Croatian International Relations Review

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Marjan Svetlicic, Bostjan Udovic

The present article explores the options of future EU member states regarding their ac-cession to the EU It weighs the benefits of inclusion at the earliest possible convenience on the one side, and their later accession, on the other side. The analysis is conducted in three areas of importance for the timing of EU membership, namely the area of political stability and security,the area of economic development and competitiveness, and the area of maintenance of national sovereignty and cultural identity. The results indicate that benefits of early accession outweigh weaknesses and it is thus imperative for the candidate countries to accede to the EU as soon as possible.This is even moreimpor-tant at these times of financial crisis, since the EU does provide a greater financial and economic stability to its members as opposed to the potential stability they would have were they to remain outside the EU integration.