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The European Union has grown from 6 to 25 members. Bulgaria and Romania are expected to join in 2007. Croatia and Turkey have started negotiations 3 October 2005. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, was granted status as a candidate country in December 2005 by the European Council, but accession negotiations have not started yet.

To become a Member State a country must satisfy the economic and political conditions known as the “Copenhagen criteria”. In addition to having a stable democracy, respecting human rights, the countries must have a functioning market economy and adopt the common rules, standards and policies that make up the body of EU law.

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