Transfer stimulates dialogue between the European trade union movement and the academic and research community. It contributes research findings on issues of strategic relevance for trade unions, in particular with regard to developments at the European level. Transfer publishes original peer-reviewed research on issues such as new developments in industrial relations, social policy, and labour market developments.

Volume 9 Issue 1, Spring 2003

The Copenhagen European Council summit finally gave the go-ahead to ten candidate countries to accede to the European Union in May 2004 enabling them to join prior to the European elections. On 8 March the people of the island of Malta were the first to say ‘Yes’ to EU accession. More than a decade after the fall of the Communist regimes of central and eastern Europe, the shock of economic and political transformation, and a long and arduous process of negotiation, the Maltese referendum success means that the EU has taken the first hurdle in the home straight that will lead to the unification of Europe. Few doubt that the remaining hurdles – referenda in the other acceding countries and ratification by the existing 15 Member States – will also be cleared. Whereas past attempts at European unification have resulted from the power lust of tyrants and dictators and have resulted in enormous human misery and oppression, European unification is now to be achieved as a result of the free will of peoples, based on common democratic values and against a background of domestic peace and stability.

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