EU expansion may have come to an end
Britain triggering Brexit will mark the first departure from the bloc and has led a desperate Jean Claude-Juncker to admit the EU could give up the dream of political union and “be nothing but the single market”.
Josef Janning, senior fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said: “In a way you can say that the EU suffers from the classic symptoms of overstretch.
“You not only have a greater divergence in interests when it comes to economic and fiscal questions. But you also have a greater diversity when it comes to preferences about how Europe should work.”
Brussels boss Juncker has warned there are “important challenges ahead” in a draft of his masterplan for the future of the European Union without the UK.
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Geert Wilders wants to 'de-Islamicise' the Netherlands, hopes clashes between Turkish-Dutch protesters and the police, along with Ankara's accusations of Dutch 'fascism', will help bolster his chances of finishing first
The foundation on which both the EU and the member states work are finished
Jean-Claude Piris, former head of the EU’s legal council
The White Paper gives no democratic options despite two years ago claiming there would be an “enhancing of European democratic accountability”.
Jean-Claude Piris, former head of the EU’s legal council, said: “If we admit that the rule of law is not the axis, the foundation on which both the EU and the member states work, we are finished.”
It made strategic sense for the EU to expand 25 years ago in an aim to promote peaceful growth but the size now makes the founding principles difficult to enact.
Angela Merkel has admitted the European Union is in trouble and needs to adjust but her comments were not well received by the smaller EU nations.
The EU have not suspended the Turkish application for EU membership despite the military coup
Merkel said: "It needs to always be open for everyone – no one should be excluded but not everyone needs to be forced to participate in every project.”
In contrast, a senior European official said: “Many easterners see this as a new wall, a new way of dropping them into an inferior category of membership.”
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Recent attempts by Turkey to join the EU highlight the issues with the rapid expansion. The membership bid has been under review since 2005 but a failed military coup last summer shows they should not be included.
The size of the EU is a funamental problem when it comes to getting things done
Sir Michael Leigh, the former director-general for enlargement at the European Commission, said:“The EU and Turkey are stuck in this very unsatisfactory marriage of convenience even though the fundamental conditions for making a success of it have long since disappeared.
“The logical consequence would be to suspend the process.”
Membership talks are officially open with five countries: Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey.