The number of member states in the European Union is growing substantially in a short amount of time. Ten new countries acceded into the “Club of 15” on May 1 2004, with Bulgaria and Romania following in 2007. Furthermore, the European Council decided to enter into accession talks with Turkey following a contentious recommendation from the Commission in December 2004. Croatia and Macedonia have also become accession candidates. The economic performance of most new EU member states pales in comparison to old member states and has sparked an academic debate regarding the EU’s ability to economically and politically integrate these countries.