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The EU is Rebooting Its Enlargement Machine

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted a slew of geopolitical realignments, from China to India by way of Turkey. Many are likely to prove fleeting. But one that may prove durable is a new European order now being actively considered. Some 2,000km from the front lines, in Brussels, the war on its continent has prompted the European Union to give serious consideration to bringing new countries into the club for the first time in over a decade—and to adapt the union for what is likely to be its last big enlargement.

On October 6th the EU’s 27 national leaders will meet in the Spanish city of Granada to lay out a path to this enlargement, and ponder how a reshaped union would work. The road to EU membership for up to nine new countries—including Serbia, Albania and four others in the Western Balkans, as well as Ukraine, Moldova and possibly Georgia—will be tortuous. Joining what would become the world’s largest economic bloc, on a par with America, will require deep reforms of the sort current aspirants have so far shunned, or those that Russian invaders make hard to pull off.

From the EU’s perspective, morphing from a club of 27 today to perhaps 36 tomorrow will be possible only if its inner workings are revisited. That will include changing the balance of power between the bloc’s central institutions and its national capitals, for example making the club less hostage to a single country’s whims. Such internal reorganisations can easily prompt squabbling at the all-night summits the union is known for.

Source: Live Mint