Earlier experience with accession to the EU is examined with special regard to the cases of Ireland and other small states. The article reviews the original motives of the six EU founding members, and presents the factors affecting the success of new candidates. The inclusion of new members will makes EU foreign policy more complicated and generate fear of migrant workers. While the political and economic position of the small states has been strenghtened strongly, this may not hold to the same extent once the EU becomes a grouping of 25 states. Unless they act as a group the small states may find themselves neglected although their their economy and democracy will nevetheless be strengthened.