Twelve countries from Central and Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean joined the UE in two waves in 2004 and 2007. The latest wave was the largest ever enlargement of the UE and a historic step towards unifying Europe after several decades of division. Five years after the 2004 accessions, the enlargement has emerged as a major success for the UE and its citizens.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||General view of the town Prague
||Cutaways - Prague Congress Center
||Entrance of José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, with Mirek Topolanek, Czech Prime Minister and President in office of the Council of the EU
||SOUNDBITE (in Czech) by Mirek Topolanek, Czech Prime Minister: We have to say 'no' to protectionism and say 'yes' to economic cooperation and integration, which have brought positive effects in the last five years; the common market is the biggest achievement of the European integration and in the same time, the greatest instrument for overcoming the crisis; it is not possible to talk about integration and undermine its proper basis at the same time.
||Press Conference Cutaways (3 shots)
||SOUNDBITE (in Czech and English) by José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC: I would like to start by thanking to the Czech presidency of course, for the privilege of speaking to you today. Thank you to all the Member States of the UE who joined the enlargement between 2004 and 2007.
||SOUNDBITE (in English) by Joaquin Almunia, Member of the EC in charge of Economic and Monetary Affairs: Since the historic enlargements in 2004, citizens Europe-wide have been reaping the benefits of increased growth and employment, enhanced competitiveness and greater resilience of the EU economy.
||Cutaway press conference
||SOUNDBITE (in English) by Joaquin Almunia: The crisis has exposed vulnerabilities in the economies of our newest members; those countries, with support from the wider EU, will have to make some serious adjustments and employ sound economic domestic policies with vigour.
||Statement (in English) by Jose Manuel Barroso: This enlargement has been a great success not only for the new Members States but for all European Union; it does enlarge our market, it has created also a more influence of the European Union in the world; we are now 27 Members States, almost 500 million people, I can tell you that the enlargement has been a great success.
||General view of Prague, Czech Republic