1995 enlargement of the European Union

The 1995 enlargement of the European Union saw Austria, Finland, and Sweden accede to the European Union (EU). This was the EU's fourth enlargement and came into effect on 1 January of that year. All these states were previous members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and had traditionally been less interested in joining the EU than other European countries. Norway had negotiated to join alongside the other three but following the signing of the treaty, membership was turned down by the Norwegian electorate in the 1994 national referendum. Switzerland also applied for membership on 26 May 1992, but withdrew it after a negative referendum result on 6 December 1992 (and that was not changed after a second negative referendum result on 4 March 2001).

EU15-1995 European Union map enlargement
The 1995 enlargement: Austria, Finland, and Sweden in yellow.

Closer links

The three states, plus Norway and Switzerland (which never joined due to their referendum results) began to look at stronger ties with the EU (which was the European Economic Community (EEC) before 1993) towards the end of the 1980s for three principal reasons: the 1980s economic downturn in Europe, difficulties for EFTA companies to export to the EU and the end of the Cold War.[1]

After the 1970s Europe experienced a downturn which led to leaders launching of the Single European Act which set to create a single market by 1992. The effect of this was that EFTA states found it harder to export to the EEC and businesses (including large EFTA corporations such as Volvo) wished to relocate within the new single market making the downturn worse for EFTA. EFTA states began to discuss closer links with the EEC despite its domestic unpopularity.[1]

Finally, Austria, Finland and Sweden were neutral in the Cold War so membership of an organisation developing a common foreign and security policy would be incompatible with that. As that obstacle was removed, the desire to pursue membership grew stronger.[1]


However membership was still domestically unpopular and the then-EEC was also uninterested in another enlargement. The EEC had begun working on the creation of a common currency and did not want another enlargement to divert their attention away from that project. Commission President Jacques Delors proposed the European Economic Area to give EFTA access to the EU's internal market without full membership. While they would not have a say in the creation of EU law, it would be easier to sell to their electorates.[1]

However businesses did not accept that the EEA members would be equal members of the single market and investment flows did not return to normal. The large manufacturers in Sweden were instrumental in pushing government policy further towards membership rather than remaining with the EEA, which the export focused industries found insufficient. The economic pressures overcame long standing opposition from the social democrat governments which saw the EU as too neo-liberal and a danger to Nordic capitalism. Firms were only kept within Sweden by devaluations of the Swedish krona, a strategy which was unsustainable in the long term.[1]

The EEA was damaged further with the Swiss electorate voted against it. Austria, Finland, Norway and Sweden all applied for full membership of the EU and the EU agreed to enter negotiations. The EU's change of heart was also due to predicted enlargement of the EU towards countries mostly in central Europe, invited by the European Commission in 1997, and hence the wealthy EFTA members would help balance the EU budget.[1]


On 30 March 1994, accession negotiations concluded with Austria, Sweden, Finland and Norway. Their accession treaties were signed on 25 June of that year. Each country held referendums on entry resulting on entry for all except Norway (its second failed referendum);

  • Austria - 66.6% in favour (June 12); application submitted in July 1989
  • Finland - 56.9% in favour (October 16); application submitted in March 1992 (separate referendum held in Åland)
  • Sweden - 52.8% in favour (November 13); application submitted in July 1991
  • Norway - 47.8% in favour (November 28); application submitted in December 1992

Austria, Finland and Sweden became EU members on 1 January 1995. Sweden held their elections to the European Parliament for its MEPs later that year on 17 September. The following year, Austria held its elections on 13 October and Finland on 20 October.

Remaining areas of inclusion

Austria, Sweden, Finland became members on 1 January 1995, but some areas of cooperation in the European Union will apply to some of the EU member states at a later date. These are:


The impact of the 1995 enlargement was smaller than most as the members were wealthy and already culturally aligned with existing members. It did however create a Nordic block in the Council, with Sweden and Finland backing up Denmark on environmental and human rights issues (which Austria also backed up) and the Nordic countries also called for membership of the Baltic states. As net contributors to the EU budget, they also increased the voice for budgetary reform.[1]

Before the 1995 enlargement, the EU had ten treaty languages: Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Irish, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. However, due to the 1995 enlargement, two new official languages were added: Swedish (which is an official language of both Sweden and Finland) and Finnish.

