Apart from the need for each candidate state to ratify its country’s membership, tensions remain over what sort of Europe they will be joining. Divisions have also emerged between pro-Europeans and pro-Americans and the results of institutional reform are still in the balance.
On April 16, ten states are scheduled to sign the Treaty of Accession, a key staging post in their path to membership of the European Union (EU). After several years of transition and strenuous attempts to reform their economic and political systems to suit the demands of the Union, eight central and east European countries plus Malta and Cyprus anticipate joining in May next year. Bulgaria and Romania are scheduled to follow in 2007 and Turkey hopes to start negotiations sometime after December 2004.