This morning’s Independent had a map of the EU on its cover this morning (concerning which states may hold a referendum on the constitution), but looking at it, another thought struck me. When the ten new member states join the EU next month, for the first time in its history republics will heavily outnumber monarchies within the EU. Of course, all monarchies within the EU are constitutional and limited monarchies, but the two forms have always been in close balance throughout the EU’s history.
The original six members who signed the Treaty of Rome in 1957 were balanced: Three republics (France, Germany, Italy), two kingdoms (Belgium and the Netherlands) and one Grand Duchy (Luxembourg), giving a 3-3 split. The first enlargement in 1973 placed the monarchies in the lead for the first and only time with the UK and Denmark making them five-strong to only 4 republics (now including Ireland). Balance was restored with the accession of Greece eight years later and maintained with the addition of Spain and Portugal in 1986.
The republics took the lead for the first time in 1995, adding Finland and Austria to their ranks, with only Sweden joining the monarchies. Exact balance, of course, is impossible with an odd number of members, yet had Norway decided to join then, balance would have been maintained.
However, that balance will be lost, probably forever with the next ten members, all of whom are republics, none of whom seem to be likely to be restoring or introducing a monarchy in the near future. The closest any of the new members come to a monarchy are Malta and Cyprus, both members of the Commonwealth which has the UK’s Queen Elizabeth at its head. Indeed, balance seems likely to never be restored with Norway and Liechtenstein (and perhaps Morocco in the long term) the only monarchies left to not be members.
Of course, this has very little effect on the politics and operation of the EU, but I thought it was a interesting point of trivia worth noting.