This enlargement began to show the problems with the EU's institutional structure, such as the size of the Commission (with minor jobs insulting the state receiving them) and the Council's voting rules meaning states representing 41% of the population could be outvoted. This resulted in the increase in the blocking minority in the Council and the loss of the larger states' second European Commissioner. Planning also began on new amending treaties to ready the block for the next enlargement.[1]

Member countries Population Area (km²) GDP
(billion US$)
per capita (US$)
 Austria 8,206,524 83,871 145.238 18,048 German
 Finland 5,261,008 338,145 80.955 15,859 Finnish
 Sweden 9,047,752 449,964 156.640 17,644 Swedish
Accession countries 22,029,977 871,980 382.833 17,378 2 new
European Union EU15 (1995) 372,939,379
European Union EU12 (1994) 350,909,402 2,495,174 5,894.232 16,797 9

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Bache, Ian and Stephen George (2006) Politics in the European Union, Oxford University Press. p543-547
1973 enlargement of the European Communities

The 1973 enlargement of the European Communities was the first enlargement of the European Communities (EC), now the European Union (EU). Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom (UK) acceded to the EC on 1 January 1973. Gibraltar and Greenland also joined the EC as part of the United Kingdom and Denmark respectively, but the Faroe Islands, the British Overseas Territories and the Crown dependencies of the United Kingdom did not join the EC.

Ireland and Denmark both held referenda in 1972 in May and October respectively, and the UK held a referendum in 1975, on membership of the EC, all which approved membership of the EC. Norway planned to accede, but this was rejected in a referendum held in September 1972. Norway later reapplied to join, but voters again rejected the proposal in a 1994 referendum.

Greenland later withdrew from the EC on 1 January 1985 after a referendum in 1982. This was followed by the UK holding a referendum in 2016 on membership which resulted in the United Kingdom voting to leave the now EU.

1981 enlargement of the European Communities

The 1981 enlargement of the European Communities was the second enlargement of what is now the European Union, then the European Communities (EC). Greece acceded to the EEC on 1 January 1981. It is considered a part of the Mediterranean enlargement.

1986 enlargement of the European Communities

The 1986 enlargement of the European Communities was the third enlargement of what is now the European Union, then the European Communities (EC). Spain and Portugal acceded to the EC on 1 January 1986. It is considered a part of the Mediterranean enlargement.

1994 European Parliament election

The 1994 European Parliamentary Election was a European election held across the 12 European Union member states in June 1994.

This election saw the merge of the European People's Party and European Democrats, an increase in the overall number of seats (567 members were elected to the European Parliament) and a fall in overall turnout to 57%.

The five years which had passed since the previous election had seen enormous political upheavals in Europe. These changes included the end of communism in Europe, German reunification, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Velvet Divorce in Czechoslovakia and the breakup of Yugoslavia. The integration of five former East German states and Berlin into the Federal Republic of Germany had constituted the first physical expansion of the EC since 1986. The end of the Cold War meant three politically neutral states in Europe had begun a process of acceding to the EU that would culminate in the 1995 enlargement of the European Union. The EU itself had assumed its current name through adoption of the Treaty of Maastricht in 1993.

2004 enlargement of the European Union

The 2004 enlargement of the European Union was the largest single expansion of the European Union (EU), in terms of territory, number of states, and population to date; however, it was not the largest in terms of gross domestic product. It occurred on 1 May 2004.

The simultaneous accessions concerned the following countries (sometimes referred to as the "A10" countries): Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Seven of these were part of the former Eastern Bloc (of which three were from the former Soviet Union and four were and still are members of the Central European alliance Visegrád Group), one of the former Yugoslavia (together sometimes referred to as the "A8" countries), and the remaining two were Mediterranean islands and former British colonies.

Part of the same wave of enlargement was the accession of Bulgaria and Romania in 2007, who were unable to join in 2004, but, according to the Commission, constitute part of the fifth enlargement.

