Bulgaria and Romania Join the European Union
On 1 January 2007, Romania and Bulgaria became the EU's newest members and Slovenia adopted the euro.
In June 2009 the 2009 elections which later led to a renewal of Barroso's Commission Presidency and in July of that year Iceland formally applied for EU membership. On 1 December 2009 the Lisbon Treaty came into force after a protracted and controversial birth. This reformed many aspects of the EU but in particular created a permanent President of the European Council, the first of which is Herman van Rompuy, and a strengthened High Representative, Catherine Ashton.
Romania was the first country of Central and Eastern Europe to have official relations with the European Community. In 1974, a treaty included Romania in the Community's Generalized System of Preferences. Since the Romanian Revolution of 1989, European Union (EU) membership has been the main goal of every Romanian Government and practically every political party in Romania. Romania signed its Europe Agreement in 1993 and submitted its official application for membership in the EU in 1995, the third of the post-Cold War Eastern European countries to do so after Hungary and Poland. Along with its official EU application, Romania submitted the “Snagov Declaration”, signed by all fourteen major political parties declaring their full support for EU membership.
Enlargement of the European Union is the process of expanding the European Union (EU) through the accession of new member states. This process began with the Inner Six, who founded the European Coal and Steel Community (the EU's predecessor) in 1952. Since then, the EU's membership has grown to twenty-seven with the most recent expansion to Bulgaria and Romania in 2007.
Currently, accession negotiations are under way with several states. The process of enlargement is sometimes referred to as European integration. However, this term is also used to refer to the intensification of co-operation between EU member states as national governments allow for the gradual harmonisation of national laws.
To join the European Union, a state needs to fulfil economic and political conditions called the Copenhagen criteria (after the Copenhagen summit in June 1993), which require a stable democratic government that respects the rule of law, and its corresponding freedoms and institutions. According to the Maastricht Treaty, each current member state and the European Parliament must agree to any enlargement.