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Enlargement, 3 years after

European Commission - Enlargement - 3 years after

On 1 May 2004, the European Union welcomed 10 more Member States: Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. This was the fifth time that the EU accepted new members, bringing the total from 15 to 25 Member States. On 1 January 2007, this latest round of enlargement came to its conclusion with the accession of two more countries, Bulgaria and Romania.

This most recent and largest-ever round of enlargement provoked mixed reactions. While many citizens welcomed the arrival of new members as an enriching opportunity, a chance for Europe to become stronger, more competitive and better able to defend our interests on the world stage in the era of globalization, others saw it as a risk to their identity, their security, or their jobs.

So, what has the accession of ten Member States in 2004 meant for the EU? Has it had the dramatic impact some had feared or has it been mostly beneficial? And if it has been good, how and for whom? Three years after 1 May 2004, there are encouraging signs that the arrival of ten more Member States has had a mostly beneficial impact, for people in both the "new" and the "old" Member States.

This new section of the Commission's Directorate General for Enlargement's website is dedicated to informing interested readers about the impact that the 2004 round of enlargement has had on the EU and its citizens.

Here you will find Articles illustrating how life in the EU has changed after the 2004 accession , Facts and Figures about the enlarged EU, and a Picture gallery with dozens of real-life views from the latest arrivals to the EU.
Finally, we would like to invite you to share your own experience of the enlarged EU with us.


Impact of the 2004 Enlargement



Facts and Figures


In this section you can find a number of studies about the results of the 2004 enlargement and the impact it has had on the citizens of the European Union. This section will be completed with further entries in the months to come. If you would like to present relevant information to a wider audience, do not hesitate to contact us using our mailbox.

This material is available in the original languages and originates mostly from independent institutions and organisations in various countries. Therefore, the views expressed in these papers are purely those of the author(s) and may not in any circumstances be regarded as stating an official position of the European Commission. The author(s) of the texts are mentioned for each text and therefore prior permission must be obtained for the reproduction or use


Picture gallery


Share your own experience

Perhaps you have been positively impressed by colleagues from one of the ten Member States that joined in 2004 in your professional life, or have been able to build on a particularly productive business partnership in one of those countries. Maybe your last vacation in the Baltic left you with an especially good memory that you'd like to share. Or perhaps you have just spent a semester as an exchange student in a Hungarian university and would like to share the tip with other students.

Whatever your experience of the enlarged EU, we invite you to share it with us and our readers. The EU is not just about institutions and laws, but about people, about making life better for each one of the half a billion citizens who are part of it. Here is an opportunity to make your voice heard.


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Last update: 13/09/2013