Enlarging the European Union | Wilson Center
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Enlarging the European Union

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The first enlargement was one of the most divisive and politically charged events in the history of the present-day European Union. French opposition to British membership meant that London had to wait more than a decade at the Community's door. Other countries, including Denmark and Ireland, whose requests for membership were tied to the coat-tails of the British applications, had to endure a similar wait. Enlarging the European Union focuses on the early history of the EU and in particular the role played by the European Commission, an institution whose aim was to gain influence over the Community's agenda and to shape its policies, including the issue of enlargement. Enlarging the European Union explores the Commission's interaction with the member states and the applicant countries between the years 1961 and 1973 and also the Commission's attempts to gain and wield influence over the first enlargement round.

Michael J. Geary is Lecturer/Assistant Professor at Maastricht University in The Netherlands where his teaching and research focuses on Modern Europe and the European Union. A First Class Honours graduate (summa cum laude) of the National University of Ireland, he holds a Ph.D. from the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. In January 2012, he was awarded a European Parliament-Geremek Research Fellowship to the College of Europe (Warsaw). In 2010-11, he became Ireland’s first recipient of a Fulbright-Schuman Professorship in EU-US studies, and lectured during the fall semester at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.  Dr. Geary is the author of two books: Enlarging the European Union: The Commission Seeking Influence, 1961-1973 (New York & London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) and An Inconvenient Wait: Ireland’s Quest for Membership of the EEC, 1957-73 (Dublin: Institute of Public Administration, 2009). He has published articles, book chapters and op-eds on the European Union and its policies, including the current economic crisis, comparative European politics, and Transatlantic Relations, as well as on British and Irish political and economic affairs. He serves as a Member of the Advisory Council of the European Movement Ireland. Prior to joining Maastricht University in 2009, he worked at the General-Secretariat of the EU Council of Ministers in Brussels. He previously held lecturing and visiting positions at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Trinity College Dublin and the University of Malaysia (Sabah), and has presented invitational lectures at the Università degli Studi di Cagliari, Sardinia, the United States Department of State, Antwerp Management School, and Florida International University.

Ambassador Anne Anderson was recently appointed as Ireland's Ambassador to the United States. Previously she served as the Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations in New York, a position she held from 2009 to 2013.  In this post, she oversaw a review of the UN Peacebuilding machinery and was tasked by the President of the General Assembly with facilitating preparations for this year’s UN Special Event on the Millennium Development Goals.  Prior to her position in New York, Ambassador Anderson has served as the Ambassador to France from 2005 – 2009, and the Permanent Representative of Ireland to the European Union in Brussels from 2001 – 2005, heading the Irish team during Ireland’s 2004 EU Presidency.  From 1995 – 2001, she served as the Permanent Representative of Ireland to the UN in Geneva, during which Ambassador Anderson chaired the UN Commission on Human Rights in 1999. Her particular focus at the UN has been on development and human rights, as well as gender equality issues.   From her assignments in Brussels and in France, she has a keen interest in EU Affairs and an affinity for France, which she returns to regularly.  She entered the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1972, where she served as Third Secretary and later First Secretary in the Economic Division until 1976.  Since then, she has served as First Secretary of the Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva, First Secretary of the Political Division in the Department of Foreign Affairs, and an Economic Attaché and Press Attaché to the Embassy of Ireland in Washington, DC.  In 1987, Ambassador Anderson returned to the Department of Foreign Affairs as a Counsellor for the Anglo-Irish Division, and then in 1991 served as the Assistant Secretary General for Corporate Services until 1995.  Ambassador Anderson received her B.A. in History and Politics from University College, Dublin, and her Diploma in Legal Studies from Kings Inn, Dublin.  

Desmond Dinan is Professor of Public Policy and holds the Jean Monnet Chair in European Public Policy at George Mason University. He has been an adviser to the European Commission in Brussels; a Visiting Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for International Relations, The Hague; a Visiting Professor at the College of Europe in Bruges and Natolin; and a Fernand Braudel Senior Fellow at the European University Institute, Florence. He has written extensively on EU history and historiography, and on issues relating to EU institutions and governance.


  • Michael J. Geary

    Global Fellow
    Associate Professor, Modern Europe and the European Union, Faculty of Humanities, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
  • Desmond Dinan

    Professor of Public Policy and the Jean Monet Chair in European Public Policy at George Mason University
  • Anne Anderson

    Ambassador of Ireland to the United States