From Six to ?: A History of the European Community and Its Potential for Enlargement
MetadataShow full item record
The recent changes in Eastern Europe have widened the scope for potential European integration. This development has occurred on the eve of EC92, when the European Community implements its program for greater Community integration. Hopes of Eastern Europeans to join their neighbors to the West in political and economic union have come at a time when Western Europeans are looking to unite and improve European interests. The opening up of the East may enable the West, in particular the EC, to realize its goal of a united Europe of diversified nations and peoples. However, there is no guarantee that the EC will open itself up to the nations of Eastern Europe to become members. Whatever occurs will take time to develop and to implement. In order to achieve the successful integration of the Eastern European nations into the EC, political and economic reforms must take place in the East to create systematic continuity between East and West. This will take time and great economic aid from the West, but it will assist the East in overcoming its inherent economic problems and prepare a solid foundation on which the future of the East will rest. The West is utilizing its own initiatives in supporting the move towards democratic goals in the East and in the liberalization of the East's economy. Gradual exposure to Western standards will allow the East to become accustomed to the changes necessary for success according to Western ideals. The dream of a unified Europe has been on the minds of Western Europeans for some time, while this concept is relatively new to Eastern Europe. The West has a history of attempts at integration ranging from Benelux to the European Economic Community. In the East, Comecon was the only attempt at unification, and its main purpose was to support the Soviet economy with the help of its satellite states. The EC has suffered from many problems over the years and has gone through changes, yet it has stood the test of time. The creation of the Single European Act is a testament to the belief that the EC can and will continue into the future. Comecon has also been full of problems, but with the falling of the "Wall II and the many attempts at converting old communist governments into working democracies, the Central and Eastern Europeans are showing their will and their understanding of what it will take for their nations to survive in the twenty-first century. To them, the EC offers hope and a future. It will take much time and effort to coordinate the East and the West into a viable working organization. Both sides will need to go through changes, the East facing the more radical and all-encompassing of these changes. Only in time will it be apparent if enlargement will occur in the EC. Only time will tell if countries from Eastern Europe will be part of the EC's enlargement process.