• Michael J. Geary


On 1 January 1973, the European integration project took a major leap forward when Britain, Denmark, and Ireland joined the European Economic Community (EEC), the forerunner to today’s European Union (EU). The first enlargement, arguably its most divisive, represented a significant milestone in the Community’s short existence. Over the following decades, the EU would face many more requests for membership. Shortly after the first enlargement, the Mediterranean countries came knocking on the door, eager to benefit from the growing prosperity within the Common Market, and to seek shelter from the global economic storm that raged during the 1970s and 1980s. By 1986, Greece, Spain, and Portugal had brought the number of members to 12. The rapid accession of three underdeveloped countries into the Community proved it was not a club for rich industrial nations. With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, East Germany entered the Community as part of a reunified Germany. The Nordic countries of Austria, Finland, and Sweden secured membership in 1995. The collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s meant that letters of application to join the EU arrived in Brussels in quick succession from many former Soviet-controlled states in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). In 2004, membership rose from 15 to 25 with the historic enlargement to include eight CEE countries, as well as Cyprus and Malta, while three years later Romania and Bulgaria joined. Croatia entered the EU in 2013. Many more countries are eager to join, including Iceland and Turkey. The enlargement process that began in the 1960s is far from complete.


European Union Member State Enlargement Process National Archive European Economic Community 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    See Kiran Klaus Patel (ed.) (2009) Fertile Ground for Europe? The History of European Integration and the Common Agricultural Policy since 1945 (Baden-Baden: Nomos)Google Scholar
  2. Ann-Christina Knudsen (2009) Farmers on Welfare: The Making of Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy (Ithaca: Cornell University Press)Google Scholar
  3. Laurent Warlouzet and Tobias Witschke (2012) ‘The difficult path to an economic rule of law: European Competition Policy, 1950–91’ Contemporary European History, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 437–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    David Coombes (1970) Politics and Bureaucracy in the European Community: A Portrait of the European Commission (London: Allen & Unwin).Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Michel Dumoulin (2006) (ed.) The European Commission, 1958–72: History and Memories (Brussels: European Commission).Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    N. Piers Ludlow (1997) Dealing with Britain: the Six and the First UK Application to the EEC (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
  7. 9.
    For more accounts of London’s first application for EEC membership, see Miriam Camps (1964) Britain and the European Community, 1955–1963 (Princeton: Princeton University Press)Google Scholar
  8. Alan S. Milward (2002) The United Kingdom and the European Community, vol. 1: The Rise and Fall of a National Strategy 1945–1963 (London: Frank Cass)Google Scholar
  9. George Wilkes (ed.) (1997) Britain’s Failure to Enter the European Community 1961–63 (London: Frank Cass)Google Scholar
  10. Wolfram Kaiser (1999) Using Europe, Abusing the Europeans: Britain and European Integration, 1945–63 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Nora Beloff (1963) The General Says No: Britain’s Exclusion From Europe (London: Penguin).Google Scholar
  12. 10.
    N. Piers Ludlow (2006) The European Community and the Crises of the 1960s: Negotiating the Gaullist Challenge (London: Routledge).Google Scholar
  13. 11.
    See N. Piers Ludlow (2005) ‘A welcome change: the European Commission and the challenge of enlargement, 1958–1973’ Journal of European Integration History, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 31–46Google Scholar
  14. N. Piers Ludlow (2003) ‘An opportunity or a threat? The European Commission and The Hague Council of December 1969’ Journal of European Integration History, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 11–15.Google Scholar
  15. N. Piers Ludlow (2005) ‘The making of the CAP: towards a historical analysis of the EU’s first major policy2005) ‘The making of the CAP’ Contemporary European History, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 347–53.Google Scholar
  16. N. Piers Ludlow (2006) ‘A supranational Icarus? Hallstein, the early Commission and the search for an independent role’ in Antonio Varsori (ed.), Inside the European Community: Actors and Policies in the European Integration 1957–1972 (Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlag), pp. 37–54.Google Scholar
  17. 12.
    See Beloff, The General Says No; Camps, Britain and the European Community; Uwe Kitzinger (1973) Diplomacy and Persuasion: How Britain Joined the Common Market (London: Thames & Hudson)Google Scholar
  18. Denis J. Maher (1986) The Tortuous Path: the Course of Ireland’s Entry into the EEC (Dublin: Institute of Public Administra-tion)Google Scholar
  19. Con O’Neill (2000) Britain’s Entry into the European Community: Report on the Negotiations of 1970–1972 by Sir Con O’Neill (London: Frank Cass).Google Scholar
  20. 13.
    Walter Hallstein (1972) Europe in the Making (London: Allen & Unwin).Google Scholar
  21. 15.
    Edward Heath (1998) The Course of My Life: My Autobiography (London: Hodder & Stoughton);Jean Monnet (1976)Google Scholar
  22. Paul-Henri Spaak (1964) The Continuing Battle: Memoirs of a European, 1936–66 (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson)Google Scholar
  23. George Ball (1982) The Past Has Another Pattern (New York: Norton).Google Scholar
  24. 35.
    Richard Griffiths (1996) ‘The end of a thousand years of history’, in Griffiths, Richard and Ward, Stuart (eds) Courting the Common Market: The First Attempt to Enlarge the European Community, 1961–1963 (London: Lothian Foundation Press), pp. 12–13.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Michael J. Geary 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael J. Geary
    • 1
  1. 1.Maastricht UniversityThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations