Chapter 1 Practice essay question

Chapter 1 Question

There is a view, particularly following the debacle of Brexit, that the EU has now reached the limit of its rational size and existence and that no further expansion should take place.

Critically consider this statement in the light of the history of the EU and its possible future.

Attempt this question before reading the answer guidance below.



Answer Guide

This Question does, of course, focus on the history of the EU, especially the concept of widening, but is also a forward-looking question.

It is a flexible question in the elements you could include.

As for the Historical element, you should provide a brief outline only of the set up of the European Communities in the first place and the successive expansions. It would be quite alright to discuss, but again briefly, any difficulties along the way: the 1975 UK Referendum; the economic unpreparedness of Greece, Portugal, and Spain to join; Norway’s referenda to reject accession; the big bang accession of 10 states, some of which were also regarded as economically ill-prepared for accession. You should also mention Brexit, but this is not a question focussing on Brexit; the focus is more general.

You need then to reach some sort of conclusion on the past events: whether they themselves point to any possible future, the most important being brexit. Do they make further expansion more or less likely?

Relevant to this is the stall engendered by Brexit, in particular in combination with the Covid-19 pandemic, and the fact that there are other “reluctant” states – notably the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.

However, you should also emphasise that there are still a number of states queuing up to join the EU, in particular the Balkan states. You might also provide views on any difficulties perceived by these possible accessions.

The fact that there is a lot of material that could be included requires you to be careful in the amount you write for each and all elements.