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Many people equate the European Union with Europe, overlooking a few nuances along the way. From a historical point of view, of course, it is clear that the EU, having contributed to ending centuries of war and violent conflict among its member states, nowadays embodies the antithesis of pre-1945 Europe. But the looming British exit from the EU has reminded us of something fundamental that had been hidden until now: The EU's tendency to expand is not irreversible, and the EU's continued existence as a political entity cannot, and should not, be taken for granted. Two key dynamics have marked the EU's trajectory over the years, and that of the European Communities before it. In 2004, those same countries joined the EU, along with seven others.At the time, European integration was valued because it did not entail any de facto loss of sovereignty; on the contrary, the EU offered great socio-economic advantages, enabling its members to maximize their international influence.
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