Despite the criticism some eastern members of the European Union have directed toward Brussels, the core geopolitical reasons that persuaded Central and Eastern European countries to apply for membership have not disappeared.
In its mission to bring peace and prosperity to a landmass wracked by war, the European Union has always been a marriage of convenience. Between 2004 and 2007, the union incorporated several countries from Central and Eastern Europe into its expanding bloc. EU governments and institutions viewed enlargement as a path toward fostering the emergence of prosperous, democratic and stable nations on its eastern border after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In turn, the new member states regarded EU membership as a gateway to funds, investment, modernization and protection. In exchange for Brussels' financial largesse, new members introduced deep economic, political and institutional reforms to comply with EU standards. Now, however, the increasing unwillingness of eastern members to heed the EU's demands threatens to deepen the divide between the bloc's west and east....
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