Comparison Between the Legal Particularities of Romania's and the United Kingdom's Membership of the European Union

AuthorMaria-Cristina Solacolu
PositionPhD Candidate, Faculty of Law, 'Nicolae Titulescu' University of Bucharest (e-mail:
Maria-Cristina SOLACOLU
Since its early accession to the European Economic Community (the predecessor of the
European Union), the United Kingdom has, at times, shown itself reluctant to fully integrate and adopt
the acquis communautaire. The UK has chosen to negotiate several opt-outs more than any other
Member State regarding certain EU policies, with notable examples being the Monetary Union and
the Schengen Agreement. Despite being granted such exemptions, the UK has remained a more
sceptical member of the EU and has become the first to ever invoke the applicability of Article 50 of
the Treaty on European Union, starting the process of withdrawal from the organisation. According to
the terms provided by Article 50, the completion of said process should take place in the first half of
2019, coinciding with the rotating Presidency of the Council being taken over by Romania, who only
joined the EU in 2007. Its legal standing is noticeably different compared to that of the UK: Romania’s
participation in the aforementioned EU policies, which the UK has opted out of, is mandatory, but
conditioned by the fulfilment of specific criteria. Romania is also, alongside Bulgaria, the object of
certain safeguard measures designed to address the specific issues faced by the two states.
The purpose of this article is to compare certain legal particularities that characterise
Romania’s and the United Kingdom’s membership of the EU, and to determine their consequences with
regard to each of the two states’ relationship with the organisation, as well as to the complex position
the EU finds itself in during the first half of 2019.
Keywords: Opt-out Integration Area of Freedom, Security and Justice Schengen
Agreement Economic and Monetary Union.
1. Introduction
The United Kingdom, while a strong
proponent of the free market and of the
liberalisation of trade, has often been
considered one of the more reticent Member
States with regard to the integration process
and the transfer of powers toward the
PhD Candidate, Faculty of Law, Nicolae Titulescu University of Bucharest (e-mail:
1 The United Kingdom decided not to take part in the Schuman Plan, that lead to the establishment of the
European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1952, and later withdrew from the negotiations held at Messina
regarding the creation of the European Economic Community (EEC) and the European Atomic Energy Community
(Euratom). The UK finally joined the European Communities in 1973; its first application to join the European
Communities had been made in 1961, and its second in 1967, but both had been vetoed by France.
2 Helen Parr, Britain’s Policy towards the European Community. Harold Wilson and Britain’s world role, 1964
1967, Routledge, 2006, p 1.
European Union, starting with its refusal to
participate in the founding of the European
Communities1 - a decision which has since
been called a mistake by some historians2
and continuing, after the UK’s eventual
accession, with its attempts to steer the
organisations towards enlargement, as
opposed to the deepening of the integration

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