Twenty years of EU – 2004 big enlargement


As we mark two decades since the historic enlargement of the European Union in 2004, it’s imperative to reflect on the profound impact this event has had on the continent. On 1 May 2004, Cyprus, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia joined the EU. With the exception of Cyprus, the other nine countries had previously belonged to the Soviet bloc. Their entry into the EU then had not only a political value, but also the hope of a future under the banner of a strong, free and democratic Europe.

The accession of ten new member states not only expanded the EU’s geographical boundaries but also symbolized a commitment to unity, democracy, and prosperity for all Europeans. This enlargement facilitated unprecedented economic growth and cultural exchange, fostering greater cooperation and understanding among diverse nations. It strengthened the EU’s position on the global stage, amplifying its voice in matters of trade, security, and diplomacy.

However, challenges such as economic disparities, migration, and political differences have also emerged in the aftermath. As we celebrate this milestone, we must redouble our efforts to address these issues, ensuring that the EU remains inclusive, resilient, and responsive to the needs of all its citizens. Looking ahead, nowadays we can say that preserving and strengthening the borders of the Europe of 2004 is one of the priority objectives of the EU in the near future.

Let us draw inspiration from the spirit of cooperation that characterized the 2004 enlargement and reaffirm our commitment to building a more united, prosperous, and peaceful Europe for generations to come.

Wrriten by: Nicola Frau

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