23 countries are not part of the EU today. Some of these countries aim to join the economic union themselves. Others have not yet expressed their desire to join the EU.
A list of European countries that are not part of the EU
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- North Macedonia
- San Marino
- United Kingdom
Some of these countries cannot and will not join the EU. Russia is the best example as it’s the least likely to enter the economic union. United Kingdom left the EU in 2020 in a bid to regain control over its laws and borders.
Other countries are looking to join the EU. This process is mostly limited to aligning local laws to the laws of the EU. Albania, Bosnia, and Turkey are among the countries that are aligning local laws to EU regulation standards.
Countries that don’t want to be in the EU even if they could
Other developed European countries could be part of the EU but they prefer not to. Switzerland, Iceland, and Norway are not part of the union. These countries are some of the best in the world for happiness and high living standards. As a result, they are less likely to change these parameters which keeps their citizens happy.
While not part of the EU, these countries have certain trade deals with the union. Each tax exemption on the trading of goods is personally negotiated with the EU. These countries have been negotiating their trade deals and free movement deals with the EU for years. But they remain largely independent and still successful.
Is there a point for these countries joining the EU?
The point of the EU was to create economic stability and free trading among its states. This has the potential to trigger economic growth. There are true examples of how its member states increased their GDP after the EU accession.
Bulgaria doubled its GPD since it joined the EU in 2007. Back then, the country had a GDP of $5.800 per capita. In 2019, Bulgaria had a GPD of $9.700 per capita. The country hasn’t had constant growth every year since 2007, but in general, its income per capita has increased, and the amount of public money that can be spent on each citizen increased.
European countries that cannot join the EU
Some countries cannot join the EU due to open military conflict. Ukraine, Moldova, and even Turkey are countries undergoing military and para-military presence which makes them the least likely countries to join the union at the moment.
Ukraine is in conflict with Russia on its Eastern border. Moldova has a Russian military presence in its Eastern Transnistria region. Turkey has rising political conflicts and military interventions in Syria which limit its ability to swiftly join the EU. Human rights have also been reported as troublesome in these 3 countries, at least compared to those of EU member states.