The EU: 65 years of pushing boundaries

PARIS (HRNW) – The European Union, which at a summit on Thursday and Friday will discuss whether to make Ukraine a membership candidate, has admitted over 15 countries in the past three decades.

Others are on the first rungs of the ladder or have applied to join.

The acceptance of the candidate status of Ukraine, and ex-Soviet neighbour Moldova, as recommended by the EU Commission, will require the unanimous backing of the 27 member states.

If they say “Yes” lengthy membership negotiations will eventually follow.

Founded in 1957, the European Economic Community (later renamed the EU) started out with six members — Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany.

In 1973, Britain, Ireland and Denmark joined, followed by Greece, Spain and Portugal in the 1980s.

In 1995, the bloc began expanding eastwards, admitting Austria, Sweden and Finland in a leap that gave it a shared border with Russia for the first time.

In 2004 came the “big bang” enlargement from 15 to 25 members, with eight ex-communist Eastern European countries two Mediterranean nations raising EU flags in one fell swoop.

In 2007, Bulgaria and Romania took the EU to 27 members and in 2013 Croatia became the 28th.

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