Old Versus New

Christian Lequesne

in The Oxford Handbook of the European Union

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199546282
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

 Old Versus New

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The European Community/EU has had six enlargements since 1973. It was during the enlargements of 2004 and 2007 that a distinction was introduced in the public discourse between ‘old’ and ‘new’ member states. In political circles, the term ‘New Member States’ (NMS) is commonly used to single out the former communist countries that joined the EU after the collapse of the Soviet bloc and Yugoslavia. The expression ‘Old member states’ (OMS) refers to France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxemburg, and the Netherlands – six states that were at the start of the European Community/EU in 1951. But beyond the language and the representations (which matter in politics), it is not clear that the difference between OMS and NMS plays such a big role in the decision-making process of the EU. This article analyses how the difference operates or does not operate in practice.

Keywords: EU; European Community; new member states; old member states; former communist countries; Yugoslavia

Article.  5469 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; European Union

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