As a market on its own, the EU becomes significant because of the large population, the availability of resources and the production opportunities which are present in the region. Of course the EU may not have the lucrative advantages that could be offered by China or other Asian countries but it does have the infrastructure in many places to support business at a level which countries such as India or even China may not be able to provide.
Additionally, as a democratic force and as an international body, the European Union is unique amongst its peers since it has a very complex and highly evolved system of creating and establishing its democracy. Since the treaties of Paris and Rome, the body has been creating, expanding and explaining the democratic principles that have led to its inception. Even though the system designed by the stalwarts of the EU is held in high regard by many critics, there are those who say that the system produced by the organisation is cumbersome, a hindrance to the economy, non-transparent and does not take into account the sprit of democracy.
Therefore, on issues such as the Iraq war and other points which can lead nations to be divided, the EU loses some of its bite because different countries within the union may have different opinions on how the matter should be dealt with. Additionally, the larger powers within the EU often have more weight in international matters than smaller powers. For example, political support for a war which comes from France and Germany has a lot more value than opposition with comes from Romania or Italy.
Even the EU itself realises that the balance of power between countries as it had been maintained by the treaties needs to reflect in the ways it deals with the world if it has to have a significant global impact. The current distribution gives too much power to smaller members and it has been pointed out that when the EU increases its number to 25 members, the group of seven smallest countries would represent only 1.25% of the total EU GDP while they will have more voting rights than the six largest member countries that contribute more than 80% of the total GDP (Hain, 2003). Such inequalities will certainly create and increase democratic issues and may be a threat to the stability of the union as a whole.
On the other hand, the economic value of a country adds to the political clout that country has within the European Union even if the application of the one country, one vote rule remains firm. With that idea, the wishes of the majority of the countries are represented and turned into laws while the majority of individual Europeans living in those countries may be against the creation of that very same law (Beetham & Lord, 1998). In a way it represents the same issues which the American presidential election system faces where a majority of votes from the general public may be defeated by a majority of votes in the Electoral College. This democratic deficit weakens the position of the EU as a law making body and a force for the unification of the continent.
For example, the European draft constitution, when it was presented, was given very diverse views from the member nations. The UK opinion was to look at