2007 enlargement of the European Union

The 2007 enlargement of the European Union saw Bulgaria and Romania join the European Union (EU) on 1 January 2007. Together with the 2004 enlargement of the European Union, it is considered part of the fifth wave of enlargement of the European Union.

2013 enlargement of the European Union

The 2013 enlargement of the European Union saw Croatia join the European Union as its 28th member state on 1 July 2013.

The country applied for EU membership in 2003, and the European Commission recommended making it an official candidate in early 2004. Candidate country status was granted to Croatia by the European Council in mid-2004. The entry negotiations, while originally set for March 2005, began in October that year together with the screening process.

The accession process of Croatia was complicated by the insistence of Slovenia, an EU member state, that the two countries' border issues be dealt with prior to Croatia's accession to the EU. Croatian public opinion was generally supportive of the EU accession process, despite occasional spikes in euroscepticism.

Croatia finished accession negotiations on 30 June 2011, and on 9 December 2011, signed the Treaty of Accession. A referendum on EU accession was held in Croatia on 22 January 2012, with 66% of participants voting in favour of joining the Union. The ratification process was concluded on 21 June 2013, and entry into force and accession of Croatia to the EU took place on 1 July 2013.

Margaretha af Ugglas

Märta Margaretha af Ugglas (née Stenbeck; born 5 January 1939) is a Swedish former Moderate Party politician. She was Minister for Foreign Affairs between 1991 and 1994.

She is the daughter of Hugo Stenbeck, the founder of Investment AB Kinnevik, and the sister of Jan Stenbeck who took over that business from their father. She graduated from Stockholm School of Economics, and later married Bertil af Ugglas who became the Party Secretary of the Moderate Party. She fought a bitter feud with her brother over the family fortune, and subsequently withdrew from her brother and Kinnevik.She was an editorial writer at Svenska Dagbladet for five years, and sat in the Swedish Riksdag between 1974 and 1995.

After the election victory in 1991, Margaretha af Ugglas became Sweden's second female Minister for Foreign Affairs. Her term included the finalisation of the negotiations leading up to Sweden's entry into the European Union.In 1992, together with an EU Commissioner and nine other Ministers of Foreign Affairs from the Baltic Sea area, she founded the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) and the EuroFaculty.The Moderate Party lost the 1994 election and she was elected to the European Parliament in 1995.She is a former Chairman of the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation.

Referendums related to the European Union

This is a list of referendums related to the European Union, or referendums related to the European Communities, which were predecessors of the European Union. Since 1972, a total of 48 referendums have been held by EU member states, candidate states, and their territories, with several additional referendums held in countries outside of the EU. The referendums have been held most commonly on the subject of whether to become a member of European Union as part of the accession process, although the EU does not require any candidate country to hold a referendum to approve membership or as part of treaty ratification. Other EU-related referendums have been held on the adoption of the euro and on participation in other EU-related policies.

The United Kingdom is the only EU member state to have held referendums on continued membership of the European Union and its antecedent organisation, the European Communities. In the first referendum in 1975, continued membership of what was then the European Communities (which included the European Economic Community, often referred to as the Common Market in the UK) was approved by 67.2% of voters, while in its second referendum in 2016 voters voted by 51.9% to leave the European Union.Greenland, an autonomous territory of Denmark, voted to leave the EC in a referendum in 1982 by 53% of voters.

Swedes in the United Kingdom

Swedes in the United Kingdom are immigrants from Sweden living in the United Kingdom as well as their British-born descendants. Although only around 38,000 Swedish-born people live in the UK, millions of Britons have some degree of Scandinavian ancestry that dates back over 1,000 years to the Viking invasion of Great Britain. The Swedish community in the UK is amongst the largest in the Swedish diaspora; in 2001 only the United States, Norway and Finland within the OECD had larger Swedish-born populations.

Treaty of Accession 1994

The Treaty of Accession 1994 was the agreement between the member states of the European Union and four countries (Norway, Austria, Finland and Sweden), concerning these countries' accession into the EU. It entered into force on 1 January 1995. The Treaty arranged accession of Austria, Finland and Sweden to the EU and amended earlier Treaties of the European Union. As such it is an integral part of the constitutional basis of the European Union. Norway failed to join the EU because its referendum did not pass.

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