The European Union (EU) is a union of 15 European states with
approx. 375 million inhabitants (the USA has approx. 265 million inhabitants)
and a total area of 3,2 million km² (the USA has approx. 9.3 million km²).
In the years 1994 to 1996 the States of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania,
Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Cyprus
placed official accession requests. With the applicants of the first round,
i.e. Estonia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia and Cyprus, negotiations
of accession were already raised in 1998.
Each European State, respecting the principles of the liberty, the democracy, human rights, the rule of law and the free enterprise economy, can request for becoming member of the Union.
The six initial members of the European Economic Community (Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the Federal Republic of Germany) raised nine new countries since already 1957 to its circle: In 1973 was the first expansion to the west and the north (Ireland, Great Britain and Denmark), 1981 and 1986 to the south (Greece; Spain and Portugal) and at last in 1995 to the north and the east (Finland, Sweden and Austria).
Why thus the excitement over a new expansion? Didn't we have this already? Evenly not! At present, requests for accession to the Community from 13 countries (1987 Turkey, 1990 Cyprus and Malta, 1994 - 1996 ten Middle- and Eastern European states) are in hand of the "Europe of the fifteen". That is not only an incomparably large number of accession applicants. The actual expansion round has also another dimension, a new quality. For the first time, there are states applying, which have been obliged to another political system with other values just about ten years ago. The EEC was, according to the official policy in these countries, for a long time the capitalistic enemy (beside NATO).
Already now, the EU contributes about 75 billion Euro of accession help to the Middle- and Eastern European Countries till 2006. With this funds, EU want's to help the candidates so that they are equal partners of the other EU members (and no petitioners) when they are ready for joining the EU.
But the accession of these countries could also have extensive effects on decision-making process in the EU. Still, the regulation applies that there must be unanimity in certain cases. In a small Europe, this can be still realized. If, however, Europe grows and thus the variety of the interests also does, perhaps the present procedure of decision making (also called legislation) has to be adapted. In this paper, we want to describe the relationship of the institutions for European Union, taking part in the decision-making process, and we want to show you, how the usually-used legislative procedure, the Kodecision Procedure, works.