to facilitate enlargement. The term 'closer co-operation' had been changed to 'enhanced co-operation' under title 'VII', carrying on the ToA's theme on differentiated integration. Differentiated integration as we've seen exists because some Members do not wish to (or are not able to) participate in policies or activities that other Members do for a variety of reasons, while others only take part on a partial basis. Members who are have a neutral status or are not members of the Western European Union are exempt from particular policies such as the defence policy.

Staring from the TEU we can see that the attraction towards differentiated integration has grown, and the ToA and ToN have firmly consolidated this trend with the adoption of provisions on 'enhanced co-operation'. It is evident that what we see occurring does not reflect the 'multi-speed' model of integration. After the next enlargement the differences and inequalities between Members will become more polarised, so uniformity will be more difficult to achieve than it already is.

We can see that the ToA and ToN has provided for and accommodated these differences, calling for 'enhanced co-operation' rather then 'closer-co-operation'. And inevitably the rapid increase and expansion of policies would as a consequence mean that less and less Members would be able to comply with them. Also if a Member chooses to opt-out of an activity they may never have the intention to opt-in to it afterwards, and if Member states feel certain policies will go against their interests will always oppose certain Community obligations.

34 But it appears that Europe may be heading towards a 'two-speed' form of integration, with the 'core' EC Member's such as France and Germany willing to co-operate more deeply together into the EU Agenda, and leaving others behind to catch up with them when they are ready and willing to, as the Treaties seem to have now prepared for institutionally. The danger to integration would be if Europe started following 'pick n' mix' or 'a la carte' integration.

'Pick n' mix' would involve Member States picking and choosing whichever policy that suits them, but they would still be bound to some common policies. What would result could be eventual European fragmentation or divergence, and this could occur in the event of controversies like the 'beef' crisis and would also be more likely for states that have dualist legal systems. Members may insist on rights to maximise their returns from the EU and minimise their contributions to it and have no real commitment to integration.

The Aquis Communitaire and the Community laws that developed since the birth of the Treaties over the past 50 years would then lose all meaning. In consideration of the issues raised above we can conclude that the Multi-speed model of integration is probably not what is occurring in Europe at the moment. We found that this is not the case because different Member States sign up for different things, and opt-out of activities which conflicts with their national interests, and there is no guarantee that they will opt-in afterwards.

We also considered the impact EU enlargement would have on the uniformity of the EU. The 'Multi-speed' model assumes that even though all Member States run at different speeds they will all have their eyes fixed on the same finishing line and get there at different times, but the reality is that not everyone wants the same goals as the other. So in response to the statement made, we can agree that a 'multi-speed' Europe would be a necessity for 'an ever closer union', but in practice this is not the model of integration that Europe is currently reflecting.