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EU celebrates its most historic unification ever

European Union celebrates its most historic unification ever

Quotes from Romano Prodi, European Commission President

On 1 May 2004, large parts of Eastern and Western Europe will be united in peace and democracy as the EU expands to 25 Member States. Ten new countries are joining the European Union - Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia. Numerous events, organised by the European Institutions, EU Governments and the private sector, are taking place across Europe to mark the ambitious Enlargement.

"May 1st 2004 is an historic day for Europe, when we welcome into the EU family 10 new member countries and 75 million new EU citizens. Five decades after our great project of European integration began, the divisions of the Cold War are gone - once and for all", said Romano Prodi, European Commission President. "Our new members bring to the Union the cultures and diversity of 10 countries with distinct historical roots stretching back through the centuries.”

“The peoples of Europe are celebrating EU enlargement in a series of cultural events from the west coast of Ireland to the eastern border of Poland, and from Valletta in the south to the northernmost tip of Finland. Europeans are celebrating the fact that they are no longer kept apart by artificial ideological barriers.”

“We share the same destiny and we are stronger when we act together. United in diversity, we can work more effectively for safety and prosperity for all. As (Irish) Prime Minister Ahern said recently in Prague: “Enlargement is about opening minds as well as borders” I urge all Europeans to join in the celebrations of this astonishing achievement," Prodi said.

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