NEW AND OLD COUNTRIES OF EUROPE
The aim of the paper is to demonstrate that the process of the EU enlargement is a civilization process, not susceptible to simple political evaluations. Purely economic benefits are here of minor importance and further enlargement will face various barriers ( which can be observed in the case of Turkey ) unless the EU is able to work out a clear definition of an 'European character'. It seems that on May 1, 2004 the European Pandora's box broke and the process of the Union enlargement started whose end and the final form are difficult to predict. A lot of arguments indicate that before that date the 'old countries' of the Union considered the enlargement as a natural unification of the countries representing similar cultural identity. After the date and the accession of 10 new countries from Central and Southern Europe the 'old countries' saw the enlargement as a civilization clash expressed by Jacques Chirac who talked about the new countries as those which 'did not take their chance to keep quiet'. The situation is becoming more and more complicated and it is difficult to mark the borders of the 'new' Europe of 25 members and decide where the 'newer' Europe boarding 'even newer' Europe begins. Before the accession of the Central and Eastern European countries the EU successfully used the arguments of economic and social delay of the countries aspiring towards the EU membership as a barrier for enlargement. However, after the new ten countries joined the EU the argument can no longer be used. Croatia does not represent a lower level of development than Poland or Hungary. Accession treaties with Romania and Bulgaria show that the EU does not close its doors for the Balkan countries which so far have been looked upon as exotic countries. Their levels of development are not very different from those represented by Turkey, Serbia or Montenegro.
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