: Guardian: Once-expanding EU prepares to contract for the first time in its history

15:07 Jul. 22, 2016

Guardian: Once-expanding EU prepares to contract for the first time in its history

Protesters rally against President Yanukovych's decision not to sign Ukraine-EU Association Agreement, November 22, 2013. (UNIAN Photo)

The UK's vote to leave the EU comes as enlargement fatigue dampens the hopes of Ukraine and others of membership

Johannes Hahn's job title sounds a little incongruous these days: he's the EU commissioner for European neighbourhood policy and enlargement negotiations. The job title was created in the late 1990s during a period of optimism and expansion. But now, thanks to the will of 52% of British voters, the EU looks set to contract rather than enlarge for the first time in its history.

There are still six candidate countries for EU membership, in the process of making formal applications to join the bloc, as well as a number of other countries with various levels of association. But with many in the EU wary and sceptical of further expansion, the only enlargement negotiations going on at the moment are about managing the expectations of countries that want to join.

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