Notes on European Union Data
On May 1, 2004, ten new member states joined the European Union (EU), increasing EU membership from fifteen to twenty-five countries. With the ten acceding member states, the new EU-25 now encompasses 455 million people and land area of over 1.5 million square miles. While this accession is unprecedented in scope, EU enlargement is not a new concept. There have been four other enlargements since the original six signatories of the Treaty of Rome established the European Economic Community in 1958.
1958 – France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands,
1973 – Denmark, Ireland, and the United Kingdom
1981 – Greece
1986 – Spain and Portugal
1995 – Austria, Finland and Sweden
2004 – Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia
Conditions for membership are broadly outlined in the 1993
Maastricht Treaty, which notes (in Article 49) that any European state, which
respects the principles of liberty, democracy, human rights, fundamental
freedoms, and the rule of law may apply to join the EU.
These conditions are further defined by the “Copenhagen criteria.”
All new member states are expected to adopt the so-called acquis communautaire, the approximately 80,000 pages of EU law, which set the framework for EU membership. Bulgaria and Romania are expected to join the EU in 2007. Croatia will begin membership negotiations in 2005. No timetable has yet been set for Turkey and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
In 2001, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) began to consolidate data from individual EU member states into single EU data sets. Starting with the October 2001 Foreign Agricultural Service Circular issue of Livestock and Poultry: World Markets and Trade (FAS DLP 2-01), EU data for livestock, poultry, and meat were reported as a single (EU-15) entity in the production, supply, and distribution (PSD) database. At the same time, data sets for individual member states were discontinued. For beef and pork, the EU-15 historical data series prior to the year 2000 were based on individual member state data. For poultry, EU-15 data for the years prior to 1997 were derived from individual member state data. After 1997 (for poultry), and after 2000 (for beef and pork), the EU-15 historical data sets were based on Eurostat data.
The newly expanded EU-25 presents a significant challenge in maintaining consistency with existing historical data sets. Only three of the ten new member states (Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic) have historically scheduled USDA livestock and/or poultry annual reports. The fact that EU accession occurred in the fifth month of the calendar year adds a further complication. Beginning with this publication, USDA data will consider the full EU-25 membership for the 2004 and 2005 forecasts. Furthermore, in order to provide 5-year historical data sets (1999-2003), data for the EU-15 and the CEEC-10 have been aggregated to form the new EU-25 data series. After 1999, the EU-15 data series are discontinued.