Magazine article Insight on the News

Is Door to EU Closing? (Trends)

Magazine article Insight on the News

Is Door to EU Closing? (Trends)

Article excerpt

The increasingly potent anti-immigration movement in Western Europe has thrown a kink into plans to expand the European Union (EU) to include Central and Eastern European nations. EU leaders from many of the applicant countries are worried that voters in member states will reject the admission of new states for fear of competition over jobs from a flood of new immigrants.

Strong showings in recent months by the rightist, anti-immigration National Front in France and the Dutch party founded by populist Pim Fortuyn--who advocated a total ban on immigration before being assassinated--altered the debate in Europe. Established leaders such as British Prime Minister Tony Blair and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder are rushing to show their toughness on the issue.

The timing could prove disastrous for the poorer European countries to the east, which have been rushing to reform their economies, legal systems and border controls in a bid to join the union. Guenter Verheugen, the EU commissioner leading the negotiations, hopes to conclude membership deals by the end of the year with as many as 10 EU hopefuls: Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. …

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