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Points of Clarity | How Will a Larger EU Community Change the Union’s Character?

January 26, 20241:26

Integrating numerous countries into the EU poses a significant challenge, echoing past expansions. The EU must evolve institutionally, address funding, and redefine representation for a more robust and inclusive future.



Video Transcript

  • The transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

    For the EU itself this is a huge job to integrate so many countries. It's not done anything like it since it brought in the nations of Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. That changed Europe, but in ways that in a sense made it dominated by the Western European countries that they were still in control and in command in a sense. Some of the smaller countries felt for a number of years that they weren't really able to participate as fully as they might, and that is now all changed. It really is a meeting of countries of equal weight in the context of the EU. 

    But going forward, lots of things will have to change. Institutions will have to accept that they need to develop so that they can take in a huge number of countries again. They will need to think about the funding packages, everything from the Common Agricultural Policy to how they designate funds when there are times of crisis. And of course how many MEPs in the European Parliament. 

    So by the end of this long process everything will be different. But what I believe we will have is a much stronger Europe, and Europe is able to guarantee the future for the people who live within it.


The Right Honourable Catherine Ashton, Baroness of Upholland

Baroness Catherine Ashton

Slater Family Distinguished Fellow;
Former Vice President of the European Commission and former High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
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Global Europe Program

The Global Europe Program addresses vital issues affecting the European continent, US-European relations, and Europe’s ties with the rest of the world. We investigate European approaches to critical global issues: digital transformation, climate, migration, global governance. We also examine Europe’s relations with Russia and Eurasia, China and the Indo-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. Our program activities cover a wide range of topics, from the role of NATO, the European Union and the OSCE to European energy security, trade disputes, challenges to democracy, and counter-terrorism. The Global Europe Program’s staff, scholars-in-residence, and Global Fellows participate in seminars, policy study groups, and international conferences to provide analytical recommendations to policy makers and the media.  Read more