WI: The European Union doesn't incorporate former East Bloc countries as members?

How do you think history would be different if the EU decides not to accept countries like Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Croatia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia?

How do you think the political climate of these countries, and the Western EU states would be different if these countries were outright denied for acceptance into the EU from Day One?

Here in Hungary at least, I remember a certain degree of antagonism towards the EU onwards from the day we joined in the May of 2004.

The EU-flag was hung on our school building when we were 13-14 year olds, and there were already fellow students urging us to spit on the EU-flag.

When we entered Geography class, our teacher told us: "First the USSR, then now the EU. We step out of a pile of a cow shit, then we step into another!"
 

Jessicajess

Banned
They would form their own organization, with Poland as the leader.

Would NATO also abstain from incorporating these countries? If they do, then the Baltics would probably fall into Moscow's orbit.
 

Orangecar

Banned
Hmm, depends. If they don't join the EU does that mean they also don't join Nato?
I suppose that means that
Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia,Albania, Croatia,Montenegro,North Macedonia all do not join Nato and remain within Russias orbit. Perhaps Russia's own Eurasian economic Union could gobble up the left overs.
 
As the large numbers of East European migrants had a lot to do with the rise of the Anti EU movement Brexit probably wouldn't have happened.
 
On one hand, Eastern Europe wanted to get into the EU bad, going through all sorts of crazy hoops to do so. However, if Eastern Europe was at the same level as Turkey in terms of membership denial, that's going to be a problem as they were already linked through CEFTA. One possible solution I could see would be if CEFTA decided early on to associate with EFTA, and hence CEFTA as an extension of the EEA. While during the 1990s EFTA was much smaller than what it was at its heyday (in 1994, Austria, Sweden, and Finland left the EFTA and joined the EU IOTL; ITTL, things may be different), if EFTA could be renewed through Eastern Europe it would make for a very interesting relationship. Most Eastern European states will want to join NATO, anyway, because both are separate organizations and joining one does not necessiatate as a precondition joining the other. That's not going to be an issue. What would be an issue would be how integrated economically would Eastern Europe want to be with Western Europe. The Visegrad countries would probably want a deep integration at all costs, but everyone else would be an open question.

There's another factor that would be involved. Per the Wiki article on EFTA,
Between 1994 and 2011, EFTA memberships for Andorra, San Marino, Monaco, the Isle of Man, Turkey, Israel, Morocco, and other European Neighbourhood Policy partners were discussed.[15]
If true, and if Eastern Europe became EFTA members instead of EU members, then alongside the European microstates, it could provide a way for Turkey and the post-Soviet states to "join Europe" in a less stringent manner if EFTA was seen as a viable alternative and not just simply a tool of the ENP. A back-door version of European integration, if you will.
 
Probably EU still would expand to Eastern Europe but with much slower speed and not take these all at once. Probably there would be lesser migration from Eastern Europe and so probably no Brexit. Unfortunately we can't still avoid Euro crisis from occuring.
 

BigBlueBox

Banned
Probably EU still would expand to Eastern Europe but with much slower speed and not take these all at once. Probably there would be lesser migration from Eastern Europe and so probably no Brexit. Unfortunately we can't still avoid Euro crisis from occuring.
Unless this butterflies away the 2014-2018 migrant crisis or Tories agreeing to a Brexit referendum then Brexit will still occur.
 
How do you think history would be different if the EU decides not to accept countries like Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Croatia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia?

How do you think the political climate of these countries, and the Western EU states would be different if these countries were outright denied for acceptance into the EU from Day One?

Here in Hungary at least, I remember a certain degree of antagonism towards the EU onwards from the day we joined in the May of 2004.

The EU-flag was hung on our school building when we were 13-14 year olds, and there were already fellow students urging us to spit on the EU-flag.

When we entered Geography class, our teacher told us: "First the USSR, then now the EU. We step out of a pile of a cow shit, then we step into another!"

