On January 01, 2007 in total membership of the bloc were 25 member states. The last two members to join were Bulgaria and Romania. These two are the poorest members of EU. They comprise less than 1% off its GDP while contributing 6% of the EU's population. But these economies are growing fast, at about 5-7% per year. (BBC News) Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have received "candidate" status as a precursor of membership. Turkey also started membership talks in October, 2005. Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia are also expected to start discussions for membership. But these countries will have to face increasing opposition to enlargement of EU from some member states. The major opposition comes from five member states - Austrian, France, Germany, Luxembourg and United Kingdom.
2.2 There was serious opposition when the idea of a European union was first broached. The main arguments offered against enlargement were: it would lead to mass immigration from poorer countries to the richer nations, with the result that poor countries would take away jobs from the richer ones and companies also would relocate to countries which offer lower labour costs and lower social protection; the poor countries would require huge subsidies from the richer member states. But several arguments were also given in favour of the enlargement. Most of these arguments have been borne out by fact, giving support to the policy of enlargement. The main economic argument in favour of enlargement is that access to more countries would stimulate and boost long term dynamic economic growth in the relatively poor economies. There would be gains from trade and investment benefiting the EU member states, along with an expansion of the internal market by nearly 500 million consumers offering major growth opportunities in all the member states. It is estimated that there would be an increase in the economic growth to the tune of 60-80 billion and expansion of 300,000 new jobs as a result of enlargement. ("The Economic and Business Benefits of Enlargement," 2001)
3. Factors of Growth
3.1 The economic gains are expected to be driven by four factors:
1. An increase in foreign direct investment and capital flows among the member states, due to a common political and regulatory framework and a level playing field for all 27 or more economies.
2. An increase in immigration would, contrary to expectations, drive economic growth, and the cheaper labour which will become available to the richer European nations would help in competing against low labour cost countries like India or China. The richer member states would be gaining more from being members of a single market than it costs them in transfers to the poorer countries.
3. An increase in business confidence across all the countries of the European Union would be helpful in rising trading and skills standards, improving productivity, technology transfers, modernizing plant and equipment and providing with better environment and social standards.
4. The European Union would increase confidence in the political and economic futures of its member states, and require legal and administrative reform, and stable laws, regulations and standards with better implementation. This enables companies to