It is easy to find reasons for concern over the European Union's enlargement from 15 to 25 Member States. Weaknesses are evident even as the long-heralded historic moment becomes a practical reality.

Leaky external borders, questionable enforcement of food standards, and unreliability of public administrations in the new Member Statesa

EU failures include the lack of a Constitution - repeatedly claimed to be an indispensable pre-condition for enlargement, and still not agreed.

And as European External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten remarked just this week, the EU still suffers from "the lack of political will to create a more effective external policy".

Fears of mass migration have driven most EU15 governments to bar workers from the new Member States, souring the atmosphere for the celebratory fireworks and concerts. And popular attitudes to enlargement still tend to waver between indifference and hostility.

The final days of the EU15 have produced still more of that curious mix of rhetorical welcome alongside mean-spirited triumphalism over how cheap the whole process has been. "Efforts have been undertaken to ensure that the administrative costs remain compatible with the necessary budgetary rigour", the Commission proudly confirmed this...

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