The EU today marks the 5th anniversary of the accession in 2004 of eight Central and Eastern European countries, as well as Malta and Cyprus, to the European Union.
“EU enlargement has served as an anchor of stability and democracy and as a driver of personal freedom and economic dynamism,” said EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn at a conference in Prague commemorating this historic event as well as the 20th anniversary of the fall of the iron curtain. “It has advanced the rule of law and protection of human rights. It reunited a Europe divided by the Cold War and helped to bring about peaceful democratic change and extended the area of freedom and prosperity to almost 500 million people. For the citizens in this part of Europe, this marked a return to their historical European home.” Commissioner Rehn also noted that enlargement has significantly increased the EU’s weight in the world. MORE