The Greek part of Cyprus (together with the other candidate and member countries) signed an EU accession treaty on 16 April. Of course the north-south divide in Cyprus is far more serious than that in the UK. Since the Turkish backed invasion, Northern Cyprus is unrecognised internationally except by Turkey. The southern part of Cyprus has mainly a Greek population, Greek speaking and of Greek origin. There is EU and UN pressure on the North to reunite with the South. If this happens in time, then a reunited Cyprus will be considered for membership, if not, then only Cyprus, the Southern part will be accepted, leaving Northern Cyprus even more isolated than at present, and also potentially threatening Turkey’s potential membership.
Of all the countries, Latvia appears the closest to a borderline decision. In recent surveys, only about 50% of the electorate would vote “Yes” for EU entry, however it is expected that the government will campaign to persuade voters to vote for entry rather than against. Latvia may also follow the lead of Lithuania.
New Applicant Countries
In November 2002, there were ten new states which had applied for EU membership, and which are now under the Greek Presidency accepted and endorsed by the existing member states. In addition, there are at least another five countries which are interested in joining, but which will need to make some changes before they are likely to be considered
acceptable as members.
New Eurozone Members
Twelve of the fifteen member states joined the euro at its inception, the other three, Denmark, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, have not yet joined, but almost certainly will do so in the fullness of time. We believe that for any new EU members, joining the euro will be one of the most important advantages to be gained from joining the EU, indeed we hear reports that the euro is already a de facto currency in many of them.
The following ten countries are to be joining soon, most likely on May 1st 2004: Cyprus – Czech Republic – Estonia – Hungary – Latvia – Lithuania – Malta – Poland – Slovakia – Slovenia.
The following two countries are also strong potential candidates for joining, and are thought likely to join in 2007: Bulgaria, Romania.
Another three countries are likely to follow shortly after: Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia. One of the biggest question marks remains over Turkey, with a population of over 67 million. Turkey is obviously an important potential member, although there are a number of problems to be solved.
The following countries would probably benefit from joining, but their possible entry is less likely than those listed above: Belarus, Iceland, Macedonia, Moldova, Norway, Ukraine.
According to the Sunday Times, the following could be joining in 30 years from now: Albania, Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia. The above lists are not exclusive. A number of other countries, including Switzerland, have negotiated special relationships with the EU.