Well, what happens instead of EU membership for these countries? Are the Czech republic, Hungary, Poland etc all treated like Serbia and Russia have in OTL? Does EU aid and cheap American loans still flood Eastern and Central Europe, only accompanied by a different political approach? And does the EU flirt with these countries before spurning them, like Turkey in OTL, or does the EU make clear from day 1 that they are not taking in any formerly Communist entrants?

The answer to these questions have a big impact on what happens.

For example, to re-fit the economies of Eastern Europe was something that took billions of Euros, Marks and Dollars, if formerly Communist Europe doesn't get the money to refit and upgrade, it all turns into something like Russia is today, with the neo-liberal advice of the Americans being taken and combined with the political and economic power of the manager-class from the Communist days and the whole region gets to enjoy the worst features of their Communist-era economic system combined with the worst features of Capitalism. Also sorts of "interesting" political events doubtless follow as a result.

If there are no EU subsidies, but there are cheap American (and French and German and British) loans, then some sort of short term economic renaissance follows the fall of Communism, as per OTL, but when the next major economic crisis happens things to go worse than OTL. Again, lots of ways that could go.

If the EU flirts with Central and Eastern European countries, but ultimately rejects them as happened with Turkey maybe there'd be a successful push to create an East European economic union, including Turkey which would turn into an ideological component to the West European Union that rejected them all.

Hungary probably does end up looking better. At least according to my limited understanding of what's gone on there in recent years (after the 90s, my knowledge of Hungarian history goes from excellent to poor) which is basically that the EU failed to be properly diligent about how the subsidies being poured into Hungary were spent. But there are plenty of ways this could get far worse than OTL too.

fasquardon
 
The EU would have migrant crisis earlier. With migrants from Eastern Europe attempts to enter EU. Whether they be accepted, formalized as guest worker, or rejected outright would be controversial.
 
They would be poorer, with much higher unemployment and politically less stable - you can safely predict this.

I doubt in any serious organization among them
 
Non-Europeans have hard time in grasping the political mood of 1990s, when the general idea was that Western market economy and parliamentary democracy were on the march. Leaving Eastern Europe down and out was simply not a realistic opinion for any European politician willing to stay in power. The Balkans were (and are) a different story.
 
An expanded Visegrád Group with negotiated trade relations with the EU?

I had something like that as a half assed idea in a TL

Here is a minor/rough map to help illustrate modern divisions ITTL's Europe:

View attachment 230251

European Economic Area (simply a free trade/customs agreement):
European Community (EC) (think EU+)
Visegrad Group (V5) (equal integration as our EU)
Nordic Union (NU) (think A Nordic Twist to Europe)
Baltic Confederacy (BC) (the most integrated of them all)
European Free Trade Association (OTL standards, Malta and Luxembourg included)


Sovereign Union + Eurasian Customs Union

View attachment 230251
1588947494811.png
 
Every European country that fulfills the Copenhagen criteria has a right to join.

So you need major butterflies here, likely destroying the EU itself.
 
If NATO still expands east, there isn't that big a geopolitical difference. The Russians will still be very irked.

Do Sweden, Finland, and Austria still join the European Union? If Visegrad puts more emphasis on the EFTA, that might swing the Swedish and Finnish referendums the other way. Austria voted to join Germany by a two to one margin so they likely still join.

I could imagine there being a Nordic Union of Sweden, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania (Denmark was already in the EU) as an alternative to the EU.

The EU might be a smaller, more compact, and more tightly integrated entity TTL. There'd be less frustration over immigration in the UK, but there'd likely be more anger over loss of political sovereignty - although Cameron did negotiate a pretty generous sweetheart deal for the UK OTL.

Also, freedom of movement could still occur outside of the EU. There are countries in the EU outside of the Schengen Zone and countries outside of the EU inside the Schengen zone.
 
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The Intermarium idea would almost certainly resurface in such a scenario - "the Russian threat still looms large in the east and the west has abandoned us, we must band together to resist and survive!"
 
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